Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) (The Best Star Wars Prequel?)

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

“We call it the Death Star”

The latest instalment in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, is due out at the end of this week. So it’s time I took a look back at the last Star Wars film…Rogue One: A Star Wars story! I watched it at the cinema, but didn’t write a review because I found the experience mediocre. A rewatch later and I still have the same feeling as I did before about it. It’s intermittently diverting enough to absorb you into its story. However, I couldn’t shake the bad feeling that I’d seen all of this before. I knew where the film was going and how it was going to end…and nothing distracted me from that. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story felt like a remix of the Star Wars films we’d seen before.

Do I even need to run over the plot for you? We follow a female lead, Jyn Erso, and her roundabout quest to steal plans for the Death Star. Yes, that’s how the Rebel Alliance ended up with them in A New Hope: a group of rebels stole them. But we already knew that, didn’t we? What this film offers is an overly long and a poorly structured story about how the Rebel Alliance captured those plans, and a brief history of what happened between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. Jyn’s father was responsible for creating the Death Star but also for creating the Death Star’s weakness. That’s about the only thing this film offers that is worth knowing.

I’m a rebel. I rebel. Oh wait…she only says that in the trailer!

For the first act of the film we never stand still or get to know the characters. We race through time periods, planets and characters in a chaotic rush to get the plot where it needs to be. I think this is where I lost a little patience with Rogue One. There was no time to leave us with character interactions, instead the plot reigned supreme. And when we did get a little glimpse of the character’s inner feelings, most were unlikable. I never felt any affinity for Jyn, or an urge to root for her. She’s a non-entity. Her possible romantic partner is a knock-off Han Solo type. I suppose the guy who says “I am one with the Force and the force is one with me” was alright, but he’s ingrained in my mind because of that one saying. It says a lot when my favourite character was the droid, K-2S0. But even it felt like a watered down version of HK-47 from Knights of the Old Republic.

“There were a lot of explosions for two people blending in”

Not only were the bland characters a problem, but there were too many in a one-off film! Not only did we have a horde of new characters to see, but a horde of classic characters from the original trilogy as well. For my money, you only needed a few of classic characters. Instead, Darth Vader was given a line like “don’t choke on your aspirations” as he force-choked a guy, R2-D2 and C-3PO randomly turn up for one shot, and Grand Moff Tarkin is brought back to life with horrendous CGI. And while Vader’s manic flurry at the end of the film may look cool, it makes him look weaker for the original trilogy. Why didn’t he break out those flashy moves whilst fighting Obi-Wan? Or his own son?

I’d forgotten Forrest Whittaker was even in this film!

My other major problem with Rogue One was the finale, which felt like most other finale from the Star Wars i.e. a multi-faceted plan to bring down a large space station of sorts. There’s a ground battle, a space battle and a more personal battle involving the central character. It may have looked great, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. That’s actually part of my main gripe with Rogue One: it presents itself like something new, dark and gritty. But it’s all a lie portrayed on screen. The forced cameos and nods to A New Hope make sure we know we’re watching a Star Wars film. It’s yet another Star Wars film about taking down the Death Start. And (SPOILER ALERT) the new characters all die, but I found it hard to care about their deaths due to their blandness.

“We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope”

Why couldn’t the first Star Wars spin-off be placed outside the original/prequel trilogy? Why did it have to be about something we know so well? That’s not going to change anytime soon. We have a Han Solo film next year, and a Obi-Wan film on the slate as well. Okay, there is another trilogy planned that will not be part of the central Skywalker saga…but why not experiment more? Why not embrace the massive galaxy of Star Wars and tell us stories only minutely connected with what we know?

Rogue One is simply alright. It looks great, so you can ignore the film’s flaws and concentrate on the beautiful visuals. But it should look great, shouldn’t it? It had a massive budget! But it clings too closely to the Star Wars film formula. Nothing will surprise you here. That’s partly because it’s a prequel, but partly because it rehashes what we’ve seen plenty of times before. It tries to come across dark and gritty and it’s slightly successful. But it’s more a result of telling than showing. These Star Wars spin-off stories will need to be much more adventurous in future. As for it’s status as a Star Wars prequel…I’d say it is on the same leve as Revenge of the Sith.

VERDICT: 4/10. Rogue One is nothing you haven’t seen before. Not only do you know how it ends, but you know exactly how the plot will occur minutes into the film itself. Rogue One pretends to be edgy and dark, but in reality it’s the same old story.

What did you think of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)? Leave your thoughts/comments below!

Click here for my page of Star Wars reviews!

28 thoughts on “Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) (The Best Star Wars Prequel?)

  1. badparentingweb December 13, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    Okay, without getting into particulars, how did you feel about The Force Awakens? I think Rogue One beat the piss out of Awakens, personally. Both destroy the original three, IMO. I’m kind of a cranky old bastard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews December 13, 2017 / 7:44 pm

      I was caught up in the moment with The Force Awakens, so loved it during my first showing. Subsequent rewatches haven’t been the same…it’s alright, starts off well but just becomes the same story as A New Hope.

