Film Review: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm

'Godzilla' director Gareth Edwards makes the first 'Star Wars' movie targeted directly at adult fans of the original, a gritty war movie with few kid-friendly ingredients.

A short time before “Star Wars,” in a galaxy far, far away, the Rebel heroes featured in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” took the first step that led to the Death Star’s destruction. No spoilers there, since earthlings first saw that glorious explosion nearly 40 years ago. Be warned, though: Every detail that follows could dilute the surprise factor of what’s coyly being billed as a Jedi-free spinoff, but might more accurately be described as “Star Wars: Episode 3.9,” so perfectly does it set up George Lucas’ 1977 original.

Not only does “Rogue One” overlap ever so slightly with “A New Hope,” but it takes that blockbuster’s biggest weakness — that a small one-man fighter can blow up a battlestation the size of a class-four moon — and actually turns this egregious design flaw into an asset. Now we know why the Death Star has an Achilles’ heel and how that information fell into Princess Leia’s hands. Plus (and here’s the aspect that should send longtime “Star Wars” fans into ecstatic orbit), director Gareth Edwards has finally made the first “Star Wars” movie for grown-ups.

There are no Ewoks or Jar Jar Binks-like characters here, thrown in just to appeal to pre-school-aged audiences. The plot is designed less like a flashy video game, and more like a down-and-dirty war movie (think documentaries about the conflict in Syria, rather than stodgy World War II films). And quite a few of the principal characters die, which would be upsetting for young viewers, but provides fans old enough to remember seeing “Star Wars” in theaters with a heroic sacrifice designed to inspire a “Remember the Alamo!”-style rallying cry when it comes time for the Red Squadron to do its business. With all due respect to comic-book devotees, this is the “Suicide Squad” audiences have been waiting for this year.

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If this all sounds dauntingly technical, that’s because it is. At the risk of being sacrilegious, “Star Wars” — with its notions of Jedis and the Force — has become one of the world’s favorite myths, bypassing a number of traditional belief systems in its increasingly cult-like appeal (give it another century, and fandom could well crystallize into worship). As such, any new addition to the canon demands more than just a passing familiarity with the previously established lore, while the slightest infidelity on the filmmakers’ part threatens to upset its followers.

“Rogue One” is loaded with allusions to other films in the franchise, and though that’s fun for the faithful, it also makes this the “Battlefield Earth” of the series: an elaborate, complex-to-the-point-of-confusing space opera that will earn few converts, while appealing primarily to the already-converted. Except, as for-profit “religions” go, there are a whole lot more “Star Wars” followers out there than there are Scientologists. (By sheer coincidence, both movies feature Forest Whitaker in outrageous wig-and-costume combinations.)

In all fairness, while “Rogue One” is complicated, it isn’t any more so than the elaborate trade-and-taxation backstory of “The Phantom Menace.” Beginning on a volcanic-soil planet that looks suspiciously like Iceland, where Imperial-scientist-turned-farmer Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) has retired to raise crops — and his daughter, Jyn — in relative peace, the movie is the second to center on a female protagonist, after last year’s more traditionally fun “The Force Awakens.” The young Jyn is traumatized after seeing her mother murdered and her father taken into custody by white-caped Imperial baddie Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). Skip forward 20 or so years, and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) has gone from playing with dolls to wielding a blaster — allowing the Oscar nominee a kind of take-charge attitude absent from her previous dramatic roles.

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In a series of mostly-generic scenes credited to A-list studio writers Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy (the latter was reportedly pulled in to consult on reshoots), director Edwards cycles between a number of different planets, introducing members of what will become the film’s crew: There’s shifty Rebel spy Cassian Andor (Diego Luna, “Y Tu Mamá También”), who won’t hesitate to shoot someone in the back, and his pragmatic reprogrammed Imperial security droid, K-2SO (voiced by versatile Disney regular Alan Tudyk); there’s scruffy pilot — and Imperial defector — Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed, “Four Lions”); there’s milky-eyed monk Chirrut Îmwe (Hong Kong martial arts star Donnie Yen), and his long-haired, Rambo-like bodyguard, Baze Malbus (Chinese auteur Wen Jiang, “Let the Bullets Fly”).

