Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, featuring Felicity Jones and Diego Luna

We have finally, just now gotten around to seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars story. I know it seems like the kind of thing we would rush to the theaters to see on the preview night, But it’s the holiday season and I’m not getting paid to do these smarmy reviews so… better late than never?

Rogue One is the prequel we’ve always wanted.

I’m showing my age here but I actually got to watch “Star Wars” during it’s original theatrical release, before the “Episode IV” tag was added to the title. I can tell you that Rogue One is the prequel I’ve been waiting over thirty years to see (counting from 1983’s Return of the Jedi).

What we liked:

Rogue One finally satisfies the long standing plot hole in which an engineering oversight would allow an exhaust port to function as a direct means to destroy the entire Death Star. I can’t tell you how many fan-boy conversations have revolved around this apparent lack in competence by the designers of the battle-station. It is far better to believe a willful and defiant act of sabotage lies hidden in plain sight; an undetected vulnerability engineered to be exploited as a father’s final act of revenge.
It is a war after all

The action and combat scenes are really quite exciting. The skirmish on Jedha is reminiscent of a battle with insurgents in a middle-eastern city while the battle on Scarif feels like it’s straight from a world war II beach head. Rogue One shows us a much grittier and visceral conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire in general, with defectors and extremists making the war feel uncomfortably real.

A few more high points:

Darth Vader Is finally shown to be a terrifying lord of the sith.
CGI Tarkin
A ton of Easter eggs.
CGI Leia
K2S0 really steals the show.

What we weren’t So Happy with:

To be honest there wasn’t much to complain about. There was some choppy editing in the beginning of the film, with some abrupt cuts. It’s jumpy for a while but eventually it does smooth out. And what about that U-Wing fighter? These are new to Rogue One so they don’t appear in the original trilogy. The obvious question then is, where did they all go? Was every single one of them destroyed?
What it could have been.

You might have noticed, if you watched early trailers for Rogue One, that almost none of the scenes used in those trailers appear in the finished film. While that seems to be an ongoing joke in the advertising and promotion of modern movies; In this case the differences are even more glaring – likely due to the extensive re-shoots. I watched a video last night that suggested that up to 40% of the film was retooled.

I don’t have any real complaints about the final product but I am left wondering what kind of movie Rogue One might have been. Hopefully when it’s released on Blu-ray we’ll get deleted scenes and bonus features that explain the changes.

Originally Published 26 December 2016

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