Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Screen 58 of 18 reviews

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Poster
  • George Lucas and his collaborators were always aces at world building even when their storytelling failed, but this is the first entry in the saga that convinces us that its characters live in an actual civilization, with rules and traditions and a sense of history (and a religion) that they measure themselves against.

  • Much more aggravating than the fan service being offered here is how this emphatic franchise-building feeds into a nostalgia that is directly at odds with the film’s refreshing political energy... even through all the techno-hubris and nostalgiaphilia, the backward-glancing Rogue One somehow makes important steps forward, as its anti-fascist payload thankfully manages to come through loud and clear.

  • This is more like the movie I was hoping for from the resurrected Star Wars monolith (which is still wired and botoxed enough for the open casket), a movie with imagination and grit. .. All I wanted from The Force Awakens was new Star Wars, but it was just the old one, down to the planets. Rogue One blazes ahead.

  • I find Rogue One a tricky movie to critique because it stirred many, contradictory reactions in me, simultaneously annoying my critical faculties and getting my blood pumping. Although it bends over backwards to recreate familiar sights and sounds from A New Hope, it also uses that template as an excuse to shift ground just a few inches and avoids leaning too much on the regulation touchstones of the series.

  • This is a relatively violent film, loaded with close quarters fighting and culminating in a massive, nearly 40-minute air/land/space battle that might be some of the most visceral action in the franchise’s history. Director Gareth Edwards shoots everything somewhat docu-verite style, with a lot of handheld distinctive from the mostly tripod-locked style of the main entries. It’s never less than exciting even if the story and characters are generally on autopilot.

  • In many respects, it is a better film than last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens: leaner, darker, with a distinct visual style and an actual ending that feels like a denial of blockbuster expectations simply because it shows basic narrative integrity. Returning to the movie influences and more limited color palette of A New Hope, director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) has created the rare Star Wars property that can be appreciated as a film.

  • A sense of dramatic convergence materializes during “Rogue One’s” pulse-quickening endgame... As the puzzle pieces snap into place, with a level of precision and economy that honors and even transcends the narrative foundation of “A New Hope,” “Rogue One” at last finds its own reason for being. For one thrilling final stretch, everything old really is new again.

  • Was actively bored on a narrative/character level, i.e. for pretty much the first hour and a half. Woke up for the climactic battle sequence, which Edwards orchestrates with tremendous skill. Really woke up when Darth Vader appeared (the second time) to belatedly realize my childhood nightmare about what he might be capable of.

  • The movie summons up two faces from 1977 and the results show the straitjacket of franchise engineering, where the effort to light some referential visual sparkler rarely gets turned inwards instead towards non-visual matters, like patching up character arcs that are shipping water, or indeed junking them altogether.

  • It has a perfect structure built into its premise, as a war film/heist movie hybrid set in a sci-fi milieu. The final act, which focuses almost solely on the Rebels’ clandestine mission, is the film’s most thrilling and satisfying segment, and could very nearly function as a short film about the sacrifice of military grunts in the grand scheme of a vast war. However, the rest of the film leading up to that is far too beholden to making cheeky references to the original trilogy.

  • It begins wonderfully because Edwards commits no unforced errors, his technique is expressive, and he sketches the thumbnail versions of the characters masterfully well. But as soon as we catch up to the grownup Jyn (Felicity Jones), the film’s vitality fades into the murky air. The story ricochets haphazardly as Edwards hurtles us from one planet or moon to the next.

  • Except for a few jocose, fan-serving moments, the movie is a dour affair, lacking the charm and chills of J.J. Abrams's spirited Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), not to mention George Lucas's founding trilogy. Director Gareth Edwards, best known for the 2014 reboot Godzilla, focuses on the tense and visually splendid action sequences, and the performances suffer.

  • Despite an inspired stray shot or two (such as the Death Star eclipsing the sun before its attack on a defenseless, vaguely Middle Eastern alien city), Edwards is slave to the machine. And the asides that might otherwise open up this expansive world actually shrink it, close it off, limiting it to the things (all those mass-market inundations) we already know.

  • Even if there’s a lot of gray in Rogue One, that doesn’t make it particularly dark. The Rebel Alliance is fighting for something important, but what was it again? The freedom to wear something other than drab, tattered, sub-Eileen Fisher linen? (Not such a bad thing to fight for.) The story hits every expected beat, right when you expect it to.

  • The first thing to say about Rogue One is that it might be the most visually splendid Star Wars movie to date — with its mist-covered mountains, its tsunamis of dust and fire, its X-wing fighters blazing through rainswept nights... The second thing to say about Rogue One is that, for all its vivid visual imagination, the film left me almost totally cold. And I say that as a man who has cried actual tears at more than one Star Wars movie.

  • Whatever momentum the new characters' story has is constantly compromised by prolonged plot detours intent on reintroducing the audience to old places and—in at least one egregious instance—reanimated old faces. This does more than compromise the integrity of Rogue One's plot; it undercuts its core ethic.

  • The director, Gareth Edwards, has stepped into a mythopoetic stew so half-baked and overcooked, a morass of pre-instantly overanalyzed implications of such shuddering impact to the series’ fundamentalists, that he lumbers through, seemingly stunned or constrained or cautious to the vanishing point of passivity, and lets neither the characters nor the formidable cast of actors nor even the special effects, of which he has previously proved himself to be a master, come anywhere close to life.

  • It’s not the dearth of originality that plagues every pore of “Rogue One,” it’s the lack of inspiration. Clumsily plotted and often flat-out stupid — halfway through, a key MacGuffin is lost simply because someone forgot to grab it, which is just lazy — “Rogue One” boasts thin characters played by great actors scampering about far too many planets with names that sound like obscure venereal diseases. It’s a “Star Wars” knockoff that happens to look a lot like a “Star Wars” movie.

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