Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

December 18, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment

◊ ◊ ◊ ½

I’ve heard that George Lucas had a hard time giving over control of his baby but, now that he has, there appears to be a whole gaggle of directors and writers interested in putting their imprint on the franchise. More and more that’s looking like a good thing. This time it was Gareth Edwards’s turn (he directed the most recent “Godzilla”) to take a go at it by giving us this backstory that takes place just before the first movie, now called “A New Hope.” With all of the jumping around these films have done, a person could be forgiven if they were confused about where any one film fits in the timeline. This one ends moments before the first film starts. Like the most recent film, “The Force Awakens,” this one was a great improvement over the previous three. In fact, I think it is better that “Force,” which I think had some real flaws, not the least of which is how derivative it was (you can see my review here). Edwards seems more interested in reinventing the franchise than Abrams was and has created a tone and pacing that feels quite different from the original. Also, I found myself enjoying these characters more than many of the ones from “Force.” Cassian Andor and K2SO, in particular, were characters I would have loved to see again. This was a more diverse cast than in any previous film in the franchise, with the core team being made up of people who were Mexican, Chinese and Middle Eastern, all led by a woman. The action was fast moving and the dialogue was often fun, with most of the good lines going to the robot. I also want to give a nod to some nifty CGI that brought Grand Moff Tarkin back from the dead. He didn’t quite look as real as the actors around him but he was pretty damn close. Overall, this was a fun way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon.

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