Star Wars Rogue One: A Don’t Feed The Gamers FULL Review (SPOILERS)
With the relaunch of the Star Wars franchise over the last couple years, the hype has never been more real than now. The Force Awakens, once announced, became the most highly anticipated movie of 2015. Now with Disney at the helm, we get to see more Star Wars than ever come to the big screen! Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first of Lucasfilms and Disney Studios’ Star Wars standalone movies and let me tell you, it has been very eagerly awaited for me since the first teaser released earlier this year.
Rogue One details the events that transpire leading up to the 1977 space opera and sci-fi extraordinaire Star Wars, later to be renamed Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which launched an epic journey that has touched the lives of millions across the globe. To anyone who has seen the Star Wars films, you should be familiar with the Death Star and in A New Hope, we learn from Mon Mothma how the Rebel Alliance was set about to destroy the Death Star. The Rebel Alliance was given word of the construction of an “Ultimate Weapon of Destruction” and knew it had to be stopped or it would effectively end the Rebellion and doom the galaxy to the Empires rule of terror. Thus a mission was launched to retrieve the plans for the Death Star in order to find a way to destroy it. Rogue One follows this mission from start to finish.
[[[ Everything below this portion goes into full detail the plot points of Rogue One. From here on out, this opinion piece is dark and full of spoilers – you have been warned ]]]
We learn within the first 20 minutes of the movie that, in amazingly accurate accordance with various theories preceding the release of the film, Galen Erso is key the the construction of the Death Star along with the empire’s reliance on Kyber Crystals (Lightsaber crystals) which are in fact used to power the Death Star’s main weapons system. Galen Erso is essentially forced back into service for the Empire and pressed into finishing work on the Death Star. It is made almost annoyingly clear the Kyber Crystals are important to the plot but then the payoff is actually kind of weak. Kyber crystals are mentioned at least half a dozen times within a 15 minute span and then nothing for the rest of the film. So yeah the theories were right, but it seems like the inclusion of the specific focus on Kyber crystals is superfluous to the main plot. It is also made clear that Galen Erso is essential and fortunately that information leads to a much better payoff.
The introductory scenes for our protagonist are done well, we get some back story into her family, we get the feels when her family is disrupted, we get the start of a foothold into where things are going and then the plot kind of starts jumping around. Honestly the first half of the movie seems a bit forced, pun intended, almost as if they are trying to make things overly obvious and forcing references to things that appear elsewhere in the Star Wars Cinematic Universe. From the obsessive use of the words Kyber Crystals in the dialogue to scenes where the conversations just seem out of place and a bit awkward, the first half of the movie is a bit rough. I am absolutely not detracting from the content of the story, the story was amazing, but for the first bit the exposition and delivery just didn’t flow as one would have hoped it would.
Moving past what is essentially the introductory scenes, the plot starts moving the story forward. It’s a bit slow at first but not for long. Shortly after the team gets thrown together events transpire that will really get things rolling. The most noteworthy plot point is the discovery of the origin of the most controversial engineering “flaw” in the history of the Star Wars cinematic universe. The 2 meter exhaust port which leads to the reactor in the Death Star which if hit with explosives will cause a chain reaction and destroy the entire station. Well guess what, that’s no moon! Wait no, that’s Obi-Wan’s line. Well if you haven’t already guessed, the Death Star was actually built with quite literally the biggest “Eff You Empire!” that the galaxy has ever seen! This was an awesome moment in my opinion, it answered a question that fans have been debating for decades and did so in a way that makes sense within the story.
This is what I would say is the turning point in the film: when the events of the story-line actually play out in a way that was very different from the implications of the trailers. The rogue element really changed the mood of the film for me and it started flowing much better. Here we also begin to see more familiar elements begin to fall into place for the final connection between Rogue One and A New Hope.
Once the mission is launched, expect some fairly non-stop action packed sequences as the bravery and cunning of the Rebel infiltrators begins to play an intregal role in the events of the film. Once the mission to Scarif, an Imperial archive installation protected by a fleet and a planetary shield, is uncovered what starts out as a small skirmish turns into a grandiose full scale assault. In a grand show, we see all the greatest elements of all the most notable Star Wars battles jam packed into one epicly proportioned confrontation on the surface and in the space above that really gets the adrenaline going
Without giving away too much, I will say that the last 30 minutes or so of the movie is pure awesomeness. This is everything we came to see, the action and suspense, the daring and bravery, everything comes together and flows so well which is good because the ending honestly accomplished something I have never seen before done so flawlessly. During the last sequences of the film there is a moment when you think, “That’s it, that’s the end of the movie.” Wrong! The very last few minutes of Rogue One are truly impressive, they manage to wrap up every aspect of plot that has been brought into the narrative and flow it directly into where the story picks up almost 40 years ago with Star Wars: A New Hope, right down to the plans for the Death Star ending up on the Rebel Corvette class Blockade Runner that we see in the opening sequence of A New Hope. Absolute chills. The ending leaves us with a bitter sweet feeling as the characters we’ve gotten to know fade from the scene but we know what comes next and it’s truly one of the greatest cinematic transitions that I think I’ve ever seen.
Despite the rocky start and feeling that the story is a little forced at the start, overall Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an enjoyable movie that delivers an amazing story from the Star Wars Universe. I would have a difficult time saying that it is on par with the Saga films (Episodes I-VII) but for a standalone title under the Star Wars franchise, I would certainly say it did a pretty decent job. After all, it is a Star Wars story.
The movie is definitely worth seeing if you haven’t already, and if you have – we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. As a huge fan of all things Star Wars, it is truly awesome to see stories like this get told in a cinematic format, and with now having been able to see Star Wars Rogue One in person, we can definitely say there is hope for the future of Star Wars standalone films. After all, “Rebellions are built on Hope.” If you like Star Wars, check out some more awesome Star Wars news and until next time, may the Force be with you!
Luciano Cancilla106 Posts
Luciano has an undeniable passion for all things BioWare and has an enthusiastic perspective on the Gaming Industry. With a love for gaming, comics, and Geek Culture, you can always expect to have a good time nerding out.