Rogue One – Movie Review
Rogue One – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 16 Dec 2016
Rogue One is the first side story movie in the Star Wars universe, as it is not a numbered episode in the saga. It does tell the story directly leading up to the original, now known as Episode IV: A New Hope and tells the story of how the rebellion was able to get the plans to the Death Star.
This is a tricky movie to talk about without spoilers, but as always, the text review is spoiler free. You can watch the video spoiler discussion below after you’ve seen the movie (or at your own risk!)
Gareth Edwards’ direction is fantastic coming off of his 2014 success Godzilla. The main cast are given time to develop and the performances are good given the constraints of telling this particular story.
The constraints are thus: tell a story we mostly know the ending to and introduce us to characters who will not be familiar, younger versions of characters in the original trilogy. Rogue One feels like the movie The Force Awakens could have been had they cut 99% of the nostalgia out of it. It’s definitely taking place in the Star Wars universe, but the characters we’ve gotten the benefit of knowing over those films are mostly gone as are the sorely missing musical cues that go with them.
It’s a credit to Rogue One’s writing and pacing that it takes it’s time setting up it’s characters and story, using the better-known actors early to give a much-needed weight. Taking kids to see this one may not be wise as its nowhere near as lighthearted or action-oriented as the other films. That is until the last act picks up steam and delivers a satisfying conclusion that nicely ties into A New Hope.
If you’re not a massive Star Wars fan, you can safely sit this one out and wait for the next numbered installment in 2017. I didn’t find that it left me feeling particularly satisfied or better informed for having seen it. The new information that is there can be summed up in a few bullet points. That’s not to say more Star Wars is a bad thing – it’s not. It’s certainly not a damaging move like the worst of the prequels, it just feels like a time killer while we wait for the next part of Rey’s story in Episode VIII.
Aaron, Matthew, Cal and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: