Both Harry Potter and Star Wars go down in film history this year as making some of the boldest moves regarding franchise growth.
The former released a prequel set 65 years before the events of its parent franchise, featuring not a single familiar character and bolstered with little more than sharing a title with a book that even those who consider themselves fans may not have read.
The latter, having just released a sequel to a 32 year old movie, is back at it this year with a movie that is a prequel to the originals while serving as sequel to a more recent trilogy… which in itself was a prequel to a 39 year old movie.
But, dayum, do these movies work out!
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story holds no secrets. Their mission to retrieve the Death Star plans and deliver them to the Rebel Alliance is obviously a success given the events of the original Star Wars, but the true gem here is the roads taken on the journey of rebellion.
In many ways, Rogue One is less like a Star Wars movie and more like a war movie that happens to be set in a familiar universe. And it is this that makes the film such a great experience—a fresh look that keeps you interested despite knowing that which is inevitable.
Despite rumours of heavy reshoots and so on (seriously, this happens for all big movies, let’s all get over it, shall we?), the movie clearly doesn’t suffer from any displacement of story and the flow is well maintained. While it certainly feels that some characters could be given more to do, at a 138 minutes it is sufficiently long enough with a lot of that time spent (rightfully so) on allowing the audience to appreciate the setting of the action sequences—most of it shot on location.
While the script does have its slightly jarring moments, most of it could be attributed to the movie’s efforts in diversifying its cast, extending to including actors whose first languages aren’t English—which, really, is a great thing ‘cause it is a constant reminder of how the rebellion consists of people from all walks of life (even though the core team could have really used some actual aliens).
All else aside, director Gareth Edwards truly takes the MVP medal for this one with obvious thought given to detail and continuity—not just within the movie, but with the overall Star Wars franchise, boasting links to Episode IV that are truly impressive.
With the success of Rogue One, the Star Wars Story brand earns its place high on the list of Star Wars spin-offs.
Here’s to hoping for an Obi-Wan movie… or three.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story releases in all theatres on the December 14!