Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn
Release Date: April 4, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
The first entry in the new lineup of ‘Star Wars’ standalone films; ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ takes fans deeper into the events preceding ‘Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope’ and the daring rebels that risked everything to try and steal the crucial death star plans. The story revolves largely around young Jyn Erso (Jones) who after being separated from her father since childhood is recruited by the rebel alliance in order to help in stopping the creation of a massive super weapon that her father was largely responsible for building. Joining forces with a violent rebel named Cassian Andor (Luna) and his droid K-2SO (Tudyk), along with other ragtag individuals, Jyn and her team must fight their way through everything from underground extremists to high ranking imperials in their dangerous quest to try and stop what could likely be the greatest threat the galaxy has ever known.
Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla 2014) from a screenplay written by Chris Weitz (About A Boy) and Tony Gilroy (‘The Bourne Identity’ franchise) and from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta respectively, Edwards does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ guiding the film along beautifully and having no trouble consistently capturing the heart and wonder of Star Wars throughout. The film also owes its share of credit to the perfectly selected individuals that make up the cast including Felicity Jones (A Monster Calls), Diego Luna (Elysium), Alan Tudyk (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), Forest Whitaker (Panic Room), Donnie Yen (IP Man), Wen Jiang (The Sun Also Rises), Ben Mendelsohn (Lost River), Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange) and more, nearly all providing highly competent performances at the very least in each of their respective roles.
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is a phenomenal addition to the continually expanding Star Wars universe and a truly impressive first installment in the standalone film series which I admit I was initially quite hesitant about. It provides nearly every required aspect to fit snugly within the expansive universe and contributes some unique and breathtaking additions that are a wonder to behold, such as a number of new and distinctive worlds that nary fail to amaze. Serving as a perfect prequel to the original (or second chronologically) trilogy and ‘A New Hope’ in particular, yet taking things to a much darker place that is far more reminiscent of Empire in its occasional brutality and hopelessness during this dark time. ‘Rogue One’ manages to construct something surprisingly original and powerful out of a general concept that is far from new to the galaxy far, far away and in recreating and including a number of characters crucial to that time period such as Vader and Tarkin, it forms into a true masterpiece that is more than worthy of the name Star Wars. Director Gareth Edwards does a nearly flawless job guiding the film along its powerful and gorgeous course and his capable guidance is only further complimented by the talented and perfectly chosen folks that make up the cast. Anyone who enjoys the spectacular world(s) of Star Wars in the slightest will definitely want to make a point of checking out ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ when you have the opportunity to do so, and the fellow Star Wars fanatics out there who haven’t yet had the pleasure of this one will want to be certain to do so as soon as possible.
Overall, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is an impressive first entry in the franchise’s new standalone film series and an incredibly welcome addition to the Star Wars universe, as well as simply a fantastic movie in itself that never disappoints throughout its powerful, action packed and visually spectacular course. Passionately guided by director Gareth Edwards and boosted all the more by the talented folks that comprise the cast and some spectacular effects that never fail to impress. I can’t possibly recommend ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ highly enough to the fellow diehard Star Wars fans out there, anyone who enjoys this wonderful galaxy far, far away even half as much as myself definitely won’t dare to miss out on this amazing ride that not only proves itself more than worthy of existing within the universe, but one of the superior installments.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation throughout, with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the fast moving and/or darkly lit sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should have no trouble satisfying the casual viewers and fellow Star Wars fanatics alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and hard hitting audio presentation from start to finish that consistently compliments the film. It frequently takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to immerse the viewer within the score, in addition to sending no shortage of spacecraft, explosions, debris and a whole lot more whipping throughout the various speakers, along a number of moments that give the bass a satisfying workout as well; all the while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a spectacular 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds wonderful in every regard and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ includes a number of worthwhile extras, the entirety of which can be found on the second BONUS Blu-ray disc. Included on the release is over an hour of behind the scenes Featurettes in the ‘The Stories’ section that include behind the scenes footage, interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus much more. The included Featurettes within ‘The Stories’ section are: ‘A Rogue Idea’ (running 9 minutes in length), ‘Jyn: The Rebel’ (running approximately 6 minutes), ‘Cassian: The Spy’ (approximately 4 minutes), ‘K-2S0: The Droid’ (8 minutes), ‘Baze and Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills’ (6 minutes), ‘Bodhi and Saw’ The Pilot and The Revolutionary’ (9 minutes), ‘The Empire’ (8 minutes), ‘Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One’ (8 minutes), ‘The Princess and The Governor’ (6 minutes), and ‘Epilogue: The Story Continues’ (4 minutes). We are also treated to ‘Rogue Connections’ (running approximately 5 minutes) which explores the many connections to other canon Star Wars material that are included within the film.
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Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D*, DVD & Digital HD from Disney – Lucasfilm
You can purchase your copy of ‘Rogue One’ by clicking on the Amazon Cart Icon immediately below!
*Blu-ray 3D edition is only currently available via certain retailer exclusives.