Review – Rogue One (2016) – Spoiler Free

The Force Awakens was very much a moneymaker, designed to appeal to the widest possible audience and re-establish Lucasfilm as a brand name that many had lost faith in.

Rogue One feels like a film made specifically for the die-hard fans, a loving “thank you” to everyone who stuck with the franchise, despite its controversial moments.

The story answers the following question brought up by A New Hope: how did the rebels get the Death Star plans?

This film is an absolute delight. Aside from a slower first act (which has to introduce a great deal of new characters and make the audience care about them) the film culminates in one of the most satisfyingly insane, edge-of-your-seat finales I’ve experienced in a long time.

The characters are fantastic, especially the newest droid, who’s a sassy throwback to HK-47, the meatbag-loathing companion droid from the Knights of the Old Republic games. It’s an ensemble of folks whom you wish you could see a whole movie’s worth of backstory for.

It looks incredible, especially in that we REALLY get to see what life under the Empire was like. The sets feel real and organic, and the diverse cast really makes that galaxy far far away feel less like a mythological playground for legends, and more like a real place.

There are many Easter eggs, such as visual references, cameos, and in-jokes that delight viewers without taking the viewer out of the movie, but it’s never just cheap fan service. It’s a loving “thank you” to fans.

My only complaint was that Michael Giacchino didn’t really give us any new memorable themes in his score. He did a marvelous job of conjuring up John Williams’ musical landscape (soaring strings, delicate woodwind statements, and moody brass abound) but there weren’t as many iconic thematic statements as we’ve come to expect from Star Wars. The score is still excellent, but I think it could’ve been better.

But overall, it was a fantastic experience, and I hope to see it again before it leaves theaters. It really blew me away.

Gareth Edwards has done the franchise proud!

You should go see it!


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