Rogue One [Film Review]

 

Rogue One tells the story of the rebels stealing the plans to the Death Star, with the events in the film leading up to (almost) the start of A New Hope. It expands the universe, without tampering with what we know and love. It’s actually a really cool story and in one fell swoop is far cooler and more beneficial to the universe than anything in the prequel trilogy. In that I include Ewan McGregor’s ‘sassy Obi-Wan Kenobi’, who to this day remains a personal favourite of mine.

So the legends were true, a good Star Wars prequel could be made!

I’m so happy that the new series of films have been good. The Star Wars universe is undoubtedly really cool, but there sure have been some sucky films made in it. What’s really nice is that while the new trilogy tells a story we don’t know and can go in any direction. The anthology films are in canon prequels that are also fresh embellishments of the lore that don’t point-blank suck.

So its fair to say that I love this film. For starters its beautiful, the CGI is great including for the digital likeness of Peter Cushing and Grand Moff Tarkin. It’s amazingly good. What I also liked about this film, specifically in the first half was showing a more ugly side to the rebellion. It’s not just a simple good versus evil conflict. Decisions need to be made and some of them are tough. A few characters a morally ambiguous and I liked that.

rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6Actually to start with I should probably talk about the fact that there is no opening crawl, which apparently has upset some people. Personally I loved it. The film kicks straight into the action with a cold open, which is so unique for this franchise but also shows that the anthology series is keeping its distance from the ‘episodes’.

A problem this film suffers from is that because a lot of the characters are new (and aren’t around in the originals) is that you don’t get much time to know them. A lot of people are introduced quickly and you don’t know enough about a lot of them. Which is one of my pet peeves, I like to know people! However, there is a lot to fit into a short amount of time for this stand alone so I do kind of get it.

Robot K-2SO is my favourite (and probably a few other people’s) new character and it’s him who brings about 90% of the films humour. Although I get the impression the writers had just watched Big Hero 6 as he’s pretty much just a talking version of Baymax it’s got to be said. Not that I’m complaining. There’s something about the new Star Wars films that really get robots with personality. First BB8 and no K-2SO. Move aside R2D2 and C-3PO!

Darth Vader is used sparingly, which I also liked. This film rightly focuses on the rebels themselves. Who are just normal people (and aliens) fighting for their freedom and lives. Vader has a few good scenes which generally position his character nicely for A New Hope and as far away as possible from that “Noooooooo” at the end of Episode 3. Plus, there’s a really gruesome but awesome lightsaber…massacre…yeah, massacre. Which just shows how dominant and destructive Darth Vader really could be. Other than Vader though there are no other Jedi or Sith involved. The closest we get is a blind warrior monk who believes in and has a connection with The Force. He’s pretty badass.

The film is as you’d expect crammed full with fan service and while most of it is Easter eggs hidden in the background or returning characters. You do get some more rather on the nose quotes like, the always popular, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”.

 What I truly like about this film though is all of the little ways it stitches together the originals and the prequels. Be it just as simple as Jimmy Smits returning as Senator Bail Organa or the simple plot explanations for why certain characters are in the positions they are at the start of A New Hope. For example why Princess Leia is so close to Tatooine.

Rogue One is a brilliant addition to the Star Wars franchise that will make any fan happy. In my opinion it’s not quite as good as Episode 7, but it’s still really good.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

A friend asked me if Rouge One “brought balance to the force”. Not quite is the answer as there are still more bad Star Wars films that good, we’re getting there though! For the record the bad are 1, 2, Clone Wars, 3 and 6 while the good are Rouge One, 4, 5 and 7. Just FYI.

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