I really enjoyed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Was it a perfect film? Not by a long shot, but it is exactly what I wanted from a war movie set in the Star Wars universe. A lot of reviewers have a lot of complaints about pacing or the CGI on some characters, and even on character development. There’s some validity to all of those things, but they are overshadowed by the cumulative quality of the film.
As far as the story goes, I could not have been happier. It was a gritty, dirtier look at the underside of the rebellion that we were shielded from in the original trilogy. In some ways, the tone was a lot closer to that of the animated Rebels series, than the movies. It was an interesting experience, given that we went in to the film knowing what the first moments of the next film would be (a New Hope), but getting there was never boring. As to the complaints about the pacing, it had it’s lulls, as all movies do, but I never found myself tempted to check the time. In fact, I had a harder time trying to figure out when I could sneak in a pee break, out of fear of missing out on some action.
In regards to the CGI on some characters, yeah, it was a little jarring at first. I think the second instance could have been done without ever having to see anyone’s face, so it seemed a bit gratuitous to me. The main one, however, was great for what it was. The downside of CGI and human skin is that it has a little bit of a plastic, clammy look to it on screen. Some critics are calling that grotesque and insulting. I’m willing to overlook it for what it meant to the story.
Look, I really don’t want to get into details much at all, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. I will say that some of the characters were a bit underdeveloped, but taking the time to make us love them more would have bogged down the film. I’ll also say that the third act cements Gareth Edwards’ directing credits as one of the best in the last 20 years. It is stunning to watch (I saw it in 2D), and gripping from the time the action ramps up to when the final credits roll.
When the lights came back on, the guy behind me stood up and said, “It was good, but it wasn’t a Star Wars movie.” To me, that’s a load of bantha crap. Was it darker than the typical Star Wars movie? yeah. Was there more death and destruction? sure. was it less kid friendly? without a doubt. it was a war movie and a heist movie. It was a story with real consequences and an ending works as a better tie in to the original trilogy than the prequels ever will. To say that it’s not a Star Wars movie is like saying Doctor Strange isn’t a Marvel movie because it uses magic instead of science. It may not be what you ever thought you could expect from a Star Wars movie, but it is most certainly a Star Wars movie, through and through.