After Disney’s 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm, many fans have been wondering if their favourite franchise would be ruined. The first Anthology film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is far from perfect and falls short if compared to last year’s The Force Awakens.
Disney/Lucasfilm’s ambitious plan for the Star Wars franchise is to release a new Star Wars Saga film (episodes one through seven and beyond, following the Skywalker family) every odd year and an Anthology film (spin-off) every even year. They are also creating an entirely new Canonical Expanded Universe, coordinated by the Lucasfilm Story Group.
In the wake of the tremendous success of last years Saga film, The Force Awakens, Rogue One successfully sets the stage for future Anthology films. Directed by Gareth Edwards, the film was destined to be a game-changer. The story depicts the first few paragraphs of the opening crawl from 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, stating that a battle has taken place and a team of Rebels were able to steal the plans for the Death Star.
Unfortunately, character development seems sidelined with main characters “Jyn Erso” (Felicity Jones) and “Cassian Andor” (Diego Luna), feeling fairly two-dimensional, and side-characters “Chirrut Îmwe” (Donnie Yen) and “Baze Malbus” (Wen Jiang), having almost no back story and so making the movie’s drama fall short. Alan Tudyk’s character “K-2S0” was the most lovable character, although he often contributed too much levity to serious situations.
Rogue One is truly a movie for fans, with lots of nods and references to many elements of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. The special effects were revolutionary and beautiful, most notably the motion-capture/CGI characters. Although Rogue One is far from the best Star Wars film, it might be the best looking one. The film mixes the aesthetics of the Original Trilogy and modern technology, seamlessly blending the visual connection between the Prequel and Original Trilogy. The film generally succeeds in its attempts to dazzle by way of action sequences (if you can stomach the Star Wars “science”).
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is far and away (pun intended) the best heist movie set in the Star Wars Universe, despite these unsavoury elements.