Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The opening scroll of the original Star Wars states, “Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.” If you ever thought, “Hey, I’d like to see a movie version of those 17 words,” Rogue One is for you. There’s plenty of plot-driven action, minimal character development, and ample fan service. It’s certainly entertaining. Wisecracking droid K-2SO in particular is terrific. However, the movie is anchored by the serious theme of sacrifice. If you’re looking for a jaunty kiddie flick, try a different Disney movie. One was exhibited at Dolby Cinemas, so a version in 4K with HDR is certainly possible. Disney does not support 4K UHD yet, so the best home version is 1080p Blu-ray. (A retailer-exclusive 3D version is also available.) Fortunately, it looks stunning. The movie was shot on handheld digital cameras to follow the action closely and provide a war-film look, but this does not affect image quality. There’s no artificial film grain, but it does not look like video. Blacks are black, and shadows have good detail. On my 106-inch screen, you could count individual blades of grass on a farm and see the faint raindrops on a character’s uniform, a detail I missed when I saw the movie in the theater. The image is so sharp that the digital FX used to bring Peter Cushing back from the dead to play Grand Moff Tarkin are clearly visible. It’s an astonishing technical feat, but the character doesn’t look fully human.

There’s nothing technically wrong with the sound: The DTS-HD mix is clean and directional. Explosions—and there are a lot of them—shook my house. But this movie badly needed a home version of the theatrical Dolby Atmos track, with wider dynamic range, more precisely placed sound effects, and generous use of height speakers during battle scenes. When an AT-AT looms over you, it should sound that way, not like it’s merely in front of you. I was also struck by how much of the feel of a Star Wars film comes from John Williams’ score: Rogue One’s music, composed at the eleventh hour by Michael Giacchino, pays homage to Williams’ themes but does not stand on its own.

The main disc is gloriously free of previews. A separate disc of extras sadly lacks substance, with not even a mention of the major changes undertaken after principal photography was completed.

A Disney Movies Anywhere code allows playback of the film on all major digital platforms.

Studio: Disney, 2016
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Length: 133 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn

jnemesh's picture

But I thought this movie was pretty bad. No, it didn't have Jedi...but they substituted "force users" for the Jedi anyway. The biggest problem is that this movie really didn't need to be told in the first place. We all know how the movie's where "Episode IV" begins. We already knew the rebels obtained the plans at a great price. Telling the story of those who obtained the plans was rather dull, despite plenty of explosions and action scenes.

From a technical standpoint, the movie was very well done...special effects are top notch, and we are treated to some spectacular space and ground battles.

However, the characters are all flat, lifeless, and cliche, with little development during the movie. I never was invested emotionally in ANY of them, other than K2-SO (he was the best part of this movie, upstaged by only one other), and I didn't really care what happened to them. That kind of ruins the "suspense" of what happens during the big finish at the end, you know? And don't even get me started on Forrest Whitaker's character or his lackluster performance.

For me, there were only two characters that redeemed the 2 hours I wasted at the theater. One was the aforementioned K2-SO, he had some of the best comedic lines in the movie. The other character worth seeing is, of course, Darth Vader. He is only in the movie briefly, but hearing James Earl Jones once again voice the Dark Lord of the Sith was reason enough to sit though this movie. Here he is shown at the peak of his power, and the few seconds of him unleashing his wrath on the rebels will send shivers down any Star Wars fan's spine!

They took some risks with this movie, and I AM glad that it did well enough to justify further movies set in the Star Wars universe that have nothing to do with the main plot...but I was utterly disappointed in the final result. From a lackluster soundtrack to mediocre acting to less than mediocre writing, this movie disappoints on just about all levels. Thankfully, there is enough "magic" here to ensure Disney gets a payday, and that the films will continue to be made.