SPOILER-FREE review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (or Star Wars: Rogue One or Star Wars: Episode 3.9 as some people on the Internet want to call it ) is the 8th installment in our favorite sci-fi franchise and tells the story of how the Death Star plans end up on princess Leia's hands. It is directed by Gareth Edwards and I am happy to tell you that he knows well how to direct action and drama and this film has a lot of these elements, all well-made(almost). If you haven't watched the movie yet then let me confirm that Rogue One is as good as everybody says. If you are a sci-fi/action fan, it is totally worth your time even if you have never watched a Star Wars movie before (wow, where have you been all this time?); the movie explains everything you need to know. Also, I am really sorry, but this will be a spoiler-filled review, because there are so many things I feel the need to discuss.
SPOILER review: As you read above I consider it an important movie for the franchise. That's due to all those things that Rogue One, in my opinion, adds to the Star Wars mythos. First and foremost is the correction of the "A New Hope" plot hole: why cinema's most memorable weapon of mass destruction has such a serious weakness? Episode 3.9 answers that it was a conspiracy! And we couldn't be more thankful. I mean, A New Hope is even better now because of another film. Apart from this, there is something that I really appreciate about Gareth Edwards' direction and unfortunately not enough people point it out. After so many years of discussion about Star Wars and after so many times we have watched each episode (and we'll keep re-watching), we've forgot the awe Darth Vader and the Empire inspired back then. Now, after all these years I feel again intimidated. And how does he manage this? It's all about some details in the cinematography and the plot that emphasize on how the whole rebel army views the battle and not only our protagonist. I am talking about moments like: an impressing shot of Death Star in space showing us its size, Death Star hides the sun before it destroys Jeda, AT-AT walkers appear from inside the fog and everyone runs for his life, while they are shown from the rebel's point of view for us to comprehend their size compared to humans, Darth Vader force-chokes another person (Krennic). And of course, the most intimidating, violent, intense scene of Darth Vader we've ever had, a scene that comes out of nowhere, because you think he is going to find Leia's ship, but suddenly you hear him breathing in the dark hall...then his light-saber shines red and an epic massacre follows(I didn't say the best scene, I said the most intense). It is directed just perfectly. It doesn't get better than this or at least much better. However, it is not only the Empire we get to know better. We also see a different side of the rebellion. A side, where possible enemies are tortured to prove their innocence and its members argue with each other and the best decision is not immediately taken. Some other smaller additions/changes are the fact that the name of the planet our heroes are approaching is shown on screen to remind us that this is a large world and the fact that the movie doesn't begin with the classic exposition text (which I think respects the original trilogy, the prequels and the sequels by saying "this is not exactly a Star Wars Episode"). Of course, this is not a perfect movie and the main complaint is about the characters. By the way, I have no complaints about Darth Vader's limited screen time, because I expected that (Edwards did it with Godzilla as well) and this was not really a movie about him. While all characters are likable, badass and with a good sense of humor, we still don't really understand or feel their motives; we hardly get to know some of them, actually. Because of this, we can't get 100% invested in the action scenes. Jyn is the only one we really get to know, but her relationship with Cassian isn't explored enough. That's why their death brought no tears in my eyes. Another weakness is surprisingly the music score (Later, I learned Michael Giacchino was given only a month to compose, so I respect his attempt); Furthermore, one could say the first act is kind of slow-paced, but it doesn't really bother me. I think it is needed to set up the story. I almost forgot to talk about the CGI: perfect, beautiful, well- combined with practical effects. My only complaint is about Leia's CGI face (not too bad-It was just the most obvious CGI element among perfect CGI elements). Tarkin's was OK I think. All space scenes are incredible, including the space battle-one of the best we've ever seen.
All in all, I really liked Rogue One. Its existence is a blessing for Lucas' universe and I am looking forward to the next "not official" Star Wars episode. 8/10 (almost 9/10)
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