Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (3D/2D Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 5-Apr-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Featurette-Behind The Scenes-A Rogue Idea (9:00)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Jyn: The Rebel (6:16)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Cassian: The Spy (4:14)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-K-2SO: The Droid (7:43)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Baze & Chirrut: Guardians Of The Whills (6:20)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary (8:35)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Empire (8:18)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Visions Of Hope: The Look Of Rogue One (8:24)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Princess & The Governor (5:49)
Featurette-Epilogue: The Story Continues (4:15)
Featurette-Rogue Connections (4:31)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 133:57
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Gareth Edwards
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Felicity Jones
Diego Luna
Alan Tudyk
Donnie Yen
Wen Jiang
Ben Mendelsohn
Forest Whitaker
Riz Ahmed
James Earl Jones
Guy Henry
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Michael Giacchino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

††† A lot was riding on 2015ís Star Wars: The Force Awakens since it restarted the live-action Star Wars saga, which is now controlled by the Walt Disney Corporation. But 2016ís Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is equally important, as it kicks off Disneyís master plan for endless Star Wars spinoffs which focus on more minor side stories. Itís not the first franchise detour (the animated Clone Wars movie landed in 2008, and there were Ewok telemovies in the 1980s), but it is the most significant, enjoying an enormous scope and bolstered by first-rate technical specs. This is a wholly different Star Wars, retaining the same sights, sounds and general iconography of the universe but achieving a much grittier tone than ever before. Rogue One is an out-and-out war movie, and thankfully the approach pays off, though pacing issues do emerge as a result of the overly intricate story.

††† An Imperial scientist, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), tries to escape the clutches of the Empire by living a peaceful farming life, but Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) eventually catches up to him, demanding that he return to work. Although Krennic takes Galen hostage and kills his wife, Galenís daughter Jyn (Felicity Jones) manages to avoid capture, and is adopted by rogue extremist Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Growing up, Jyn hides her true identity from the Empire as she spends time in Imperial captivity until sheís broken free by Rebellion spies, led by Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who intend to track down Galen. Jynís father was instrumental in designing the Galactic Empireís new heavily-armed space station, the Death Star, and may hold the key to its destruction. Learning that the Death Star plans are stored at an Imperial outpost, Jyn and Cassian are joined by a rogue squadron of Rebels for their risky mission to steal the schematics, including android K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), Imperial defector Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), blind monk Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), and warrior Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang).

††† Instead of an opening crawl in the tradition of the series, Rogue One begins with a taut prologue which sets up the story more effectively than a block of text ever could. Co-written by Chris Weitz (2015ís Cinderella) and Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), this is a talky picture, running at over two hours and packing more than its fair share of exposition. Although director Gareth Edwards (2014ís Godzilla) is able to maintain interest for the most part, the movie does hit its sluggish patches, lacking a thrilling sense of escalation. Put simply, the narrative should be brisker, as itís bogged down by subplots that donít seem necessary in the grand scheme of things. However, whatís particularly laudable about Rogue One is the fact that this is a story about the minor cogs in the machine, as opposed to the big heroes who normally take centre stage in the Star Wars saga. Furthermore, Edwards touches upon the less glamorous aspects of the Rebel Alliance, as many of the soldiers are haunted by things theyíve done in the service of the Rebellion. This is one of several refreshing angles that Edwards manages to explore. Added to this, Rogue One perfectly ties into A New Hope, providing welcome new context for the events of the 1977 movieís iconic opening sequence. Fans can argue about the necessity of telling this story, but the deepening of the Star Wars mythology is fascinating nevertheless, making this feel like Episode IIIĹ.

††† Much like Edwardsí Godzilla, there is a lot of build-up here, but it all pays off for an awe-inspiring finale that seriously delivers. Changing up the standard Star Wars backdrop to incorporate a tropical beach setting, the third act skirmish on the planet Scarif is gargantuan, involving shootouts as well as aerial combat, with loads of Stormtroopers, TIE Fighters and AT-ATs threatening the band of Rebels. The war scenes in the final act are far removed from what weíve come to expect from a Star Wars movie (which is ironic, considering that ďWarsĒ is in the title). Edwards draws upon Saving Private Ryan and a bit of Apocalypse Now to stage the hard-hitting battle scenes, which may be too brutal for young children. The outcome of the mission may be a foregone conclusion, but the specifics are not, and thatís precisely why the climax is so engaging. The well-publicised reshoots did provoke concerns that Disney might dilute the movie, but the seams are never visible - Rogue One doesnít feel like a compromised vision. Instead, itís astonishingly cohesive throughout, sticking with a notably bleak tone all the way through to its powerful ending. Itís certainly not as ďsafeĒ as some had feared.

