I like Rogue One better than The Force Awakens (TFA), by a lot.
When TFA was re-released in 3D late last year it got rave reviews for it's reference quality 3D.
Having and 4K OLED TV and a new appreciation for 3D, The Force Awakens Collectors Edition with a 3D copy of the movie, was an obvious buy. Not to mention I am a long term Star Wars fan and love all of it (Rebels and Clone Wars included).
Despite buying the Collectors Edition on it's release day I couldn't bring myself to watch it. I don't really like TFA, and really only bought the movie for the 3D. The original releases didn't offer 4k, 3D, or object based audio, and one of which is required for me to purchase a disc these days. I'd seen TFA twice in 2D at an AMC Dolby Cinema in (alleged) Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, and once more as a disc rental around the original release in April 2016. I still just didn't really like it. (I'll stop here for brevity, about why).
But with the 3D release of Rogue One coming out I decided to finally get around to watching the TFA 3D a few days before Rogue's release. I'd also seem Rogue twice in the theater, but both times in 3D. Once at a Dolby Cinema and the second at a new 4k laser IMAX. This made it hard to compare technically to the TFA as I had only ever seen TFA in 2D, and only seen Rogue in 3D.
As I sat down to watch TFA in 3D I wondered if it's reference level reviews would keep me from fast forwarding through the stupid parts. It did. TFA gave the best 3D presentation I had ever seen. I was blown away by the levels of depth given to the picture. Hyperspace that appeared to go to infinity. Regular scenes were the foreground felt right at your feet, the mountains miles away, and each object in-between with it's own perfect depth. No pop-up book feel where lazy 2D-3D transfers just bunch a lot of near-objects into the same depth, which can make the 3D feel fake and artificial depending on the scene. This reference 3D actually made me like the movie better. I told a friend it made the movie jump from a 2/5 to a 2.5/5. I had great hopes that this Rogue One Steelbook I was getting the next day would also add that much more, to a movie I already liked. I would be disappointed.
Now, Rogue One isn't bad 3D, nor does it detract from the movie. The last act has some very cool scenes where the cameras "attached" to the Xwings in the Scarif battle show a tremendous perspective of the action and the depth of the shield gate, the planet below and all the ships of both fleets circling around. It makes me wonder how good the opening scene of Episode III would look in 3D! However, the range of depth and levels of 3D in the film is nowhere near what the TFA's 3D transfer offers. In fact, in the first 2/3rds of Rogue, I would argue the 3D version is almost pointless. Sure there's some star destroyers, Jeddah long-shots, and Death Star ogling but none of this looks any better than your average 3D film. The pop-up book effect is present in the opening sequence when the Krennic's shuttle glides across a planetary ring. The rings in this scene feel flat and the shuttle seems like a closer flat speck on the screen. A Star Wars shuttle when filmed from most angle, with it's tri-wing design, should feel like a sharp object you can touch. Those rings around the planet should wrap off into the distance. Instead the shuttle felt like a cardboard cutout being hovered by fishing line in-front of a (very well done) high school diorama. Pop-up book. To be fair, it hadn't looked that much better in the theater.
TFA was theatrically released in mostly 2D, and the 3D conversion was given a year. Disney had a whole year (or more) to work on the 3D conversion and what they created was a reference level 3D presentation. Rogue surprised many by conversely being a mostly 3D release. (The prior mentioned Dolby Cinemas with their 4K laser projections had only once before shown a 3D movie: 2016's "Jungle Book" which went on to win the academy award for visual effects). Rogue had notorious rewrites and re-shoots which meant a time crunch for 3D conversion before release. This showed in the 3D transfer that was released in the theater, and I'm not sure anything was done further for the disc release. Where TFA had a year to perfect their 3D master, Rogue seemed to have a month.
I still like Rogue better than TFA as a film, but if I am craving some 3D Star Wars, Rogue is not the disc I am going to choose.