Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Out Now On-Demand

A rebellion built on hope.

Disney and Lucasfilm's first standalone Star Wars film (that is, not part of the episodes 1 through 7 storyline). Takes place before the events of A New Hope, and tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) and starring Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen and Ben Mendelsohn. 

Says producer Kathleen Kennedy: "Rogue One... will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe. It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know."

For many Star Wars fans just the mention of the word ‘prequel’ is enough to send them running in the opposite direction. For this reason, it was wise to not describe Rogue One (the first standalone ‘Star Wars story’) as such, but unfortunately this rugged women/men-on-a-mission war pic is not nearly enough of its own, distinctive, beast. Instead, it’s riddled with callbacks and overt references from its predecessors - lines of dialogue, recreated shots, and, most annoyingly, too many characters cameo-ing, some resurrected from the grave or the past with very good, but still lifeless, uncanny valley CGI.

Yes, The Force Awakens was a huge exercise in repetition, but in service of specific purposes - conjuring emotive nostalgia and putting audiences young and old all on the same page for upcoming sequels. In contrast, Rogue One seems to feel the need to incessantly remind us we are watching a Star Wars movie with constant references often falling flat or worse, getting unintended laughs. Sometimes, they’re deliberately played as gags, some of which are knowingly meta in nature, this winking at the audience something that rubbed me up the wrong way, as does a tone that sometimes skews towards deliberately (and therefore unsuccessfully) camp.

That these moments rear their heads once every few minutes is a colossal bummer as it distracts from the many excellent aspects of the film - the impact of its opening and closing sequences, the spectacular battles of its third act, and Star Wars’ latest great droid, K-2SO, who’s one part C3-PO, one part The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy’s Marvin, the Paranoid Android.

Elsewhere you’ll find Ben Mendelsohn villain-ing up a storm in a role he was born to play, and Donnie Yen’s mystical calm enlivening many a fight scene. Sadly, that Felicity Jones isn’t a standout as Rogue One's lead - though she’s convincing and competent - speaks to how more effort seems to have been spent on fan service than character development or really getting stuck in to telling the tragic story of a new band of brothers and sisters that I was hoping for.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

This is a gorgeous and immersive film.

New York Times

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All the pieces are there ... like Lego figures in a box. The problem is that the filmmakers haven't really bothered to think of anything very interesting to do with them.

Los Angeles Times

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A swiftly paced, rough-and-ready entertainment that, in anticipating the canonical events of "A New Hope," manages the tricky feat of seeming at once casually diverting and hugely consequential.

Empire (UK)

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The ultimate Star Wars fan film, it's short on whimsy but when it gets going there's enough risk-taking and spectacle to bode well for future standalones.

Variety (USA)

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For the original generation of "Star Wars" fans who weren't sure what to make of episodes one, two, and three, "Rogue One" is the prequel they've always wanted.

Total Film (UK)

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Rogue One might trade heavily in nostalgia but it's bold enough to take risks, and will leave you stirred, fired up and raring for more.

Guardian (UK)

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Its variations on a theme are muscular and adroit. This is another really entertaining fantasy with fan-fiction energy and attack.

Time Out (New York)

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A punchy standalone action tale about a spunky Rebel Alliance resistance group.

Hollywood Reporter

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Loaded with more battle action than any of its seven predecessors, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story plays like a set-up for the events in the 1977 original and, for the most part, does so quite entertainingly.

Stuff.co.nz (Sarah Watt)

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C3PO predecessor K2SO provides the comic relief in an otherwise dull and cloudy script...

RadioNZ (Dan Slevin)

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Where Rogue One falls down is in the character development. There isn’t much...

Rogue One: A complete and utter emotionless rehash of all other Star Wars films before it

I definitely enjoyed journeying back into the Star Wars universe but honestly didn't like all the cameos and familiar plot devices they tried to jam into it, it just didn't feel like its own film. Some of the new characters were pretty cool but everything was so rushed that I didn't even care about any of them, and none of them stood out like Luke, Leia, and Han did. To be honest, I probably felt more of a connection to Jar-Jar Binks than I did to Jyn Erso, and that's saying something.


Sensational.

Entertaining, dark and heartfelt.

Crone

Crone

user


Good Laugh

This movie fits well into the Star Wars Saga,s Lots of great one liners and answer some of the questions from the original series,If you are par-time star wars fan worth seeing the movie to get the back-round straight.

Hugo-Burns

Hugo

user


Lacks character and charisma

While technically impressive and I really mean impressive, Rogue One really falls short in its characters and the development of those characters. I was actually kind of shocked at the amount of neglect towards the characters motivations and back stories and in the end, you really just don't give a damn. My favourite parts of the film are the ending which I thought was ballsy, and one really really amazing bad ass scene that if you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm referring to. Rogue One was incredibly disappointing and lowers my expectations for the next Star Wars anthology films.


Rogue One is a great refreshing take on a Star Wars story.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla). It stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker and more.

Rogue One is a straight Prequel to Star Wars: A New Hope which tells the story of a group of rebels who attempts to steal the plans for The Death Star.

With the huge success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Rogue One has huge footsteps to follow. Glad to say, Rogue One, not only managed to fill those footsteps but it also brought a refreshing way of story telling within the Star Wars movie universe.

