Rogue One : A Star Wars story shouldnt have succeeded in being the best Star Wars movie this generation for a number of reasons. None of the established characters except Darth Vader is in it. Its a sequel to the prequels which are sequels to the original trilogy (Yeah, I know). No big star attached to it – as is norm in the Star Wars movies. And its a story whose ending we knew. But goddamit does it work.
First of all, it puts the Wars back in Star Wars. This is a war movie, make no mistake about it. Its a movie about fighting impossible odds to get the mission done. There is no Jedi magic to save the day. There is no Force to overcome insurmountable odds. This is about human bravery and grit against the Empire. And thats what makes it beautiful. The lush locales in which the final third is shot is such a stark contrast to the devastating war happening around the scenery. And it works to bring out the horrors of war. In my opinion, this is the best shot Star Wars movie of all time. There are some shots in the beginning and the end that are just mind blowing. The movie feels like Saving Private Ryan in the Star Wars universe. Its harrowing. Its not a fun adventure with rogueish handsome captains, princesses and farmboys. This felt real. Like a real war should. I cant stress how beautiful it is though, the space battles are out of this world.
The thing that immediately strikes you when you watch this movie is the scale of things in this movie. How huge these machines of war are is put in direct comparison by the shot composition. You think the Star Destroyers are huge, wait till you watch them in comparison to the Death Star. Its something Star Wars has always done brilliantly.
Say what you will about Disney, they understand scope and epicness. The movie might be a simple point a to z, connect the dots between Episode 3 and New Hope, but the journey is what makes this movie. The movie knows as they say in Hollywood, what it is. And what it is is tonally consistent. There is no drop in the pacing. The humor is not over the top. It’s just damn perfect. K2SO might be my most favorite droid in the galaxy now. Sorry BB8.
The story has its beats and characters and there are some nice character development, but the diverse characters don’t get enough time to be totally fleshed out in this movie. They feel rather one beat. But I guess in the grand scheme of things they had to be. The downside is you don’t really care for these characters or their endings. Jyn and Cassian are characters that could have been played by anybody. Whereas the bromance between Imwe and Baze could be a separate movie on its own, and damn I wish that would happen. The characters felt like, that there should be more to it. And that is my biggest gripe with the movie. Yes, their arcs happen. Yes, there is some development. But overall character growth is not really present and neither should one expect character growth in a story that plays itself out over a matter of days. Fortunately, this is not a character drives story, but plot drives story and that’s fine by me.
Vader is back and he has some badass sequences and hopefully a new quote. There is one Vader scene, that just reminds you why he is the greatest badass to have ever graced the silver screen. This is a darker movie too. Darker than say The Force Awakens. More in the vein of Empire. And that’s a great thing. I was wanting a decent dark Star Wars movie for a while now. And the fact that this movie is a stand alone, gave it a consequence like no other Star Wars movie. This was a one shot. A single story set in the vast Star Wars universe. And Rogue One proves that are a lot of stories left in this universe.
Overall, I loved it more than TFA. It’s not the best Star Wars movie, but its damn close to being one.
Rating – 8/10