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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Battle, we must.

The first seconds of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are telling. The film opens with that familiar blue title card that lets us know the story takes places “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” but it quickly ditches the familiar iconic crawl of yellow story. Similarly, this Star Wars “standalone” film has nods to the legacy, but isn’t afraid to throw much of the formula out the window.

The result is refreshing, but not epic.

Fans of the original films will remember that “many died to bring us this information” and a team of Rebels stole the plans for the Death Star that revealed its weakness and set the stage for the 1977 film. This film is their story, and (spoiler alert), many die. This film puts the war in “Star Wars” from the first scenes of the film until the final, Invasion of Normandy-inspired battles.

None of the previous films without the presence of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo (Star Wars: Episodes I-III) have worked; a bit of a problem for the expanding franchise. Unfortunately, Rogue One offers no break out characters. Even Jyn (Felicity Jones) is a less-interesting Rey.

To compensate, Rogue throws in some familiar faces for minor roles: Darth Vader, Mon Mothma, AT-ST Walkers, a CGI-resurrected Grand Moff Tarkin — and more — all make stunning appearances. It works.

Rogue One
is not a landmark film, but it’s clearly the best action film of the year. More importantly, it sets up a world of cinematic possibilities for Star Wars’ future. That alone is pretty exciting.

Simply put:
The final storm-the-beach sequence through the final scene is awesome and very satisfying, but none of the characters are. Rogue One sheds the weight, but doesn’t carry it.

Award potential:
A likely nominee in Best Visual Effects and Best Sound and Best Sound Mixing categories, but it won’t be a contender for Best Picture or Best Score (without John Williams).

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.

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