So one Mr G Lucas said yesterday at the Orlando Celebration that Star Wars is for 12 years olds. I agree entirely - show me a 12 year old (now or even back in the day) that when they played in the playground pretended there were cute robots bumbling about or crazy beasts falling over. Exactly. Those 12 years old played war. Proper war. People got shot and died (well until the bell went). And therefore I offer up that Rogue One is the purest Star Wars experience since Empire.
This has a streamlined plot that allows us to focus on the characters and the designs. And unlike TFA, which went far too far, here the callbacks and nostalgia felt completely earned because it was taking place in the same Star Wars universe as the original trilogy. The thrill of seeing Tarkin, those other cameos (all of which were really well judged and played - CGI seams? Yes, but I didn't mind them at all) and of seeing proper X-Wings and Tie Fighters going at it in full on 2010's SFX explode-rama just left you feeling tingly inside.
I had no problem with the constant planet hopping - the original trilogy, whilst about the whole galaxy still focussed on one family and therefore it felt quite limited in scope (ok, you know what I mean!), whereas this had to jump around and it was nice to not see places we've seen previously. The cast were all superb for what they were asked to do and the SFX were truly spectacular. In fact the only bum note was about 5% of the film's musical score - I get that it wanted to distance itself from the main storyline, and I have no problem with introducing new musical themes into the Star Wars universe (see how great Dual of the Fates was)......but the new theme felt like a low rent copy of Williams iconic theme and every time I heard it, I just wished for the original theme. Either go completely different or embrace its roots, but don't leave us with a poor karaoke version of that legendary theme.....
Grump over. Everything else about this film just felt right. Star Wars was about themes and big, bold fairytales. Not cute robots and horrifically overdesigned worlds that drew attention away from that narrative (and I don't hate the prequels, not at all, just wish they had told those exact same stories with this kind of focus on storytelling, not merchandising/design for its own sake). This gets its absolutely right. Better than TFA, better than the prequels, its up there with RoJ in the list. Ruddy marvellous.
The transfer is pretty darn great. The image quality was as flawless as the reviews state. The sound quality, again while a touch lower in volume still sounded pretty great......but it was lacking something. It didn't hit you in the gut the way that the best modern soundtracks do (think Deepwater Horizon levels of physical presence) and I think its more down to the design than the transfer - I wanted laser beams shooting across the soundstage, I wanted explosions to be echoing all around me and they just didn't. What we got was pretty darn decent, but it just wasn't bold enough for me. Is it the transfer? Don't know. Would an Atmos track have helped? Don't know, maybe not.....I just get the feeling that Disney aren't getting the best and most adventurous sound designers in on their prestige pics at the moment. And its a bit of a shame. Still....its not going to put me off putting the final 30 mins of this on at reference levels many, many, many times..... Extras? Haven't bothered with them to be honest - I'll wait for the next version, with more on thank you very much!
Summary - pure Star Wars through and through. A perfect mix of fan service and new storytelling, with a focus missing from the more recent entries in the saga. Superbly realised, its fantastic stuff from start to finish. The disc is not quite reference for me, but that's not the fault of the disc I think. Thank you Disney for saving Star Wars!!!!!
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story User Review
Its Star Wars Jim......but EXACTLY as we know it!Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Blu-ray by Coz22998, Apr 14, 2017.This item was purchased for £19.99 from HMV in 2017. The reviewer still owns this product.