Sunday, 18 December 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Finally, I’ve had some time to sit down and write this Rogue One: A Star Wars Story review! In a way I have been a little nervous about this review, I liked the film but I didn’t fall as head over heels for it as other moviegoers seem to have. Read on to find out why. As per usual this review is SPOILER FREE.

Rogue One follows the band of rebel spies who attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star, who we first heard about in the opening crawl for A New Hope. The film stars a whole host of characters, most we haven’t seen before, played by a talented ensemble cast including; Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen. Now it should be noted that even though we have a female character in a central role, this film is still very dude heavy. It’s a diverse cast in terms of race but its lack of diversity in terms of gender still leaves a lot to be desired in this new age of Star Wars films. Don’t get me wrong, everyone in the cast is great, some a little underused, but I really hope Disney push diversity in their Star Wars films further as we go on.

Now onto the film itself. For the most part I really enjoyed it. There are some really great moments and some really badass moments that will make any Star Wars fan squeal with delight. The final act of the film is just pure enjoyment at its finest. However, I do feel like my enjoyment could have been heightened if I was more invested in these characters. Some of them get more time than others to shine but I never really felt for any of them that much, their backstories were summed up as they had all had bad things happen to them because of the Empire. Cool. Is that it? The main character Jyn gets a little more time devoted to her story so there is more of a connection with her, but considering this is very much an ensemble film it would have been nice do dive deeper into some of the other characters.

The story itself though is something that the prequels should have inspired to be. This film adds to A New Hope and makes the story richer because of it. If this is what we’re going to get from these ‘spin off’ films then I am totally in for more. If I had had the time I would have re-watched A New Hope right after this because I feel like my experience might be different because of this film. This is a really good thing.

Another thing I loved was the special effects, apart from the odd CGI character (they’re not awful but you’ll know when you see it), the effects in this film are pretty much flawless. Like The Force Awakens this film finds a fine line between practical and computer enhancement making this one of the best looking Star Wars films yet. Seriously, the Death Star has never looked better.

Now I know I keeping going back to negatives but this is my final gripe with the film; the score. Now I realise this was probably one of the most difficult decisions to make, do you go with a completely new score to differentiate from the episodic films or do you keep using John Williams’s iconic compositions. In the end they decided on going for something that was a bit of both, which for me just didn’t work. The music riffs off of the classic William’s music but changes little elements of it, so just as your humming along it takes a left turn, I couldn’t help but find this really noticeable and annoying, like a fan film trying to use the same music but can’t because of copyright issues, it kept taking me out of the film. I really wish they had just gone for something completely different.

Overall this film is a great time at the cinema, a good edition to the Star Wars lore that will make a lot of fans happy. For me it suffered with some of its character development and gender diversity but I was still won over by its special effects and some of its truly incredible sequences. If the spin offs can only improve from here, then we are in for some really great Star Wars stories in the future. I am giving Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a rating of 3.5/5. I preferred The Force Awakens but we still have a bright and hopeful future ahead for Star Wars films.

What did you think? Best Star Wars film yet or worse than the prequels? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

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