While all of these eccentrically named Rebels fall within well-established character types, the ensemble is diverse enough that viewers will surely gravitate toward their own favorites. K-2SO gets the best lines, though the blind Chirrut earned the loudest applause at the film’s premiere, every time he switched from mild-mannered Buddhist monk mode to his impressive Zatoichi-esque fighting style (as a result, “Rogue One” should be huge in China). The film has a fair amount of boilerplate plot to get through before the mission itself can get underway, and apart from its elegantly stark prologue, feels eye-crossingly hard to follow for nearly its first hour, finally picking up once Jyn is ordered to locate her father.

Jyn’s dad has become the lead engineer on the Death Star since she last saw him, and he holds the key to its destruction — and we all know how that turns out. Still, for this batch of characters (none of whom have been so much as referenced in the subsequent episodes), the subsequent mission to steal the blueprints and beam them to the Rebels will be a Pyrrhic victory at best. In their effort to second-guess the film’s secrets, “Star Wars” obsessives have been citing Mon Mothma’s line, “Many Bothans died to bring us this information,” from “Return of the Jedi,” though in that case, the Senator was talking about the Death Star II (there are no Bothans in “Rogue One”).

Fans may know what comes next, but most of the Rebel history in “Rogue One” is being revealed for the first time (its clever connective plot hatched by “Star Wars” insider — and ILM visual effects supervisor — John Knoll himself). Still, the sequences that met with the most raucous approval at the world premiere screening were those featuring actions or characters audiences recognized from earlier films (a couple of whom are convincing computer-rendered performances, since the original actors have either died or aged too much to reprise their roles).

So the faithful enthusiastically approve, but does that make “Rogue One” a good movie? Or is it merely exploiting its connection to a well-loved and widely known phenomenon, the way that “Ben-Hur” integrated Jesus cameos into a less compelling parallel narrative? The answer is neither one nor the other, or a little of both. But at least it’s not the crass cash-grab skeptics may have feared. If this is your first “Star Wars” movie, you will be compelled to immediately follow it with “A New Hope,” since the film doesn’t end so much as abruptly roll credits after delivering a long-delayed payoff no other 2016 release can possibly rival.

The film’s tangential approach is precisely why Edwards was such a perfect choice to direct. While “Godzilla” proved that he could handle a blockbuster of this scale (and “Rogue One” feels every bit as big as “The Force Awakens”), it’s actually Edwards’ low-budget debut, “Monsters,” that suggested what’s so effective about this spinoff — that film spoke of an alien invasion from the perspective of a couple dealing with other concerns, playing a familiar genre from a fresh angle. The same could be said for “Rogue One,” which is an effective war movie in its own right, but focuses on the kind of characters who tend to get a single scene or line in the other seven films. It’s a reminder of the hilarious “Star Wars” debate in Kevin Smith’s “Clerks,” in which fans consider the fate of all the contractors hired to rebuild the Death Star — suggesting a level of interest in every character in the “Star Wars” universe, no matter how minor.

That said, “Rogue One” could fairly be accused of “speciesism,” since it features disappointingly few aliens. There’s actually quite a bit of the “Star Wars” formula missing here: no Jedis, no light sabers (until Darth Vader finally shows up), no iconic villain (Mendelsohn’s sneering, John Hurt-ful performance suggests a mid-rank Nazi functionary), and no chemistry, despite a half-hearted attempt to suggest Jyn and Cassian could be a couple.

Still, between epic battles featuring scores of familiar spaceships and the genuine thrill of hearing composer Michael Giacchino riff on John Williams’ classic score, there’s no denying that the film belongs to the creative universe Lucas established. This is the rebellion as it is experienced in the trenches. Younger audiences will be bored, confused, or both. But for the original generation of “Star Wars” fans who weren’t sure what to make of episodes one, two, and three, “Rogue One” is the prequel they’ve always wanted.

Film Review: 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Reviewed at Pantages Theatre, Dec. 10, 2016. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 138 MIN.

Production

A Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures release of a Lucasfilm Ltd. production. Producers: Simon Emanuel, Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur. Executive producers: John Knoll, Jason D. McGatlin. Co-producers: Kiri Hart, John Swartz, Susan Towner.

Crew

Director: Gareth Edwards. Screenplay: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy; story: John Knoll, Gary Whitta, based on characters created by George Lucas. Camera (color, widescreen): Greg Fraser. Editors: John Gilroy, Colin Goudie, Jabez Olssen. Music: Michael Giacchino.

