Rogue One Review (Spoiler Free): Hope!
Star Wars: Rogue One surprised me on many levels. I knew going in that it was a Star Wars story and not a Star Wars film. So I was a little apprehensive about the production values and the storyline. Would feel or look like a Star Wars film?
So many questions!
Catalyst by James Luceno sets up a lot of the film. I knew a lot of the backstory from the book and I wondered how much people would get who haven’t read the book. The first half of the film is a lot of exposition and a lot of exploring the universe. You get bits and pieces of the conflict and where we are in the overall timeline. This is mostly based on the characters that we meet. I still felt like the film was a little rambly, but most Star Wars films are during the first part.
With everything that happens in the first part of the film, it leads me to believe that we could have a lot of prequels to Rogue One as well as a lot of side stories about the beginnings of the Alliance.
Once the film reaches the midway point, the action picks up and it really begins to feel like a Star Wars. I think a lot of it was because of the sound design and the characters that we run into. There’s a larger Imperial presence which feels the same throughout most of the Star Wars movies (and the cartoons). The soundtrack also begins to sound more like a Star Wars film near the end as well, and that was pretty important to me. Another distinction is that there is no opening crawl for the film. I guess it really is to show it’s not part of the Star Wars saga but as mentioned in the advertising, it is a Star Wars story.
Check out my Mini-Review of Star Wars: Rogue One!
There are a lot of deaths in Rogue One, which might be harder for younger kids to take. In some cases there might be a question about why there were so many deaths in the film, but not many of these people made it into Episode Four. Otherwise, they would have been celebrated as heroes of the Rebellion, much like Luke Skywalker was.
There are a lot of things that Star Wars fans are really going to enjoy, including a lot of Easter eggs and ties to the other films. There are a lot of characters that we briefly glimpse in Episode Four that have a much fuller role in Rogue One. We meet a lot of the rebel command that doesn’t exist in Episode Four and there are good reasons for that. Not only are some of them killed but many of them had to go into hiding to protect the core Alliance.
I did like that a lot of characters were in the film from Episode Four. Many of the smaller cameos (including some big ones) were computer graphics and were most impressive. Pay attention and you get to see why Luke Skywalker will eventually get to assume the Red Five call sign.
Rogue One fits nicely before Episode Four and really expands the story tremendously. They’re so much more going on and it makes Episode Four a much richer film. Now we have a much larger tapestry on which posit about the first Star Wars films.
Remember: We have hope; rebellions are built on hope!