Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Reviewed
Rogue One takes place before the events of the original Star Wars and follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of the man who is the unwilling designer of the Empire’s superweapon. Jyn leads a small group of fighters whose mission is to steal the plans to the Death Star and deliver those plans to the rebel alliance.
The problem with the movie—as is the case for any prequel—is that you know how the movie has to end. The events of Rogue One lead directly to the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. They even refer to Rogue One’s mission in the original movie some 40 years ago, so the mission and the fate of its character has been predetermined for quite some time. So the question is not what happens, but how it happens. And in order to create a compelling movie the “how” needs to be beyond captivating. Unfortunately, the how in this instance is barely even interesting.
The last 30 minutes of the movie is far and away the best part. Rogue One plays more or less as a war movie, and it’s in the final act when we get the big battle payoff. The action sequences during these scenes are at times gritty and the CGI is fantastic. There are even a few emotional moments, though not as many as I am sure they were hoping to create. So it is at this moment fans will decide if they liked this movie. Is the last third of the movie strong enough to forgive the problems in the first two-thirds?
For this reviewer, while the last 30 minutes are good, it doesn’t forgive the tedious plot and uninspiring character development of the first 90 minutes. It leaves me wondering how much of this was a tonal problem from all the reported reshoots the movie had to do. Many fans (some of whom I have already spoken with) will disagree with me and say all the big battles, the CGI, and the movie’s Easter eggs will leave fans of the series more than satisfied. I found myself yawning on more than one occasion, and no matter how much I love the franchise I fear the mouse is going to oversaturate the market with these movies. Help us J.J. Abrams— you’re our only hope. C-/D+