In a nutshell, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a good movie but falls short of being a great one. The rumours of the movie being heavily doctored at the last minute because the original script was too dark seems to be confirmed with several scenes feeling disjointed and out of place given what has gone before. That said, it is still a pretty dark movie although by no means the darkest movie to ever fly the Disney flag.
At its very core, it is a war movie and follows the typical story arcs we have come to expect from the last 20 or so years of World War II movies – but now with blasters and star destroyers.
The effects are suitably impressive and the space battles are attempting to recapture the feel of the original trilogy’s sparse but elegant space battle scenes and less of the cluttered mess that was the hallmark of the prequel trilogy.
The characters are the usual cardboard cut-outs you would expect to populate such an affair: The taciturn and morally ambiguous leader, the bright eyed purveyor of ‘hope’, the sarcastic sidekick, the believer and his obligatory non believer brother in arms, and a metric fuck-ton of fan service cameos.
It is also very hard to judge the plot on its merits because the ending has already been spoiled for almost 40 years. That being said, it moves at a pretty punchy pace but at the expense of any real character development.
None of the characters are ever fully developed beyond being mere representatives of their respective tropes. Maybe it is because the movie wants to tell its story without upsetting the established canon too much, or maybe it’s because the writers themselves were trying very hard to pay homage to the genre.
Either way, despite my own reservations about it, I will definitely recommend it and will myself be watching it at least one more time.
Also, I will be impatiently awaiting the Directors Cut Blu-Ray to see this film in its original and darker glory.
Photo from Disney.