Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Blu-ray Review

Many people have a love-hate relationship with the Star Wars film series. Many love the original trilogy that kickstarted it all in 1977. The initial film was a worldwide phenomenon that created a new generation of sci-fi fans and some of the most dynamic merchandising ever for a film. Since A New Hope, the Star Wars brand has spawned seven additional films including three sequels and four prequels.

While Episodes One, Two, and Three are generally reviled by hardcore Star Wars fans, there was a sense of redemption with 2015’s The Force Awakens. And now with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it’s clear that the series has righted itself with both stalwart fans and newcomers alike.

Did you ever watch A New Hope and wonder how the rebels actually stole the plans to the Death Star? Well, wonder no more. In Rogue One we see exactly how this courageous mission was executed, and how a small group of heroes was able to steal and eventually save a universe from a malicious Empire. But it’s not what they are doing or why they are doing it – if you’ve seen Star Wars you know all that by now – it’s how they pull it off that makes it so fun and entertaining.

Rogue One is filled with great action and amazing effects that have become a staple in all Star Wars films, but here it’s especially engaging since this particular film has to blend the technology seen in 1977’s A New Hope “modern technology” with the more modern effects of 2017. And it works beautifully and seamlessly creating a world that seems familiar but unique in its scope and style.

There are plenty of so-called Easter Eggs to be sought after over the course of the film, and tiny cameos from characters from future Star Wars movies help ground the movie in the universe that has been a staple in cinemas for 40 years.

With its eclectic and energetic cast of characters, Rogue One delivers a solid story driven by Jyn (Felicity Jones), a fugitive who quickly finds herself and her past at the forefront of one of the biggest intergalactic conflicts known to humankind (no pressure there!). With her scrappy band of rebels by her side, Jyn is tasked with stealing the plans for the ominously named Death Star in order for the Rebels to find its weakness and destroy it before it destroys all who defy the Empire and its primary leader: Darth Vader (yep, he’s in this, too!).

Rogue One is fun, action-packed, and has a tone that differs from the other Star Wars films, which makes it – as I said before – unique but familiar.

There are so many Special Features that they had to be given their own Blu-ray disc. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s included:

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.

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 Whills – Go 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 Empire – Meet 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 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.

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 Connections – Uncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect Rogue One to the Star Wars universe.

I really, really enjoyed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I highly recommend it!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is available April 4, 2017 on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, and Combo Packs!

What’s your favorite Star Wars movie? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Blu-ray Review

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Fast-paced and fun, nostalgic and new, Star Wars: The Force Awakens dominated the holiday box office in 2015, taking in over $2 billion worldwide. Fans young and old packed theaters excited to meet the new characters that would take us through the next trilogy about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

If you’re buying the Blu-ray, chances are you’ve already seen the film or read about the film, or had the film spoiled for you thanks to Facebook, Internet memes, or that one friend who likes to spoil movies for you because they can. Since you already have an opinion or opinions about the film itself, let’s take a look at the special features included on the Force Awakens Blu-ray.

I love special features. From the commentary to all the behind-the-scenes featurettes, special features give us an inside look at the complexity of filmmaking. It truly is amazing how hundreds, if not thousands, of people are able to work together to create on single film through what can only be described a harmonic synchronized chaos.

The Force Awakens has its special features on their own Blu-ray disc, and there’s a myriad featurettes to choose from.

Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey

Explore how the creative team and cast jump-started the Star Wars franchise once again in this mesmerizing hour-long special that takes us from initial concept to final product. Find out just what it takes to create a film of this magnitude, scope, and scale, and meet the creative minds behind it all.

The Story Awakens: The Table Read

A look at the initial table read of the script for The Force Awakens with the primary cast. It’s pretty cool to see the cast in street clothes reading what would eventually become one of the second highest-grossing film of all time (before inflation)!

Building BB-8

No, it wasn’t CG! Take a look at how the creative minds behind the film created, designed, and performed the newest droid in the Star Wars universe: BB-8.

Crafting Creatures

Check out the wide variety of practical effects used to bring the many creatures in the Force Awakens to life. From traditional puppetry to complex animatronics, the creative team guides us through the process of bringing these characters to life for the big screen.

Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight

It’s a behind-the-scenes look into the dynamic climactic lightsaber showdown between good and evil that punctuates the final act of the film. See how they brought all the elements together into a visually stunning finale.

John Williams: The Seventh Symphony

The man. The music. The legend. If you’ve ever seen a Spielberg or Lucas film, you’ve heard his music. Check out this great interview with the masterful composer as he waxes nostalgic about his decades-long journey writing and conducting scores for seven Star Wars films.

ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force

Industrial Light and Magic has been a mainstay of big-budget, effects-heavy cinema for decades. Have a look at how they used their magic and wizardry to bring the continuing world of Star Wars to life once more.

Force for Change

How has Star Wars influenced people around the world to be more charitable to their fellow humans? Find out in this inspiring featurette.

Deleted Scenes

Was there something in the film that wasn’t explained? Perhaps the answer can be found in one of these deleted scenes.

Any film, no matter how big or small, has a small army of dedicated people working together to bring a common vision to their viewing audience. Through the special features, we get the opportunity to meet these creative people and in a small way truly appreciate the hard work and dedication that they bring to their jobs each and every day.

I highly recommend Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, if you’ve never seen the previous six films, check those out first THEN see his movie. You’ll be glad you did!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is available NOW on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Download!

Which of the seven Star Wars films has been your favorite? Leave a comment and let us know!