With

Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Jimmy Smits, Alistair Petrie, Genevieve O'Reilly, Beau Gadsdon, Dolly Gadsdon.

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  1. Another Poster says:

    I just saw the movie at a theater and I enjoyed it a lot, and SPOILER ALERT, the satellite dish scenes reminded me a little of Person of Interest, (the series finale), and it’s satellite dish scenes: Load the important information the spacecraft orbiting overhead and get blown up after doing so. Very good film, that had too many product tie-ins and commercials. Disney wrote the book on merchandising a movie with Davy Crockett in the 1950’s, and they sure applied those lessons to Rogue One.

  2. ralfellis says:

    Anyone else noticed that the ancient city of Jeddah is a copy of the ancient city of Masada on the shores of the Dead Sea? See link on my fcebook site for details….

  3. peter g says:

    Peter Debruge would obviously hob-knob a Disney prince for the promise of attaching his name to something bigger than his critical thinking skills. What a priceless piece of bullshit Disney has created here. Ruined.

  4. This is the Star Wars movie that as an adult is the prequel that I thought I wanted as a kid. It’s dirty and gritty. It makes a New Hope, really feel like a new hope. The idea of watching this and episode IV back to back is something I can’t wait to do, hopefully in a theater. While not perfect, it does what it needs too. It lacks great heroes cause then how do you explain there absence from episode IV. It gives glimpses into the day to day working of the empire and anyone who see’s this movie before seeing episode IV, should be surprised by the light sabers, the actual powers of the force, etc. I would enjoy a prequel to this film, showing how the guardians of the Jedi temple lost it to the imperials. I would of enjoyed this film more if given some time to know something of the other rebels who volunteered to go on the suicide mission. I’m glad there were no character mistakes, especially like the double character mistake of Jar-Jar Binks, whom I always felt like was suppose to be killed Anakin/Vadar as a way to make his betrayal more personal. Most of all this film gives me new hope in the Star Wars franchise.

  5. Jack Tors says:

    As someone who is of the original generation of fans, and at 7 years old stood in line for the original I don’t agree with all the praise. Rogue One’s story is a neat tie to the original movie and had some great action sequences but thats about it. The dialog is poor, and the acting so so. It was hard to be interested in the characters as a whole. As a stand alone movie its barely a C. Without the star wars universe it would be instantly forgettable.

  6. Charles Muldoon says:

    Ok I thought it was a super great movie but I am really confused on some of the area of the movie. Example, There is a older Princess Lea and Han Solo. So how then When Star Wars 1 came out you see them as young and alive. Like Ben their son killed Solo so how can he be alive in 1. I must be missing something here.

    • Charles, the original movies were shot out of chronological order to the story. Young Lea and Han in the original Star Wars was episode 1. What you saw was episode 6 with old Lea and Han. As the article said this movie fits right before episode 4. And as a Star Wars epdisode 4 with the first appearance of Lea and Han this movie is the prequel I’ve always wanted. I love how subtle the force is or isn’t in this movie. Go watch episode 4 right away while this one is still fresh in your mind!

  7. James Prins says:

    “Speciesism” lemme go puke somewhere. Just because aliens aren’t depicted in a Star Wars movie doesn’t make them somehow inferior to the characters that are shown. Get a life people…

  8. John Doe says:

    Zatoichi is not from China, but from Japan; but who cares? There are only two real countries in the world: USA and the world.

  9. Gary says:

    Rogue One is just boring. The blind guy is the most interesting. I saw the first film in 1977 and it was super and still is compared to this boring mess.

  10. Lily says:

    Agreed on most of this, with the exception of Jyn and Cassian’s potential coupledom. I thought Jones and Luna had genuine spark there – the scene where they scream at each other had more actual emotion than any scene between a Star Wars couple before this.

    And I actually liked the lack of schmaltzy dialog and the fact that non-platonic feeling was implied and never verbally stated for either of the couples of Rogue One – I thought Felicity Jones and Diego Luna had great chemistry, as did Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen.

    • Maria says:

      I agree. I felt the chemistry between Jyn and Cassian, and it was bittersweet how their end came. I just so love this movie!

