The first Star Wars spin-off, Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, makes its arrival to Blu-ray, while Kylo Ren goes from a galaxy far, far away to Paterson, New Jersey. Plus, Dolph Lundgren stars in the cult classic in the making Don’t Kill It.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
The force was definitely strong when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made its arrival in theaters last December. As the first cinematic spin-off of the celebrated holy trilogy (the originals, not the prequels – a term I despise by the way), fans of the Star Wars universe didn’t know what to expect. Disney, who acquired Lucasfilm several years ago, has a grand scheme to complete the nine-part original series (Episode VIII: The Last Jedi arrives in Dec. 2017) and deliver some side adventures that go further (or backwards, in the case of a young, scruffy-looking nerfhurder) into the universe George Lucas created forty years ago.
Rogue One is the first sci-fi side offering and takes place between Episode III and Episode IV and presents a tale of how the Rebel Alliance acquired the plans to the Empire’s planet destroyer, the Death Star. Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, daughter of Imperial engineer Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), who is reluctant in finishing his development of the Death Star. Separated from her parents Jyn is raised by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), a hardened rebel veteran, and is later recruited to undertake a mission to infiltrate an imperial base, steal the Death Star plans and transmit them to the alliance. Jyn has help in her quest with a supporting cast consisting of Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, and Alan Tudyk as the voice of a reprogrammed imperial droid.
Rogue One is popcorn entertainment heightened with tabasco, giving the cartoonish aspects some much needed grit and flavor. Jyn and her cohorts do the alliance’s dirty work, out on the fringe, and as a result expands on the universe with a dark undercurrent that won’t manifest itself to a large scale until a certain character makes his presence known.
With the Blu-ray release, fans and collectors will have to make several stops if they want all variants. I know Best Buy has special Steelbook packaging, Target has interchangeable character cards and a bonus disc with DigiPack packaging. And Walmart also has collectible packaging with two “galactic connexions” discs. But for the purpose of this column, I’ll be looking at the traditional combo pack release that comes with a Blu-ray, DVD, and digital HD.
Disney is one of the studio standard bearers when it comes to its releases having impeccable audio and video, and Rogue One is no different. The lack of a Dolby Atmos track is disappointing (who wouldn’t want to hear rebel fighters fly overhead like a sonic boom?) but the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack is nothing to scoff at.
For extras, fans are treated to a total of 11 featurettes that go further into the characters and the production design of Rogue One. However, the best may be about characters Baze & Chirrut (they need their own spin-off!) and how they digitally recreated two integral characters.
If you are a Star Wars fan, this is a must buy. But even if you don’t live or breath the force, I still say this is the best SW since Empire.