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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the newest inclusion in the Star Wars franchise. However this installment took a really big risk, that being that it is not focused on Jedi or light sabers as previous installments have. This film rather focuses on the soldiers involved in the rebellion. This risk both works as a breath of fresh air but also maybe a step in the wrong direction.
The story follows Jyn Erso, a woman captured by the Empire for illegal activity. She is soon saved by a group of rebels and you learn that she is more important than she had led on. She is actually the daughter of Galen Erso, the man responsible for a new weapon being built for the empire, the Death Star. Now Jyn and the rebellion must find Galen in the hopes of learning a way to destroy this new weapon. Along the way Jyn meets a group of people who all for one reason or another want to stop the empire and join her to do so. While all of this is going on we also get a look at the inner workings of the empire and their plans and goals for the future of the Galaxy.
After the very first Star Wars film came out back in 1977, the fan base has been obsessed with this universe. Countless books have been written telling new stories to the point where this really is a whole galaxy of its own. Then when films became easier to make as a result of equipment becoming increasingly cheaper, these fans have also begun making what are known as fan films, movies made independently that attempt to tell a new story in the universe it’s connected to. Rogue one feels like one of these films but with a much higher budget. As a result this film has a lot of heart but not a lot of substance. While I was watching the film for the most part I was in heaven. It felt like a part of Star Wars that we have never seen, the more rugged war oriented part of it. The battles themselves were so detailed and fun to watch, it really felt like I was on the battlefield with them. Unfortunately the action parts were the only aspect I really enjoyed. The dialogue was very rough and there was not much character development that kept me engaged. Especially Jyn, who after the movie my friend and I tried to describe to others and just couldn’t. Other than the relationship with her father we don’t know anything about her. Another big issue is when this film came out, they described it as a film separate from the the main line of films. As a result I thought anyone could come into this movie and understand everything without needing to see the other films. That is not the case at all, they refer to the other films all the time sometimes only as a slight nod to the fans watching but other times they are big plot points that without seeing the other films will leave someone very confused. To end on a high note, if you or your children are Star Wars fans, this movie is a love letter to you. I have spoken to many who grew up watching the films and say that this is a story that they wanted told.
If you love Star Wars or even just enjoy them a little, you will enjoy Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is not perfect by any means but it is still worth seeing, especially in theatres. Do note though that this is not quite a standalone film and at the very least you will need to have seen Star Wars 3 and 4 to follow the story without problems. Also for parents, this is a more violent film that depicts war and killing, nothing gruesome but it may not be suitable for young children.
I give Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a 3/5