  11. JP says:

    I agree with this review. All I heard before release was that it was not going to be part of the overall arc and there would be no sequel. Not part of the arc……….absolutely false…it is episode 3.5. No sequel….absolutely false also…Episode 4 is the sequel. This movie is for the adults that had creativity when they were kids that once they saw the first movie they went directly to the garage with 8 MM cameras and started doing space scenes and effects. It’s for a generation that used to THINK…not rely on a device for every idea. This movie is exactly what the review says..it’s for people who are the ORIGINAL fans…not technologically inundated kids. You cannot have s STAR WARS movie without Darth Vader..period. No BS Anakin back story with the crappiest actor ever (ZZZZZZZZZ), no forced meaningless characters. This movie means business and it shows. It was fantastic. It should be renamed Episode 1…followed by Episode 2-4. Throw Episode 1, 2, and 3 in with the bad Dracula movies and let’s move on before anyone else has a chance to destroy the legend that is STAR WARS.

  12. rob says:

    Watching Darth Vader attempt to get the stolen plans was as good as any of “The Old Republic” Trailers, Greatness!

  13. Andy Sciandra says:

    As a 16 year old when the original Star Wars debuted, and a rabid fan of the franchise, I thoroughly appreciated the maturity of this episode. If I was the target demographic, this filmed nailed it.

  14. Andy Wong says:

    Indeed. Sod Jar-Jar-Bing, Padme Amidala, Anakin (both kid and teenage versions annoying as hell until burning lava improved things immeasurably) and that lot. This IS the prequel we have been waiting for.

  15. I’m sorry…Rogue One is the “prequel they (die-hard fans) have always wanted?” In the words of Senator Amidala, from another Star Wars movie of the exact same caliber as Rogue One…”You assume too much.”

    I ranted on FB how crappy this movie is, in a much more uncensored format. All the things the author of the article praises it for NOT being, it is. It IS a thinly-veiled, cheaply allusioned, cash-grab on a franchise the director has never apparently watched through entirely without falling asleep. Let’s hit a VERY tiny sampling of the issues bogging this work down, shall we? (Light SPOILERS ahead.)

    1: The traditional Prologue roll-up is missing. If that’s not an outright slap to any die-hard’s face, I don’t know what is. (This may seem like semantic squabbling at first, but wait,it gets MUCH worse.)

    2: I knew that wasn’t john Williams. (You confirmed this for me.) The music sounds NOTHING like Star Wars at all, and the main theme, so iconic, like the roll-up, of the series is missing.

    3: At the time this occurred, ALL Imperial Shuttles were of uniform design.But of course, the director of the movie didn’t care about minor details like that.

    4: There was no such thing as a U-Fighter BBY. If you don’t know what BBY stands for, then Rogue One is RIGHT up your alley.

    5: Imperial defector general Crix Madine stole the original Death Star plans.

    6: Why would Tarkin have to usurp control of his own freaking project?

    7: Darth Vader campy one-liners. ‘Nuff said.

    8: AT-STs can’t be used for urban street patrol. If you don’t know why, then Rogue One is perfect for you as well.

    9: Oh yeah, just so you know–there was a little guy named Wedge Antilles and he was flight commander for Rogue Squadron. And…he’s missing. All right BBY. Funny thing that, yeah?

    That’s ignoring the hamstrung, conveniently piecemealed plot. If you loved Die Hard’s sequels, you’ll LOVE Rogue One, as it’s the die-Hard of the franchise. Fun to look at, but lacking in either intelligence or finesse. Or even just basic plot conventions. :/

    • James Prins says:

      That Vader pun… yeah I wasn’t a fan of that.
      And Wedge not being shown in the battle at the end kind of annoyed me too, as well as the Tarkin plot hole you mentioned.

      One question – why do you say there are no U-Wings BBY? I find it fairly believable actually. The Rebels had a fairly cobbled-together navy early on, so a bit of variety seems okay to me there.

      Overall, I liked Rogue One, although I am a rather hardcore Original Trilogy fan. I found the first half of Rogue One very hard to follow, and quite a few of the main characters were jerks (this Saw Gerrera guy for one). However, notwithstanding the problems you pointed out, I actually really like the second half (after they get back from the rainy planet – Eadu or some name like that. I liked the lead-up to the Original Trilogy, and the weakness of the Death Star’s exhaust port is finally given a decent explanation. And the CG Tarkin didn’t really bother me.

