Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.
I have to say Rogue One: A Star Wars Story got off to a shaky start, with a downright atrocious first act that meanders more than a Jason Bourne film - and that was before realising the writer of the aforementioned spy franchise, is in fact one of the multitude of writers tasked to Rogue One - requiring you to have the Star Wars Encyclopedia handy, to figure out where the heck you are exactly in this universe. Itís not solid storytelling and ingrains the feeling of being constantly on the move with the viewer, never establishing any concrete locations nor does it invest you into any of the characters or their motivations, itís a real mis step compared to the much better film that emanates from it.
Thankfully once the channel swapping gets out of the way, and the actual rogues gallery team up, the film works, and the action along with the stakes ramp up for some satisfying Star Wars viewing. Whilst the forgone conclusion of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is already set in stone at this point, how the writers go about getting to that story milestone has clearly been something of an issue. I mean why else would you need four different writers on the same project? And it clearly shows in the end product, with some downright nonsensical plot offerings that donít sit well within the world and the new cast of characters which have been ushered into existence here, and any lingering upon them destroys the entire illusion set forth. But alas, thereís a destination we must arrive at and youíll enjoy the somewhat bumpy ride in getting there.
Speaking of universes, the one created within Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is an interesting one. With excellent CG and a whole range of both puppetry and digital monsters populating it alike. Though it does tend to lean heavily on the fan service side of things, with cameos from now infamous - if insignificant - characters of old somehow stumbling into our new cast akin to a serendipitous Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels script and a multitude of scenes laced with obvious nods to the films of old. What canít be forgiven though is including some of those old cast of characters in CGI form. It completely takes you out of the experience, with them being on the verge of the uncanny valley it leaves you questioning that there were surely better ways of accomplishing the same task that didnít completely take you out of the experience.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is also now the second film in this re-energised franchise whose best character is once again a robot. With K-2SO being the laughter balance of the film - clearly a humour-invasion seeping in from Disneyís Marvel property - that happily works very well within Rogue One, though it does tend to say a lot about the human characters within these modern Star Wars offerings. And on the other side of things we have that much talked about Darth Vader cameo, who is once again voiced by the stalwart James Earl Jones but this time embodied by Spencer Wilding. All I will say on that, though brief itís quite epic viewing, and worthy of admission alone for Star Wars fans.
Another year and another Star Wars film, whilst Rogue One: A Star Wars Story doesnít quite feel like the big budget fanfiction that was The Force Awakens, Rogue One has plenty script problems of its own. With a sketchy first act that does little to enthrall you and the employment of some garish CG characters of old that will have you questioning the filmmakers decision making process.
- 3 Out of 5 Stars
Horrendous first act
Little too much fan service
Odd CG role reprisals
Universe and creatures
K-2SO, comedy machine
Enjoyable, if known journey
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Release Date: 15th December
Runtime: 2 hr 14 mins
Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk & Donnie Yen
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Yes, whilst there is plenty of death, destruction there's very little if any blood and or gore.
The Rebel base at Yavin IV features several full-sized cardboard cut-outs of X-Wings and Y-Wing fighters, using the same technique of filling out the hangar as in the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.
This is the first installment in the Star Wars: Anthology series.
Alan Tudyk also previously played the robot character Sonny in I, Robot.