Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first in a series of supplementary movies that look to flesh out the Star Wars universe while making piles of cash. This story follows the Rebels’ discovery and acquisition of the original Death Star plans. While I don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge of the true superfans, I can quite confidently say that Star Wars was the single greatest influence on the creative parts of my brain. In other words, I’m incredibly biased, and yet, this is an awesome movie.
Pro – “This is it”
My buddy lives in Bali, and so he got to see the movie ahead of its U.S. release. He sent me the following text: “This is it. The Star Wars movie we’ve been waiting for for so long.” He was right. Rogue One is exactly what fans nostalgic for the original trilogy are looking for. This movie feels like it was cut from the same cloth as the original three, and that is both intentional and great.
Despite releasing 39 years after Star Wars: A New Hope, Rogue One is set in the time immediately preceding that film. As such, the costumes, vehicles, locations, equipment, and even some of the key characters look and sound the exact same. This movie feels like someone found old, unreleased film at Skywalker Ranch and released it now. Considering the success and reverence for the original three films, this is a very good thing.
Pro – Building upon the story
Perhaps the best compliment I can give Rogue One is that it feels just like the original movies while still telling a compelling and original story. There can be no claims of simply retelling the same old story here. Rogue One delivers a heart-pounding, original story that grows the universe while filling in some of the gaps in the story. Have no fear, this isn’t the shoe-horned variety seen in the prequels, but rather organic, thoughtful additions that make sense to the film and the universe. In fact, this movie deftly lays to rest some rather large questions that loomed over the original films.
Pro – Playing to its strengths
Star Wars films are always going to have great visuals and sound. Rogue One follows suit. The visuals are amazing. The viewer is transported to amazing worlds, shown fantastic set pieces, and treated to special effects par excellence. If you didn’t know better, you’d assume much of what you see is real. There is some CGI in the film, but most of it is of a caliber that has never been seen before.
The sounds are amazing, too. TIE fighters scream across the screen while lasers blast all around. Even the crowded city scenes are given more realism and pop from the great sound effects. All the while, the trademark Star Wars scores that are as much a part of the franchise as light sabers and Yoda enhance the experience.