      Anyway, as long as we don’t get any more “I don’t like sand” Star Wars, I will be happy enough with the new movies…

    • Will says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this movie, please don’t express your negativity here. Rogue One is a fantastic movie and the plot was perfect. In fact, Rogue One has made A New Hope even better by filling in its plot holes, such as the Death Star’s fatal weakness. How would you know about Imperial Shuttles? You are obviously NOT a TRUE Star Wars fan and I feel bad for you because you don’t understand Star Wars. Wedge Antilles is part of Rogue Squad, that’s true, but Rogue Squad was created after this movie. There was no Rogue Squadron before Rogue One. Bodhi Rook coined the callsign Rogue One. Why can’t AT-STs be used for urban street patrol? Is there something you know that the rest of us, the real Star Wars fans, don’t know? If so please inform us? Because it sure seemed as though that AT-ST secured the market place awfully quickly after the rebels attacked. Who the hell is Crix Madine by the way? That character is not part of Star Wars, period. Not canon, not part of the franchise. By the way the fact that the prologue scroll isn’t there makes the movie better for me. It isn’t a sequel, or episode 3.9 as people call it, it is a war story that depicts the acts of brave rebel soldiers fighting for a worthy cause. There is no need for a prologue scroll because this movie is not part of the main storyline. In my opinion, episode’s 1-6 are the story of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and the balance of the force. Star Wars is essentially his story and Rogue One isn’t about him.

      William White, If you disagree with anything i have said then please respond to this post, I’m more than willing to hear your unbacked and illogical reasoning.

      To all of you Real Star Wars fans out there, Rogue One is a fantastic movie and i highly recommend seeing it.

      • James Prins says:

        Crix Madine is actually part of the franchise – try googling him. He is a rather obscure character though, more just a name given to a background guy.

    • JP says:

      Mr. White….please go back and sit down at your gaming table and get back to focusing on your D & D game while we the rest of us go out and enjoy one heck of a movie…

      • moo says:

        @ Will

        “I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this movie, please don’t express your negativity here.”

        William White has every right to express his opinion on the movie, just as anyone else does. At least he listed in detail his criticisms.

    • Rogan Gunn says:

      Wow very EU fan, much salt!

      Mate i read all those same stories in the 90s and loved them too, but the Expanded Universe is gone. It’s Legends now, and not canon at all, though films like this bring elements from the EU back into canon lore, like the Hammerhead corvette from the west end RPGs, or the Guardians of the Whills reference from Lucas’ original script!

      Yet you are hung up over Krennics shuttle not being a Lambda class! (Clearly the shuttle is influenced by Lukes T15 (?)speeder model in EpIV…) How could you possibly know all Imperial shuttles are the same design? (EU is gone remember) And that U Wings didn’t exist? Well, they didn’t because they are being retconned in as they are new designs for this movie, but as it is a drop ship/gunship not a fighter we’ve never needed to see them before now. You shouldn’t hamstring production designers and directors’ imaginations just to satisfy your salty headcanon.

      And it was Kyle Katarn who stole the plans in EU old canon (which was an inconsistent mess, face it), not Crix Madine, in Dark Forces. The characters of Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors from those games seem to have influenced Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor. The influence of video games is strong in this movie, from the Deathtroopers comm chatter sounding like Combine troops from Half Life 2, to Jyn handing K2SO an SE14-C pistol from Battlefront, to Vader wrecking shop like any game with him in ever… We finally see the behemoth unleashed in all his dark glory, and the panic and terror from the ordinary humans is visceral.

      This film is a love letter to Star Wars lore, and to its dedicated fans, with some compromises from old EU Canon to enable new stories to be told. Plus it’s a damn fine war movie in its own right. New canon keeps the best bits, albeit tweaked slightly, like Thrawn or the Mandalorians. It’s an awesome film with many brave choices made and largely delivered on, and if you choose to be angry about minor tech points like which shuttles are used by one bloke, then nothing will satisfy you. I got angry that Boba Fett is no longer Journeyman Jaster Mereel as in the excellent Tales of the Bounty Hunters, but you know what, it’s not MY story to tell, so if what we understood changes, (Pablo Hidalgo is a safe pair of hands, trust me read his twitter) …you gotta take it as a new story on its own merits, not be angry they changed a point of lore from a technical manual or novel from 20 years ago, otherwise you’ll never be happy and hate the thing you should love.

