Thursday, April 6, 2017

Popcorn & Coffee: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Buy; Walmart

Now available to own from Lucasfilm on Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray +DVD+Digital HD) is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first standalone adventure set in the Star Wars franchise. Directed by Gareth Edwards, the film stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker.

Set just prior to the events that took place in the original movie, Star Wars: A New Hope, Rogue One tells the story of the small group of rebels who stole the plans to the first Death Star, which will eventually finds its way to Princess Leia.

The rebel group consists of Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna), Chirrut Îmwe (played Donnie Yen), Bodhi Rook (played by Riz Ahmed), Baze Malbus (played by Jiang Wen), and K-2SO (played by Alan Tudyk), all of whom must (Spoiler Alert) sacrifice their lives in the attempt to stop the Empire's greatest weapon - the Death Star.

The special features are a little lacking for this release. There are no deleted scenes, bloopers, or commentaries. However, there are several short behind-the-scenes features.

These bonus features are:

  • A Rogue IdeaHear 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 RebelGet 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.
  • K-2SO: The Droid Explore the development of this reprogrammed Imperial droid, from initial pitch and character design through Alan Tudyk’s performance.

  • Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the WhillsGo deeper into the relationship between these two very different characters, with Chinese superstars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.
  • 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.
  • The EmpireMeet a dangerous new Imperial adversary…and cross paths once more with the most iconic villain of all time.
  • 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 GovernorSee 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.
  • Epilogue: The Story Continues Filmmakers and cast celebrate Rogue One’s premiere and look forward into the future, to the Star Wars stories yet to be told.
  • Rogue ConnectionsUncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect “Rogue One” to the Star Wars universe. 

Final Thoughts: I never cared much for the Episodes I, II, and III prequels, so I wasn't exactly thrilled about another prequel move, especially one that was rewritten and reshot prior to it's release last year. Similar to when The Force Awakens was released, I waited until Rogue One arrived at my town's one-screen theater in January to go see it. I had already read several articles and reviews about the film, so I basically knew how it was going to play out. Besides from the extremely loud sound from the theater's new speakers, I actually enjoyed the movie for the most part.

That being said, of course I wanted to review Rogue One as soon as I heard it was being released on April 4th (which was Tuesday). The Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with 2 Blu-ray discs, 1 DVD, and a Digital HD code. For the Blu-ray, the feature film and the bonus features are on separate discs. The DVD only contains the feature film.

Overall, I enjoyed watching the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Blu-ray. The picture and sound quality are both excellent. I give the movie itself 5 out of 5. As for the Blu-ray, I'm giving it 4 out 5, due to the lack of deleted scenes and commentaries on the bonus disc.

*I received a complimentary copy from Lucasfilm (Walt Disney Home Entertainment). All opinions are my own.

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