Ben Chanenson and Patrick Walker
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a huge risk by Disney. Would fans be interested in the expanded mythology? Or would people even find a movie interesting if they already know the ending? Rogue One is based off one paragraph from the opening crawl of the 1977 hit Star Wars (below), the result of the film is no secret. Disney made a 200 million dollar bet that the answer to both of those questions is yes and it seems they are one with the force and the force is with them–they struck gold again.
Rouge One follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) throughout her role in what can be called a Galactic Civil War. Jyn’s relationship to the Empire and the Rebellion is explored in the opening act, all while a group of rebel extremists and patrons struggle against “the evil Galactic Empire.” Jyn together with her rebellion friends form a rogue squadron (the “Rebel Spies” as mentioned above) that butts heads with the main protagonist Director of Advanced Weapons and Research Orson Krennic throughout the film culminating in the third act. Although the rebels seek to steal the movie’s centerpiece, the “secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR” it is not a heist film, but rather a gritty action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat despite having a predetermined resolution. To compensate is the fact that these characters are no name soldiers, not Han or Leia, so you know that movie magic will not save them. Everyone is at risk.
If you are looking for a movie with a rich plot and round characters this is not the movie for you. Each character is constrained to stereotypes and character changes of heart lack proper motivation. Additionally, there are too many characters in this film and too many locations. Disney even realizes this and includes location text for the first time in Star Wars history to resolve the problem. However, if you are looking for a movie that brings you back down memory lane—-like it’s 1977 all over again—-then this is the movie for you. Just like its predecessor Stars Wars: The Force Awakens it relies heavily on nostalgia and at times the movie turns into to straight up fanservice. However rather than using cheap tricks at jogging the memory of hardcore fans, the references and subtle hints are inserted seamlessly into the story, and result in countless, flawless callbacks to the original trilogy of films. And if you are not a Star Wars fan, there is something for you too, an action sequence of epic proportions. It is truly breathtaking watching 2016 technology at work in film. Recent advancements in technology are reflected in this film. In fact several dead actors are entirely resurrected in CGI, a major innovation and breakthrough that has its faults, but works out in the end.
Final verdict: 8/10 The first act is choppy, but the ending is Star Wars at its best.