      After all it’s an addition to enhance the masterpiece of the original trilogy, not a replacement. And it wouldn’t hurt to read Catalyst if you haven’t already, and be willing to let them try new things.

      However, kudos for commenting AFTER watching the movie, not before, like some of the clowns below.

  16. John says:

    Rogue One is the best Star Wars film I’ve seen since Return of the Jedi and captured the feel of the original trilogy better than any of the other previous attempts. I think it is a much better film than The Force Awakens and darker. The new characters were all interesting and unique. The battle sequences and special effects were exceptional. It had new creatures that actually fit in well to that universe. There were many characters from the original 1977 film as well. A large portion of the theatre clapped several times throughout and especially at the shockingly great ending. Had a little bit of the film Melancholia in it which was fascinating for a Star Wars film. Definitely worth seeing.

  17. accorn says:

    As far as I’m concerned, the franchise begins here. Those disastrous prequels never happened, erased from memory. Rogue One was spectacular on so many levels. And, it looked like a real film for a change! Not some digital, video game looking poop fest. Gritty, great costumes and sets, pacing, it’s all there. Loved it!

  18. Paully says:

    Very Good I saw it in IMAX at 9:15AM today..
    Internal plot continuity is certainly Fan Service..

  19. not relevant says:

    “That said, “Rogue One” could fairly be accused of “speciesism,”(sic)”
    maybe the Russians had a hand in this too…

    • James Prins says:

      “speciesism” IKR
      Also:
      Opossumism
      Prequel Trilogyism
      Earthism
      Moronism
      Automobilism
      etc. ad nauseam

      I can understand degrading attitudes toward women or different races (NEITHER OF WHICH occurred in Star Wars Original Trilogy).. but “speciesism”… GT_O

      lol this one really gets under my skin…

  20. bleachorange says:

    This review hits the nail on the head, except maybe in respect to it being confusing. It’s not confusing at all. Its definitely not made for children, though, and I think every star wars fan over the age of 15 will really, really enjoy this film. This is the BEST star wars film since return of the jedi.

    • JP says:

      You mean best film since Empire, right? Jedi had Ewoks, and that crappy tacked on kiddie musical number in Jabba’s Palace. You know like this article said, no kiddie stuff.

  21. JA says:

    Rudy I was born and raised in Pakistan and grew up watching star wars. And this was the first of the new films actually worthy of the name.

  22. Rudy Mario says:

    As much as this foolish reviwer claims, Starwars is not a globally known phenomenon. In rhe white world (US, Europe) it definitely yes.

    Look at the world’s most populous countries (6)

    China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Nigeria

    These 6 make up 70 to 75% of the world poulation. STARWARS has had a late entry in China and last year’s version made just $122M. In India, all the Starwars movies were released and they all flopped. The same is true in the other countries listed above

    By contrast, that old movie – Titanic as well as Avatar were massive hits in all the listed countries.

    Conclusion : Starwars is strictly a white man phenomenon and the suits at Disney know that. Hence the overtures with the Chinese Buddhist monk character described in this review.

    • Maria says:

      I had been a Star Wars fan since I was five-years-old, and I am neither white, male, or in America when I first fell in love with it. Before you spread your hate, know the facts!

    • Lily says:

      what are you on about? The Force Awakens was a smash hit in India, and I know this because that’s where I watched it last year – it was still showing in theatres after a month, and that’s rare for Hollywood films that get a commercial release there.

      I hate to say this, Rudy Mano, but you’re talking a load of cobblers.

    • not relevant says:

      just how Mace Windu was an attempt by Lucas to cash in on black moviegoers

  23. IT--II--IT says:

    STAR WARs, the entire franchise slum, and everyone connected to it,
    are Intel. Indeed, many are INTER–generational Intel.

    KEEP that TRANCE ! – –with your controllers !

    SHMUCKS

  24. Torgo Jones says:

    The genius of Star Wars in ’77 was that it straight-up impressed people — particularly kids. Everything from its technology to the overarching story to the art of its depictions just bull-dozed conventions of the day. That film changed everything. The follow up Empire and Jedi films, took it further and did so very effectively.

    But then it stopped.

