Oh thank you sweet baby jesus! My worry about Rogue One was felt by so many other die hard Star Wars fans, however finally we can put all those bad thoughts to bed, as Disney nailed it in Rogue One.
It’s really different and really good. Gareth Edwards brought something new to the universe and it paid off. It’s probably my second favorite Star Wars film of all time—losing out to Empire Strikes Back only because of nostalgia.
The first half of Rogue One is a bit of a slow build and you may start to question everything you ever believed in. As you see more and more friendly faces and inside references, you learn how true to the universe the film is and it eases some of that. By the second half, you’re invested enough to receive the very big and boomy action that comes next.
The CGI is absolutely unbelievable—by which I mean it’s 100% believable! It really makes you think about what the movie industry will be like in 10 years.
The world is dirty and the scenes are detailed. It’s dystopian and cluttered.
I will say that you really need to understand the Star Wars saga to appreciate the film. That might be a bad thing if this is supposed to be a true standalone. Watching A New Hope first is probably enough if you want to get by. If you really otherwise don’t enjoy Star Wars, then just read the opening crawl and watch the first scene of Episode IV before seeing Rogue One.
Afterwards, you’ll surely want to see how it all turns out with those Death Star plans.
There were reports last year of extensive reshoots, which I wish I could say weren’t noticeable. There’s a chunk in the early-middle part of the movie that doesn’t really amount to much (even though we’d seen quite a bit of it in trailers and the like—on that note, a good deal of material from the trailers didn’t make it into the final cut), and some character development doesn’t pay off as well as it should, with a bit of the motivation being lost along the way. I’m also very curious about how much of the original version of the script had the direct lead-in references to A New Hope, which forms a lot of the end of the film. Whether initially intended or not, the second half of the movie greatly benefits from the focus and excitement of seeing the battle that led to the 1977 first film.
We give it 4 out of 5 stars and here is how the new Star Wars ranking of awesomeness plays out:
1. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
2. Rogue One (2016)
3. Return of the Jedi (1983)
4. The Force Awakens (2015)
5. A New Hope (1977)
6. Revenge of the Sith (2005)
7. Attack of the Clones (2002)
8. The Phantom Menace (1999)
Where will Episode VIII (2017) fit?
Here is the most recent promo video for Rogue One: