Rogue One is flying in to theaters this week and I was fortunate enough to see it early. As you can tell from the title this review will be 100% spoiler free but I think the title really says it all. Now This Is Star Wars. If you do not want to know anything even how someone felt during the film then do not keep reading past the cool picture. If you are curious then by all means scroll down!
Going into this film I have to admit that my excitement level was about a 4 out of 10. I was excited for new characters and of course I was all behind Jyn. However, as I saw more trailers and clips I just began to notice that I was not getting as excited as I did about The Force Awakens. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that it felt like a much different Star Wars film from the clips and trailers and I was pretty sure in my head that everyone was going to die. I kind of felt like I did not want to get attached to these characters too soon.
As the film got closer I had told myself I was not going to read Catalyst but since we wanted to do something special for my podcast Star Wars Bookworms I went ahead and read the book. I can honestly say that this book got me more ready for the film than any of the trailers did. I really got to know the characters and the story behind the story if that makes any sense at all. I felt like with the book knowledge I was going to better understand the film when I saw it. If you have not read Rogue One Catalyst yet that is ok you will understand the film just find but I think it will really help add on to the film once you have seen it. So in short read it!
As I went into the movie I knew there would be no opening crawl and to be honest I went in with the mindset similar to what I had for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. My mindset was this is a film in the Star Wars Universe but it is NOT a Star Wars Saga film. I think this is a very important distinction. However, I think most people will be pleasantly surprised with just how much this film IS STAR WARS.
I adore the prequels but at the same time there were points when they felt like they were trying to be Star Wars but not hitting the mark. Even with The Force Awakens there were moments when you could tell how hard it was trying to fit in the Star Wars universe and it almost felt forced (see what I did there). This film however just simply was Star Wars at its most basic core. It has everything in it that we love so much about the Galaxy Far Far Away and yet it did not feel like it was being pretentious and trying to shove it down our throats and save “love me”. It was genuine and full of feeling as well as depth, humor and darkness. It filled me with so many emotions over the course of the entire film that I noticed at times I was sitting on the edge of my seat thinking “wow this is what Star Wars truly is”.
Going into the movie I had yet to form an attachment or excitement for any of the characters. I held myself back because I was unsure of everything really. I found myself loving each and every one of them and at different times. The development of the band of rebels was so ingenious and the way they put them together was so great. I loved getting to learn a little about each one of them that it allowed me to enjoy them all on their own. I think that while this film has been billed as a story with Jyn as the lead and her band of merry men I do not think this was actually true. I think this story was truly a story of everyone and if anything it was Cassian and Her that made the movie what it was. However, I would have to argue that this film would not be what it was had it not been for the rest of the group. If I had to pick a standout for me I could not pick just one. In fact I would have to pick 2, K-2S0 and Chirrut Imwe. These two characters for me were the ones I enjoyed on screen the absolute most.
I was paying heavy attention to the music when I saw it the first time and I think this was because I had just head the clips released by Entertainment Weekly and some interviews with Giacchino. The music was brilliant with so many subtle call backs to the original music of John Williams. The music felt very Star Wars and I could argue that the music truly made the movie in many instances.
I have been slightly critical of Felicity Jones as Jyn on a few podcasts since I saw a clip of her on the Ellen show. I am happy to say that my criticism was misplaced and I would like to say that she did a fantastic job as Jyn and really made me believe the character. I also loved Ben Mendelsohn as Director Orson Krennic I think that he did a magnificent job. I stand by my feelings about Krennic that I stated in our Rogue One Catalyst review on my show Star Wars Bookworms that I do feel slightly bad for the guy. I think all of the actors were well cast and they made the movie even more enjoyable. I will say that the appearance of Saw Gerrera while amazing was also a little puzzling to me. I am going to need some more information at some point about what exactly is happening with him.
I overall loved the film and I am putting this as one of my all time favorite Star Wars movies it has made its way into my top 5 I am not sure exactly where yet but it is up there. I loved the feelings that it gave me and it awakened my childhood love for Star Wars. When I was watching it there were many times where I felt like I was “home” when it came to Star Wars and I don’t recall having that feeling with The Force Awakens. I am not yet ready to say I like it more than Episode 7 but it is just as good as it. I highly recommend you take everyone you know to see it and to go back multiple times. The more times we go to see it the more we show that Star Wars continues to reign supreme. I think you will truly want to go see it over and over again!
May The Force Be With You!