With a much serious tone and a grittier look, Rogue One emphasizes on the ‘Wars’ in Star Wars. For this movie however, the dark and serious tone worked wonders. Your major characters are taken more seriously and whenever they are in peril you feel for them. Strip away the blasters, storm-troppers and the spaceships. This is a war movie to it’s core. People are afraid, desperate and anxious and this movie captures that perfectly. You see the empire as an intimidating and terrifying force (pun intended).

The movie has a great diverse international cast ranging from Riz Ahmed to Donnie Yen and Diego Luna all of which are good in the film. One character that stood out is K2-SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk. Unlike the C3POs, BB8s and R2D2s, K2-SO gave a whole new meaning to the sidekick robot, with a very nonchalant personality. This provides a much needed humour to alleviate the serious tone of the movie giving it a decent balance of the two.

Although the movie can be praised for having a diverse cast, unfortunately there’s not a lot of depth within the supporting characters. Apart from Felicity Jones and Diego Luna, most of your side characters are one-dimensional. The lack of camaraderie from the ragtag group of characters can be felt and you feel that there is no strong connection among them.

Another complaint is Forest Whitaker’s character, though as great of an actor as he is, he didn’t do too well in this movie and played a character in an over the top manner, from his accent to hi appearance, his character did not mesh well to the more down to earth characters in the movie.

Overall Star Wars: Rogue One is a great refreshing take on a Star Wars story. The serious and dark tone of the movie worked incredibly well and the characters are great. Though there are scenes filled with expositions and character speeches, each act had their own moments. Especially the third act of the movie which is extremely exciting as well as must see Darth Vader scene. Rogue One is easily one of the better Star Wars movies and it’s highly recommended.


Unexpected

A darker, grittier tone is a nice change from the usual proceedings of a Star Wars movie. Despite the under-developed characters, the story is compelling and probably more original and a better watch in general than The Force Awakens. Donnie Yen is especially great in this and is the pick of the cast.


"Rogue" in name only...

You might normally expect a science-fiction thriller to prioritise things like engaging characters and a propulsive plot, but Rogue One has other things on its mind. Why bother with boring narrative essentials like plot and character when you’ve got the Death Star-sized bulk of the entire Star Wars franchise to lean against? Surely it’s impossible to topple over when you’ve got that lot propping you up, right? Right?

I could go on at length about how this movie seems hell-bent on sabotaging itself, but I’m going to confine myself to its most egregious mistake, one which serves to illustrate the film’s worst tendencies towards self-harm. A little background first. Earlier this year, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters remake copped a lot of flack for its callbacks to the much-loved 1984 original. Though I liked Feig’s film, I agreed that the self-referencing was overdone, generally distracting and, at its worst, actively harmful. Holy moly. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have waved through every single one of Feig’s crass callbacks without complaint (well, maybe not the Aykroyd cameo…). Rogue One’s self-referencing not only tops Ghostbusters in terms of volume and general pointlessness, but actually goes beyond smugness and into the realms of the ethically challenged.

Let me explain. As will no doubt soon be common knowledge across the interwebs, Rogue One features CGI recreations of two instantly recogniseable characters from the original 1977 Star Wars, one of whom was played by a much-loved and now deceased actor (this character gets way more screen-time than the other). Over at IndieWire critic David Ehrlich described this digital ghoul as “unnatural, unethical, and borderline unholy”, and, to be frank, its hard to disagree with him. It was almost upsetting to see this cadaverous facsimile strutting across the screen before me – the genuine walking dead– and the thought of this actor’s likeness being strip-mined and soullessly re-animated without his consent by a corporate behemoth actually made me feel a little nauseous – you almost expect to see the Disney logo stamped across his pasty forehead.

One has to ask, why go to all this effort for such a patently self-defeating objective? Last year The Force Awakens gave us a charming and vivid cast of new characters, and for all its faults, it felt like it was adding something new and alive to the Star Wars universe. The makers of Rogue One, by contrast, rarely seem to feel the need to do anything other than pilfer from the past and fill in the gaps in fairly slip-shod fashion. Why create your own characters when you can feed cynically off the past instead, with a few re-casts and a bit of computer-assisted grave-robbing? Why give us something alive and new when you can just disinter the old, wrap it in cling-film and shove it on-stage for a few hoots of recognition? Are a handful of cheap hollers from the Star Wars faithful really the extent of this film’s ambition? (In all honesty, Rogue One made me appreciate the much-criticised Marvel Cinematic Universe all the more – despite the ungainly shape it’s currently taking on, its gags mostly feel character-based and organic, and its cross-referencing, while often clumsy, never feels quite this determinedly desperate.)

This review is coming off a lot harsher than I originally intended, but the more I think about it the more Rogue One’s approach bothers me. I’ve got nothing against big-budget mass entertainments created by large corporations, and, in fact, there are many that I love – the recent Star Trek films managed to successfully breathe life into old characters while paying plenty of lip-service to the series’ history, but those films always felt energetic, focused and alive. By comparison, Rogue One feels desperately, painfully uninvolving, and dispiritingly bereft of point or purpose. Ultimately it’s less a film and more a perpetual-motion, fan-service delivery device that, at its worst, made me question whether anything worthwhile will ever be extruded by Disney/Lucasfilm juggernaut now that J.J. Abrams has moved on. I can barely bring myself to say it, but (gulp) maybe the uncoupling of George Lucas from the Star Wars universe has its own “dark side”…