    Get yourself somebody like Christopher Nolan or a younger version of James Cameron or Ridley Scott to direct the new SW films — somebody who has got the intellectual horsepower to bring cohesive awesomeness, precedent-setting and originality to the projects. Get screenplay writers with ingenuity off the charts.

    Right now, I don’t see any of that. I see half-hearted, recycled agitprop designed to sell dolls. Disney is, thereby, leaving a lot of money on the table.

  25. Derek Woolfson says:

    ” ..is it merely exploiting its connection to a well-loved and widely known phenomenon…into a less compelling parallel narrative? The answer is neither one nor the other, or a little of both. ”

    This is literally the worst way to answer that question. Might as well say “yes, no, maybe so.”

  26. Cary Hoffson says:

    this story is only in the new hope crawl and not in the movie new hope at all that movie did not care about what was in crawl to put it in the movie to talk about it at any time in the movie and rogue one movie is making up for it with having it has a movie to talk about it and its people who took the death star plans and put their lives on line just has much as they did in new hope movie ending did so why not rogue one in what they did to just like when anyone dies in war movies they have a movie about what they did and died for so should rogue one be told and go in to new hope and finsh the start of new hope for going to long in to the story with ever having the start of the story like rogue one is doing now

  27. Bill B. says:

    Fascinating review makes me quite interested much to my surprise. I gave up on this series quite a while ago. I had next to no interest in The Force Awakens and didn’t see it until it hit Blu-Ray. It was okay, but this one intrigues me.

  28. Gigi says:

    It was a very good movie and very much a rallying cry for the Rebellion. The review is accurate in that it is for adults, and you don’t want to get too attached to some of the main characters.

  29. Sensible Enough says:

    Nothing remotely adult about this, it’s just a stupid toy commercial with no dramatic heft. you know the ending, the characters are badly written and poorly performed. Worst lead in a Star Wars film, Kathleen Kennedy is a bad steward for Star Wars.

  30. LOL says:

    These films are crap. They’re for people that hate cinema.

  31. fuzzman656 says:

    … because an adults have been waiting 40 years for Disney to produce a “proper” sequel. I think I’ll watch Spaceballs again instead. Try not to forget why Star Wars (the original movie – not the entire genre) was so successful. Also try to understand that it wasn’t necessarily such a great script. It was the production values that really carried it. Also, many of the themes in thd movie were borrowed by Lucas. Watch the movie Mosquito Squadron to see George’s inspiration for the Death Star destruction.

  32. Brian says:

    Likening this bit of fiction to the conflict in Syria is obscenely insensitive. The writer should change that sentence or I personally vow to never click on a Variety related link ever again. A reference comparing a real life humanitarian crisis to Star Wars is absurd. To the writer – please star living in the real world and get out of Hollywood.

    • Rex says:

      Man, SHUT UP.

    • Tim James says:

      You’re reacting to something you imagined.

      They didn’t compare it to the Syrian conflict. They compared it to COVERAGE of the Syrian conflict. Huge difference.

      Your ignorance is neither the writer’s nor Variety’s responsibility.

    • Jon Edwards says:

      I agree 100%. The obscenity of what is currently happening in Aleppo is not something to be compared to when reviewing an entertainment. How could this review pass the Variety editor’s desk ?? The reviewer clearly does not live in the real world.

      • LUK says:

        But the American backed attack on Mosul is totally awesome. No civilian deaths. Just storm troopers.

      • Rex says:

        Get off your high horse, PC patrolman. We ALL live in the real world, and we ALL see the crap in Aleppo and every other middle east shithole every day. There’s NOTHING wrong with drawing comparisons to modern warfare in general and using Aleppo (or any other place) as a timely example.

        You PC freaks are DISGUSTING!

  33. dursman2000@yahoo.com says:

    If you get a “thrill” from hearing Michael Giacchino’s music then the expectations are next to nil.

    • bleachorange says:

      I don’t get a thrill from any composer not named john williams. but I can say the guy who did the music for rogue one was pretty good, and haters are gonna hate.

    • ebinrock says:

      Hey, I like Michael Giacchino. With all deep love and respect for him, John Williams can’t live forever.

  34. mjlambert1 says:

    Well, this might be a Star Wars movie I actually pay theater money to see.

  35. NYCS says:

    “The ‘Battlefield Earth’ of the series?!!” Delete your account.

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