Halloween 2012, you all may fondly remember it. In the film industry, this was also a very memorable date. This was when Disney bought LucasFilm for $4.05 billion (£2.5 bln) from George Lucas himself, which means Disney had the right to make future Star Wars films. Lucas himself said “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of film-makers.” They promised us a 7th ‘episode’ and they delivered. Big style. What we didn’t realise at the time was that we would be getting a new SW instalment each year, but not necessarily in way we thought. Released December 2016 is the first ‘Anthology’ movie entitled Rogue One. Yet, you all know this. Were we too welcoming of the Disney take on SW, as we were with the Marvel universe? Or will they deliver the same standard as Force Awakens and wipe all memory of the Lucas- centric prequels?
It’s no secret this film is a prequel. Episode III 3/4 if you will. Five years after the Rebels series and just before Episode IV (the original Star Wars). Almost a spin-off in the fact there isn’t any of SW’s previous main characters playing a major role in this story. It’s no spoiler that Darth Vader appears in this film and you can predict the random cameos. Other than that this may as well be a whole new story-line.
Rogue One introduces us to Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), daughter of absconded Imperial scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelson), who is forced to work for Vader and the Emperor again (who we don’t actually see in this film for some reason) to design the Death Star.Skipping 13 years a defected Imperial pilot named Bodhi Rook gets a hologram to Jyn herself. This message is about that fatal flaw in the Death Star’s structure. So what does Jyn want the Rebel alliance to do? Yep.
Rogue One is directed by Gareth Edwards. This is his third feature, his second being the reboot of Godzilla in 2014. Which wasn’t a barrel of laughs at it’s best. For some Godzilla was the slow-burner kaiju movie a lot of fans wanted, but everyone else found it a forgettable disappointment. Sadly I feel the same about Rogue One.For a SW film this was incredibly slow-paced, the characters dull and barely likeable, and the story-line very minor in the SW timeline. As a SW fan I feel we could have done without this film.
The movie takes a ‘darker tone’ which has benefited other franchises in film such as Batman, and to a certain extent Star Trek. We even feel a sense of this in The Force Awakens. Even so, I feel this hinders the experience and distracts from the fact this is a Star Wars story. This also doesn’t gel with the sub-par CGI human characters. I understand CGI aliens, but making actors look younger and resurrecting deceased actors is very jarring in a film we are supposed to be taking so seriously. This has been done pretty well before in the Terminator series, but this film sometimes felt like footage of an Xbox 360 game.
On the positive side the lovable droid character, K2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk), is a great presence on screen and is very witty at times and much more charismatic than the human characters. Something I couldn’t say about Episode VII. Also the scenes that do actually feature Darth Vader are the best, he is back to his villain self compared to ‘Mannequin Skywalker’ in other prequels. Yet he does the unthinkable – cracks a joke. Unfortunately that’s the best i can say about this film.
This film underwent numerous re-shoots and rewrites, and boy it shows. Well done DC Extended Universe – you are no longer the most disappointing film franchise of 2016.