Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Reviews
That being said, we Star Wars fans in our mid-40s who grew up in a Star Wars haze for most of our childhood, would absolutely attend this "Star Wars Story" and give it the right amount of rope with which to hang itself if the concept reached for more than it was capable. The result was not just a very, very strong story, script, acting and pure filmmaking, but this "story" tied into Episode IV better than any other Episode tied into another. I am rating this movie 5 stars because even hours after the film is a memory to me, I cannot find a single flaw. Was it joyless? Absolutely. But so was Episode III, which was similarly a dark time in the storyline. Yet, for all its intended darkness, Episode III suffered from poor script, poor directing and horrendous acting. Lucas rushing the birth of Luke and Leia, introducing the concept of "Force Ghosts" and shoe-horning in the separation of the kids just made Episode III's darkness seem cartoonishly silly. That was not the case in "Rogue One." The drama, script, acting and tone were pure Star Wars, but also a product of very strong filmmaking. I feel for poor Natalie Portman, a tremendous actress stuck in the worst era of Star Wars. I can only imagine she watches "Rogue One" with her face in her palm wondering where it all went wrong. The inclusion of many elements from Episode IV, from the elementary effects of X-Wing flight being mimicked to perfection, to the cameos of the original Red Leader, Gold Leader, a CGI Tarkin and CGI Leia, this was the film Episode VII wished it had been. This movie was essentially a 2+ hour extra addition to Episode IV. And done brilliantly. The bar has been raised significantly for future "Episodes," sure, but what "Rogue One" has really done is set an expectation that all future "Stories" must be done equally as perfect.
Derivative - competent, but wholly unnecessary.