I went into Rogue One with tepid anticipation and here’s why.
The first trailer excited me; I was all in. But then there was an article in the months prior to the film’s release that there was apprehension at Disney over the film being too dark and that they had in turn reshot some scenes to address that concern. The notion of reshoots doesn’t worry me so much, but after the release of that first trailer (which was the only one I had seen), I enjoyed its more dire tone and didn’t want them to meddle with it.
Having seen the film, I can safely say that it is just as dark as I had initially hoped, and I’d go as far to say that Rogue One isn’t a film for the kids, as it’s more about the hopelessness of the Rebellion before this very team stole the Death Star plans at the open of A New Hope.
Since Rogue One is a direct chronological prequel to Episode IV, we all know where the story leads, but that doesn’t take away from the film because as the saying goes: It’s about the journey, not the destination. Rogue One is chock full of memorable characters, and while of their characterization isn’t fleshed out, they’re fun additions to the ever-growing Star Wars Universe.
The standout is actually K-2SO, the reprogrammed Imperial Battle Droid that has the most personality of them all. Wow, when I put it that way, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of them, huh? Anyways, Alan Tudyk’s droid steals the show many times over. But that really doesn’t take away from the great work from the likes of Donnie Yen, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, and Felicity Jones.
I certainly appreciate and applaud the continued use of practical effects and real locations when possible that The Force Awakens and now Rogue One have upheld. It’s a far cry from the Blue Screen Blunders that were the Prequels.
The cinematography was beautiful, and really took the Star Wars franchise to a more dynamic level.
Rogue One won’t win a lot of awards, and it’s not perfect, but it’s a fun deviation from the typical Star Wars fare, and will surprise those fans that wish there was more death in the franchise.
Edit: I will say the music infuriated me, it’s trying so hard to be John William’s score that it almost sounds like it, but then changes a few notes. It felt like a copyright-skirting fan-made film score.
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