Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story blasts onto your home entertainment center in a Blu-ray/DVD box set. You are in control of all the action and a long list of Bonus Extras that continue to delight sci-fi space fans. The movie sets-up a new series for Disney/Lucas Films that brings exciting adventures in between continuing episodes of the Star Wars franchise. It’s quite a challenge for the team at the Mouse House and I’m very glad they came up with the idea.
In Rogue One we find Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) the prime designer for the Death Star being forced back into service after fleeing the evil Galactic Empire. His young daughter Jyn (Beau Gadsdon) witnesses the abduction and survives being killed by Empire soldiers. Years later we find Jyn (Felicity Jones) with the Rebel Alliance who are being targeted by the ruler of the Death Star. Calling themselves Rogue One, the rag-tag team led by Jyn forms a combat unit that fights back. Now with Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), and a reconditioned Empire droid K-2SO they lead the rebel forces against the almost impossible odds. Their job, get the plans to the Death Star so they can blow it up.
The action filled adventure reminds me of a conglomeration of the rebels that were in the first three Star Wars episodes (IV, V, and VI). Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla 2014) takes a shot at putting the script on the screen using a wide imagination to create the various worlds of the Rebel Alliance, space battle sequences and Empire Ships. While you may say that there’s always a library at Lucas Films filled with CGI spacecraft, storm troopers, and locations, but Edwards adds his own mix with a couple of amazing new worlds that boggle the mind.
The cast doesn’t add much originality to the rebel forces in Rogue One, but provides a good transition to A New Hope “Star Wars IV”. I do like seeing the much needed new settings before we find Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo ready to take the reins for the awesome adventure that follows. That said, I’m pleased with the energy of characters in Rogue One that put themselves in harm’s way to stop the Empire from taking over the galaxy.
In the role of Jyn Erso, Felicity Jones shows her tough stuff as a rebel trying to free her father while taking down the enemy that has held him captive. She’s a no nonsense fighter and leader of a dedicated squad that believes in freedom. This turns out to be a good role for Jones that should get her some offers for future action films. Who knew that the Jane Hawking from The Theory of Everything could wield a blaster and deal with hand to hand combat?
Her cohort in the rebellion Cassian Andor is played ably by Diego Luna. Luna has made his way up the acting ladder getting a push from films like Contraband and Elysium. Here he plays co-leader of the team of rebels looking to steal the plans to the Death Star. He adds a spark to the film that helps spread the adventure across the big screen.
“K-2SO: The Droid” A close up of the Imperial Droid works and where he fits into the storyline. He has as many abilities as C-3PO, but not as flashy or clumsy. It also visits the droids and stars of the past during some outtakes. If you watch only one of the Extras make it be this one for the nostalgia.
“The Empire” There’s good people and bad people and nothing in between is the ideology behind Star Wars. In this extra, several of the main characters are featured and explained. Co-writer of the story Gary Whitta leads the descriptions and sets up the theme for this feature. Even Darth Vader shows off his grim characteristics.
“Epilogue: The Story Continues” Filmmakers talk about the success and future of Star Wars with the backdrop of the World Premier in Los Angeles.
“Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills” Both Baze and Chirrut are fleshed out with reasons why they are in the movie. Touted by the filmmakers for their excellent acting skills and abilities to bring their roles to the screen.
“Rogue Connections” Members of the film crew talk about the robots, huge tanks, Tie Reaper, aliens, and used in the movie. Most of which show the connection between this film and the Star Wars movies. Check out the Star Wars trivia and cameos of several of the filmmakers in Rogue One.
“A Rogue Idea” Hear how ILM’s John Knoll came up with the movie’s concept – and why it’s the right film to launch the Star Wars stand-alone films.
“Jyn: The Rebel” Get to know Rogue One’s defiant, resourceful survivor, and hear what it was like for Felicity Jones to bring her to life onscreen
“Cassian: The Spy” Diego Luna shares insights into his complex, driven character, who becomes a hero through selflessness, perseverance and passion.
“Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary” – Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed reflect on Saw Gerrera, the broken Rebel leader, and Bodhi Rook, the Imperial pilot who defects.
“Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One” The filmmakers describe the challenges and thrills of developing a bold new look for the movie that can fit within the world of the original trilogy.
“The Princess & The Governor” See what it took to bring the vibrant young princess of Star Wars: A New Hope – as well as one of her most memorable foes – back to the screen.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action. Except for the immature the film should be a cool adventure for Star Wars fans. Targeted mostly for males, the ladies should get a thrill out of the kick-ass female character Jyn Erso.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A nice prequel that should open hidden doors that tie-in with the continuing saga.
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Jimmy Smits, Alistair Petrie, Genevieve O’Reilly, Beau Gadsdon, Dolly Gadsdon.
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Running Time: 2 hrs. 14 min.
Video Release Date: April 4, 2017
Original Theatrical Release Date: December 16, 2016
Language: English (can be changed to Spanish or French)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.39:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Number of Discs: 3 Disc boxes set + Digital HD code
Distributed by: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Home Video Released in: DVD, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, 4K, Digital HD and combo packs