Rogue One

Star Wars: Rogue One

So this is the first movie, set in the Star Wars universe but is not originally part of the original story arc.  This movie takes place just before the events of Star Wars 4: A New Hope (The first one released in 1977).  In the original movie, we find out that the plans for the Death Star were stolen and had fallen into Rebel hands.

It is never explained how the plans came to be stolen.  Well, Rogue One seeks to answer that question. Basic idea is that the daughter of the chief weapons designer for the Empire gets kidnapped back into service of the Empire to get the Death Star back on track.  I guess even in the future cost overruns and schedule slips are still a thing.  Or is it in the past?  Not sure on the timeline for Star Wars, other than long long ago, a galaxy far far away.

Quick and Dirty

The movie starts out with the Death Star’s program manager coming to the planet where the chief engineer has gone into retirement.  The Program Manager seeks to bring the Chief out of retirement to get the schedule back on the critical path.  Turns out the Program Manager is getting pressure from on high to get the Death Star finished.

Durning the return the Empire kills the engineer’s wife and his daughter escapes to a special hiding place.  She is then found by what we assume is a friend of the engineer.  She gets up to no good and we find her in an Imperial prison.

She then gets rescued by the Rebel Alliance and asked to go on a quest to find her father.  I will leave the write up there to not ruin the action.

How I felt about the movie

You could walk into this movie about 30 minutes late and not really miss any major plot points.  The movie takes a long time bringing our heroes together for their quest story.  Not a lot of background is given about who they are or why they care about the rebellion, other than they are more than happy to slaughter Storm Troopers.  I will give this movie a little credit at this point, the Storm Troopers of old could actually shoot and hit their targets, their armor is still useless.

After all the collecting is done our heroes set off to capture the Death Star plans.  Complications and action ensue.

I think the characters were well acted but I had no real reason to care about them.  Other than the typical good versus bad.  Darth Vader shows up, but he was hardly the towering presence he is in the first films.  More of an angry administrator than ruthless Sith Lord.  We really get to see the inner workings of Imperial administration and power struggles.

The writers did do a good job of leaving enough nods to the original movies to keep things interesting.  There is even blue milk.  If you pay enough attention you can pick out a lot of the minor characters that populate the known Star Wars universe.

Visually the scenes look great, there are a lot of X-Wing battle shots that were awesome.  I saw the movie in 3-D and it was worth it for me.  Unfortunately, the sound in the theater was not quite right, so some of the battle scenes weren’t as punchy as they should be.

The score was familiar and good in all the right places and I found myself humming along to those well known Star Wars tunes.

Bottom Line

This is a good movie and it is worth seeing on the big screen for the grandeur of the space battles.  The dialog is well written, but it is bogged down by the slow start of the movie.  This movie won’t stand on its own in Star Wars canon but is enjoyable none the less.  I brought my wife, who has seen the other Star Wars films but is not that invested in it, and she was lost for a large part of the movie.  I have way more background in the story, so I was able to fill in the holes myself a little.

Should you go see this in theaters?  Sure, why not.  Should you wait for it on DVD/Blu-Ray?  Good idea.  This is not the movie event that Force Awakens was, but it is a good way to kill a couple of hours and get a good Star Wars fix.  Rogue One really drops you back into a familiar time and place that you recognize if you have more than a passing interest in the original films.  If anything it is a good way to bridge the gap to the next “real” Star Wars movie, coming out, I think next year.