| The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.
Rogue One is the first Star Wars film to be set outside the Episodic Sagas. With that, there was a lot of pressure on it to perform and launch this new series of Star Wars films. By far, this is the least kid friendly film. This was at its core, a war film, something we have never really gotten in the Star Wars universe. With the war theme we got an overall darker tone than we are used to, and it really suited the story they were telling. We never have experienced the war side of Star Wars because the stories have always been focused on a force user rather than the events around them.
Gareth Edwards uses his past experiences on his previous film Godzilla (2014) to show an incredible sense of scale that we’ve never seen before in the Star Wars Universe. Everything just feels bigger, We’ve all seen the Death Star before, we know what a AT-AT looks like, But never what’s it’s like to be standing on the ground right next to one and to feel each gargantuan step made by it. The colossal feel of all the ships and structures is eye-popping to behold. For this reason alone Gareth Edwards mush be congratulated on bringing his own style and feel to this timeless universe, and I hope it’s the start of more unique stories to come from the people at Disney.
Understandably, this storyline requires additional scenes to give newcomers the opportunity to introduce themselves to each other. The trust issues and standoffishness between Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso and Diego Luna’s Captain Cassian Andor, never really feels real. By the time their contorted relationship thaws, its way too late for any real emotional attachment to be felt or seen between the sidekicks. In fact, “Rogue One” never gets up to full speed on establishing any authentic relationships, good or bad.
“We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope!”
The rest of the cast is rather undeveloped. They’re kind of sloppily just added in, within the first and second act without giving us any real chance to understand why they choose to help with this quest or where they’re from or anything really. That’s also why the first two acts are a bit slow and don’t stack up compared to the amazing finale. Any opportunities to develop camaraderie between the main cast is lost on its stammering start into hyperspace. The audience mood stays in a reflective, almost somber, mood for over 90 minutes as little lightheartedness or charisma is established within the half-dozen rogue fighters. One-liners are spewed from time to time, but they only spark small chuckles from viewers.
In terms of visual effects, Rogue One is spectacular. This feels like traditional Star Wars. The CGI-driven effects are bold and beautiful – superbly rendered and stunningly energetic. Use of more practical effects couldn’t have hurt either, with the potential to pay an homage to the original trilogy. But for what we get and what we see – it truly is magnificent.
In opposition to that, the other technical aspects were pretty-much faultless. The sound effects were great, the makeup and costumes were stellar. The production design, more notably, was sublime. The sets felt big, real and inspired. Something which familiarized Rogue One with the aesthetics of authentic Star Wars. The locations were fresh and inspiring, the base camps were new and intriguing. The set design here was outstanding, further enriching the Star Wars universe we know and love.
Ultimately, Rogue One is in many ways a fitting piece in the continually expanding Star Wars universe. It feels like both a prequel and original movie, which is what makes it so distinct, yet such a suitable addition to this fantastical saga. It bleeds perfectly into episode four, allowing an appreciation of the hard work and sacrifices the rebellion gave so that, in the near future, good can overcome evil. But, as I reiterate, despite the many appealing aspects of Rogue One, it may not be for everyone. Die-hard Star Wars fans will love it, as will some of those who are enlightened with moderate knowledge.
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ gets a 7.0/10.
Shot on 35's Rating Sheet: 9.5 – 10.0: Excellent! 8.5 – 9.5: Fantastic, but with minor flaws 7.5 – 8.5: Great, but with issues 6.5 – 7.5: Okay, but with major issues 5.5 – 6.5: Had potential, but falls flat hard. 4.5 – 5.5: Disaster!