Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

I hold an overarching fear for the future of Star Wars. With Disney at the reins it seems that we may have another Star Wars movie every year until the end of time. Call me crazy, but I think we are really overdoing it. Yes we want more Star Wars, but do we need more Star Wars? Do we even deserve it?

Making so many movies will make an already complex universe ever more convoluted (just look at the prequels). It also takes the magic away from the original Star Wars trilogy. It was a simple story yet captivated us all.

Why the hell do we need to see the back story to Han Solo? Wasn’t what we got in A New Hope enough? Perhaps things like this are not necessary to dive into. Maybe part of the magic of Star Wars is that everything wasn’t spelled out for the viewer.

Alas, despite how I or anybody else in the world thinks, Star Wars will continue to go on. And that brings us to our very first spin-off film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

I would like to begin by saying that overall, I enjoyed my experience watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I felt very invested in the plot and would not mind watching it again in the near future. I say this now because I have many, many problems with this film.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes place very shortly before the events of A New Hope. It stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, the criminal daughter of the inventor of the very first Death Star. Jyn is sought after and found by the Rebel Alliance, who enlists in her help to basically find her long lost father and unite the Rebellion . With the power of the force by their side, Jyn and her new Rebel friends must help save the Galaxy from the wrath of the Empire (its a little more complex than that but this is the short of it).

Now, my first complaint would be all the shoehorned cameos made in the film. I do understand that it takes place before the first Star Wars, so naturally we are going to see Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader. But did we really need to see the pig nosed guy from the Cantina? For the brief couple of seconds he is on screen, the crowd loved it. Yet I couldn’t stop hating it. It was pointless crowd pandering that I feel Disney wanted in the film for nostalgic purposes. It served no purpose. Period. I rolled my eyes and did not crack a smile. The exact same went for when I saw C-3PO and some of the other nostalgic characters.

I would also like to briefly mention Grand Moff Tarkin’s role in this film. Again, I understand why he would be important to the story, but I don’t get why they put him in the film so much. Since Peter Cushing (the original Grand Moff Tarkin) died in 1994, his character had to be completely CGI. The design looked okay I guess, but from the get go I could tell it was fake. I really can’t blame them too much on this because they did the best they could. However everybody needs to stop pretending that this was some great performance or something. Because it definitely was not.

The acting was all around fantastic on all sides. I loved Felicity Jones as Jyn and thought she did a terrific job. I also loved the acting talents of our supporting cast members like Forest Whitaker and Diego Luna. Even though a lot of the side characters weren’t developed enough, which was another problem with this film .

Since so much time was dedicated to focusing on our lead hero Jyn (dealing with her backstory, emotions, struggles, etc.) we did not get as much time to learn about our other heroes. They were left a little on the bland side and could have been much better and more thawed out. They had their quirks and their moments but didn’t get much personality devoted to them.

The audience gets a good look at many new planets as well as the inhabitants of those planets. And in usual Star Wars fashion, they are all really awesome. The planets all seem so fleshed out and creative, I was wishing we the audience could experience more. There was one cool planet in particular that I could tell was inspired by Ridley Scott’s Alien, my favorite movie. There are literally hundreds of different designs of characters, many of which were real costumes and looked really cool.

The ground combat of the storm troopers and the rebellion, something this film is heavy in, is phenomenal. I was always curious what gritty, up close combat would be like in Star Wars, and I definitely got it. The action scenes are intensely shot and keep the pace moving quickly. Enough new gadgets and tanks are brought into the fighting to make the combat at least feel somewhat refreshing and new.

The musical score was pretty good and went well with the film. It was different while still being reminiscent of the usual Star Wars composition. The music was able to vary while still keeping the general theme similar to John William’s style. This is good considering the new composer only had a month to write it.

Some aspects of Rogue One I was kind of give or take with. Darth Vader makes an appearance here and there, and those are hit or miss unfortunately. The same went for the new villain Orson Krennic, who would flop between being a predictable bad guy and purely diabolical.

The ending to Rogue One was probably my favorite part of the film. Without spoiling anything, I think that some very bold creative choices were made. I was glad to see the outcome of the film and left me feeling very satisfied. I think many others will disagree with me on how they handled the ending, but I loved it.

I recommend Rogue One to every Star Wars fan out there. Go watch it and make an opinion of your own! I believe it is an enjoyable, well made film with a solid story and great cast. I will try to remain as hopeful as possible for the next installment of Star Wars, even though my faith in the franchise wanes. I think I just need to remind myself that some movies are built on hope.

-Zachary Flint

2 thoughts on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

  1. Great review! I like the mix of nostalgia and at the same time still have its own tone. I also liked the connections to A New Hope. The last Darth Vader scene is soooo good. I’m def. looking forward to more standalone Star War movies.


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