††† As to be expected, Disney spared no expense bringing Rogue One to life, with the film carrying a rumoured $200 million price tag. The special effects are predictably impressive, and it helps that Edwards shoots for a heightened sense of immediacy. Commendably, Rogue One eschews the regular Star Wars aesthetics - it doesnít feature the standard transitions or an opening crawl, and it only makes infrequent use of recognisable soundtrack beats. Cinematography is darker than before, and itís mostly handheld, though this is not to the detriment of the movie since you can always comprehend whatís happening during the action sequences. Furthermore, there is an impressive sense of tangibility to the fighter ships and Star Destroyers - it looks as if practical models were used as opposed to outright CGI, creating a more convincing illusion than digital effects ever could. However, the production does lack something in the way of visual panache, which comes from the decision to shoot the picture digitally, making it look less majestic than the celluloid photography of The Force Awakens. Interestingly, rumour has it that the original score was rejected for being too far removed from John Williamsí iconic compositions, and composer Michael Giacchino had mere weeks to compose a new soundtrack. To his credit, the music is quite good on the whole, effectively accentuating the experience.

††† There is fan service throughout, with the movie even giving us a glimpse of Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) on-screen for the first time since 1983ís Return of the Jedi, leading to arguably the movieís best scene. Unused pilot footage from the Death Star assault in A New Hope is even employed, while the frame is often packed with recognisable droids hiding in the background that you may not notice on first viewing. However, less successful is the use of shonky digital effects to resurrect one deceased actor and de-age another (who's now deceased). The intentions are noble, but often the result looks like something from a Pixar movie, instantly taking you out of the movie. Itís 2016, surely they can do better than this.

††† Unfortunately, Rogue One falls short in terms of characterisation, as thereís not enough depth or humanity to the ensemble. Jones manages to impress despite her one-dimensional role which feels like a plot device, but Luna is less successful as Cassian; heís one of the most disposable heroes in recent memory. Faring far better is Krennic, an inspired creation played to perfection by Australian actor Mendelsohn. Krennic is far more engaging than the typical villain, and heís actually given more dimension than the heroes of the story. Mendelsohn undoubtedly delivers the finest performance in the film, surpassing his co-stars with ease. With that said, though, Tudyk is an utter scene-stealer playing the droid K-2SO through motion-capture. A reprogrammed Imperial droid who speaks his mind, K-2SO is a constant source of amusement, delivering an armada of one-liners and a string of uproarious comments. Droids are a staple of the Star Wars universe, making it all the more exciting that this new creation is arguably the sagaís finest to date. Meanwhile, Whitaker almost suffocates the movie with his ludicrous overacting, though Yen manages to carve out a memorable character despite his limited screen-time.

††† Flaws notwithstanding, Rogue One pushes the boundaries of what a Star Wars film can be, and thatís seriously exciting for a long-running franchise like this. (The subtitle A Star Wars Story is actually absent from the film proper.) It succeeds in trying something different, never falling victim to the bland writing or poor direction which ultimately sunk the prequel trilogy. Due to its unique aesthetic and narrative approach, Rogue One is certainly more intriguing than The Force Awakens, but itís not necessarily better - J.J. Abramsí film was zippier and featured better, more fleshed-out characters. The bleakness of this first spinoff does mean that its replay value might be less than the norm for Star Wars, but thatís precisely why it lingers in oneís memory after itís all over. It also makes for a perfect companion piece to A New Hope. There are fears that Disney is going to run Star Wars into the ground, but if all future movies are on the same level as Rogue One or The Force Awakens, the House of Mouse can keep them coming.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Whereas The Force Awakens received a Collector's Edition double dip a few months after its initial release, Rogue One gets a 3D release straight off the bat.

††† Disney continue their Blu-ray 3D winning streak with this astonishing transfer for Rogue One, which is often just as impressive as the 3D presentation of The Force Awakens. Rogue One was shot with Arri Alexa cameras and converted to 3D in post-production, yet the conversion is genuinely first-rate, and the MVC-encoded video looks extremely good, though it falls just short of perfection. Iím normally happy with my Star Wars movies in regular old 2D, but this disc is very much worth the asking price if you have a 3D television and enjoy the format. The 3D presentation retains the movieís original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, and hasnít been opened up in any way.

††† The sense of depth here is terrific, and the presentation is bolstered by incredibly precise object delineation - it never suffers from the ďpop up bookĒ effect that has plagued a number of post-conversions. This doesnít look like flat 2D objects at different depths - rather, each character and object looks properly three-dimensional. Every environment appears to stretch out in front of you, spaceships appear to be hovering separate from your television screen, and you can better appreciate the finer details on all sets and costumes. When Krennic holds Jyn at gunpoint, the blaster appears to be emerging from the screen. You can also be forgiven for blinking or flinching when laser blasts fly around the screen. Itís worth noting that this is not gimmicky 3D, and therefore the film does not play out for maximum three-dimensional effects. Rather, the extra dimension is there to enhance the movieís impact, which is does nicely.

