2016 | 2 hours 13 minutes | Dir. Gareth Edwards | Disney
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits your Star Wars fix without any of the original characters. Jyn Erso, this year’s Rey (kind of) wants nothing to do with the rebellion- until they kidnap her. Jyn abruptly reunites with her father so he can tell her the secret to bringing down the Empire’s most terrifying weapon: The Death Star.
Rogue One had all original characters, but it felt like the least original Star Wars movie. Rogue One used almost the exact same plot as the movie Man from U.N.C.L.E.: good guys kidnap scrappy heroine and use her to contact estranged father, who has been forced to work for the bad guys. Interesting characters like the Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera and maybe- Jedi blind guy get snubbed in favor of action- packed battle scenes. Those of us who love character development better look towards Star Wars: Rebels. I guess you can tell from the promos: Rogue One is war movie.
I usually don’t feel like this at the movies, but I felt like I was watching a video game. The filmmakers replaced story with long, relentless battles. Even the character’s costumes look gamey: bulky tanks, slender monks with sticks. I know storm troopers are bad guys and all, but they’re still human, and this movie mowed them down like ants. In one particularly disturbing scene, Darth Vader slays dozens of Rebels. You know they one made that scene for the Vader nerds. I left feeling like I’d watched massacre, not a movie. All to get a disc. A DISC. They destroy the ACTUAL Death Star with less violence.
The producers championed diversity, and they deliver. Asians, blacks, women, Middle Easterners, and Hispanics all have hero roles. The film has some white men. They all play Nazis (Imperialists).
The best addition came in K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial droid. He’s a mashup of Marvin the Paranoid Android and the probability- calculating supercomputer from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Gotta love sidekicks.
I guess The Force Awakens over- elevated my Star Wars standards. Rogue One fell in the tepid pile of action with those other pew- pew happy superhero movies. Rogue One suggests Star Wars cares more about its franchise than its source material. For me, Rogue One lights the path to Star Wars burnout.