Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 3D Blu-ray Review

Death to the Star

While it’s easy to bemoan Rogue One’s lack of character development and even the film’s necessity to the lore, rapid pacing, humor, and a sterling finish justify this Star Wars spin-off. Maintaining the Lucas focus on family, Felicity Jones pieces together her past in a galaxy-spanning heist flick with plenty of wow factor. While undeniably marketable in visual force, this tale spins forward toward an emotional finish – and killer action climax.

Read our full Rogue One review for more.

Video

A dreary, reduced color palette sits over Rogue One. Somewhat pale and dusty, digital grading feeds the images a wealth of earth tones. Browns, yellows, oranges; each dominates at one point. Chillier hues contrast when inside Empire locales, Star Destroyers included. By the finale, flush with greenery and sunlight, more natural contrast comes into play.

All of this tonal color does remove some energy. Rogue One takes a hit in black levels, shadows primarily losing themselves into gray, even brown. Few shots outside of space vistas produce true black, receding for the sake of mood. It’s not a loss – depth is visible in the image, just lessened by design.

The finale, with its plethora of Rebel/Empire ships, comes to Blu-ray unscathed

Still, the clear, nearly noise-less digital cinematography resolves tremendous detail. The slightest flicker/aliasing on CG ships isn’t enough to dock Rogue One. Facial definition consistently appears and spectacular planetary views revel in their quality. The finale, with its plethora of Rebel/Empire ships, comes to Blu-ray unscathed. Disney gives the entire 50GB Blu-ray over to the film, leaving extras on separate bonus discs. The decision pays off.

Unlike Force Awakens, Rogue One’s 3D presentation (a conversion) doesn’t look for extensive depth. At its best, Rogue One makes use of the data room, adding perilous height while Felicity Jones climbs the structure. Also, shots from on top of X-Wings, as if GoPros come attached to the ships, create an incredible 3D viewpoint.

Otherwise, the effect is meandering. There, if unnoticeable. 3D space is maintained and natural, if not to a degree of consequence. Firm, but indistinct. Entire scenes go by without any pizazz despite the potential for background fall in effects. Cinematography isn’t particularly aware of the 3D either. Few foreground objects work into the images.

Audio

Pulsing with energy, the frequent bouts of action provide the DTS-HD 7.1 mix with plenty of chances to impress. It does. Crowded city streets envelop a key character early on, a nice prediction of things to come. Moving forward to a street battle, intensity picks up. Debris falls in each channel as lasers whip by. Grenades use every bit of the LFE’s power.

With the Death Star activated, planets begin erupting, as powerful and awesome a demo sequence this format can provide. Not only does the rumble kick off with force, the amount of surround use while falling rocks swallow characters is a highlight.

This doesn’t consider the heightened rain effect on Eadu or the entire space/ground battle. X-Wings and Tie Fighters zip about the soundstage, flawlessly placed with expert tracking. Lasers, explosions, colliding ships, AT-ATs stomping into view – a master class in audio expression.

Extras

Meh. While the 10-part feature The Stories runs an hour and seems beefy, it’s fairly mundane. Production values cover a routine and corporate-leaning bonus. No mention of the supposed need for reshoots or any behind-the-scenes struggles. The only other bonus is Rogue Connection, spending four minutes pointing out series connections and crew cameos.

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