††† Despite the movieís vťritť-style cinematography, it remains smooth enough to accommodate the 3D without causing sickness or headaches, which is more than what can be said for some other conversions (donít even bother with the 3D editions of Clash of the Titans or G.I. Joe: Retaliation). The presentation looks predictably great when it moves to Scarif for the climax. As most of the large-scale action beats on Scarif take place in brightly-lit tropical locations, itís easy to make out whatís happening, and the 3D allows you to appreciate the layers of some of the more sprawling shots. There is not a single shot that doesnít feel legitimately 3D, which is a laudable achievement for a conversion.

††† The only issue is that the presentation is a tad murky, owing to the dark nature of the movie, and of course the 3D glasses do further dim the picture and make the colours look less vibrant. In addition, the presentation does look soft during lower-light scenes in particular. None of the source noise from the 2D transfer is visible throughout, which suggests that some digital noise reduction was applied during the 3D conversion, resulting in some smooth and soft shots. This unfortunately takes the presentation down a notch. Other than that, I did not detect any aliasing, macroblocking, ghosting, crosstalk, or any other encoding anomalies. 3D aficionados should be very pleased with this presentation of Rogue One, which again shows that there is life left in this ailing format.

††† As with the 2D presentation, English, French and Spanish subtitles are available.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† The 3D disc contains the exact same DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack which appears on the 2D Blu-ray, and therefore my thoughts remain unchanged.

††† Disneyís audio mix on The Force Awakens did draw criticism from some, who had said that the sound lacked punch and was hollow on the whole, much like the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, I had no problems with the audio mix on The Force Awakens, and thankfully, Rogue One sounds spectacular on Blu-ray, with a lossless DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix that brings the cinema experience to your living room. Yes, audiofiles are destined to complain yet again about the curious lack of a Dolby Atmos mix, but I only have a 7.1 setup and therefore this mix is good enough for me.

††† Dialogue is well-prioritised throughout; itís always easy to hear and comprehend even during the loud action sequences. I initially thought it was mixed a tad too low, but thatís only because the sounds of explosions, laser blasts and ships need to be so loud compared to the dialogue, to heighten their impact. And boy, is there impact during the big action set-pieces, during which the track really roars to life. When a TIE Fighter is shot down and crashes into a gun turret, the rumble from the subwoofer is enough to shake the walls. When shuttles and ships take off, the subwoofer accentuates the power of their exhaust. Surround channels are consistently engaged, making for a truly immersive soundscape during the large-scale battles. During a rainy scene on Eadu, you could believe itís actually raining outside. Giacchinoís original score comes through with clarity, too.

††† This state-of-the-art lossless audio track is precise, clear and immersive, making it another winner for Disney. There are no encoding issues either; no problems with audio sync, dropouts or instances of muffled sound. Disney will likely reserve a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X track for the Ultra HD Blu-ray release, though itís difficult to imagine such a mix offering much in the way of improvement. The disc also contains lossy 5.1 audio in French and Spanish, for those interested.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† The 3D edition contains the same additional Blu-ray disc of extras available with the standard 2D Blu-ray.

Disc 3:

The Stories (HD; 68:58)

††† This submenu provides a number of behind-the-scenes featurettes, totalling almost 70 minutes of content. Like most of Disney's supplemental material, itís fascinating but all a bit ďsafeĒ on the whole, making the filmmaking process look completely smooth. It avoids delving into any production issues or the need for the well-publicised reshoots. I would have preferred something more in-depth and candid. Itís also quite intriguing that for a movie with such thin characters, the majority of the featurettes are about said characters. These segments can either be played separately or through a ďPlay AllĒ function. Itís mighty disappointing that this set is without a beefy documentary like The Force Awakens, but through the ďPlay AllĒ function, this feels like a full-length doc.

Rogue Connections (HD; 4:31)

††† The final extra on this disc points out all the little Easter Eggs and references to other Star Wars movies and television shows. Cameos are pointed out (The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson plays a Death Star crew member), as well as vehicles and droids that have been seen in this universe before. Very cool stuff.
†††

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † All standard editions worldwide appear identical in terms of supplements, but there is a bonus DVD which is currently exclusive to JB Hi-Fi and has appeared in other regions. Said DVD contains two additional featurettes:

††† Here's where things get tricky, because there is no edition which contains both the bonus DVD and the 3D disc. I own both, but that's not a cost effective solution for most (and I just know that a double dip is on the horizon and I'll buy it again, because I am a fool). Make your own choice.

Summary

††† As a long-time Star Wars fan, I found Rogue One to be a worthwhile addition to the official canon, and a great start to the spinoff adventures. The franchise is in safe hands for the time being.

††† This 3D Blu-ray set from Disney should please most. The presentation is mostly excellent, bolstered by a terrific 3D conversion, and the 7.1 audio is still sublime. This set also comes with an additional disc of good quality extras, and therefore comes highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSamsung UBD-K8500 4K HDR Blu-Ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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