      Liked by 1 person

      • badparentingweb December 13, 2017 / 7:51 pm

        I CANNOT believe that they basically made the big conondrum Death Star: Part III. Shit, Lucas already did that in the original series and I even thought that was a lame decision… but doing it AGAIN!? I think Abrams was trying to satisfy old bastards like me and try to make another one of the originals.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hammy Reviews December 13, 2017 / 7:53 pm

          It was lazy storytelling. They were too afraif to do something different, like the prequels, so just gave us more of the same. But we want something different!

          Liked by 1 person

        • paulliverstravels December 13, 2017 / 11:21 pm

          But it is very human of the Empire/First Order to think all they need to win are bigger and bigger versions of the same weapons. The American Army wants better air support for fighting on the ground but the Air Force keeps wanting to make planes faster and faster to fight other fighter planes instead. I wonder if somewhere there is a military industrial complex set up to make big ass weapons like that planet factory invented by Douglass Adams.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelly Konda December 13, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    I’ll disagree with your review on the following spoilery point: Killing off every single hero, the final handful via a nuclear bomb, is not the same ole, same ole nor is it a boring rehash. You didn’t engage with the characters and thus didn’t care when they died, as per your argument, and that’s totally fine. However, I think you give the film too little credit for actually taking the chance to kill everyone. To me, that at least puts Rogue One into Terminator 3 territory where you can criticize the entire film all you want, but you at least have to concede that the ending was surprising and brave, particularly for a movie that was made by Disney and released at Christmas time.

    That being said, I liked the rest of your review. I’d rate Rogue One higher than you, but you make a good case for you why it’s a 4/10 movie for you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hammy Reviews December 13, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      Good comparison with T3! I’ll concede that is was brave to kill everyone off. But that was overshadowed by having Vader slice everyone to pieces!
      It felt as if there was a good film trying to get out, but Disney sanitised it

      Like

      • Kelly Konda December 13, 2017 / 8:42 pm

        The BTS stories on that film are so varied at this point that I honestly don’t know if Disney actually sanitised it or actually forced them to lean harder into the dread at the end. The Vader scene which overshadows everything, for example, apparently came from the re-shoots that Gareth Edwards totally directed only if by “direct” we mean “stood aside and said, ‘Good job directing that scene, Tony Gilroy.'”

        However, the early trailers had plenty of footage which never made it into the movie and has been theorized to depict an alternate ending in which Jyn, Cassian and K-2SO all survive after a battle on the beach. It almost seems like Gareth Edwards was going to spare a couple of the characters and his Disney-approved unofficial co-director pushed it to a darker place.

        Who knows. It all adds up to what you said, though: There is a really good film trying to get out of Rogue One.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hammy Reviews December 13, 2017 / 9:00 pm

          Never thought that it may have been Disney asking for more deaths!
          But it’s a shame that Edwards vision was changed through reshoots. Can only imagine how the Han Solo film will turn out

          Like

          • Kelly Konda December 13, 2017 / 9:15 pm

            At least The Last Jedi was never hounded by BTS production rumors like Force Awakens, Rogue One and now Solo. Nope, that was as drama-free a set as they come, apparently, and now we can just take the movie as is, for better or worse.

            Liked by 1 person

    • badparentingweb December 13, 2017 / 10:50 pm

      It kind of puts Rogue One into Shakespeare territory.

      Liked by 1 person

      • badparentingweb December 13, 2017 / 10:51 pm

        Everyone dying at the end, I meant, Kelly.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. jacobsonbblog December 13, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    How would you rank the Star Wars movies from worst to best? Or is that a future post?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. badparentingweb December 13, 2017 / 10:49 pm

    After a thorough read of your review, you make some truly good points. Jyn never got me on her side and I never cared about her. Way too many rehashed characters with different looks to them. So many that I didn’t know any of their names. Vader does look weak after that one sweet scene. I still enjoyed it, but some of your remarks were really on and thoughtful. Noice!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. paulliverstravels December 13, 2017 / 11:25 pm

    I think Rogue One and Force Awakens were made with a definite eye on comforting Star Wars fans that the franchise was in good hands, but paid more attention to what would win over their loyalty than doing something different. But what the hell, I enjoyed both of them, because I had gone in there hoping they wouldn’t mess up.

    Which reminds me of when I went to see “The Fellowship of the Ring” the first time in a theater. I sat there thinking, “Don’t screw it up, don’t screw it up.” I was so damn relieved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews December 13, 2017 / 11:42 pm

      Let’s hope The Last Jedi gives us something different!

      Like

  6. Reggie's Take December 14, 2017 / 3:58 am

    I find your review interesting even if I don’t agree with your opinions. The Force Awakens, yes has a familiar beat that screams A New Hope and Rogue One tells a story that we know how things would turn out, but I believe both movies were done this way intentionally. I believe Disney wanted their first couple of Star Wars movies to be quote “safe” bets. Was this the right move, maybe not, but those first two movies did put the excitement back into Star Wars, at least in my opinion and helped people forget what we saw with the prequels.

    Should Disney keep playing it safe? No. After hearing and reading some of the early reviews of The Last Jedi it sounds like they are beginning to step out some, although none of us will know for sure until we get to see the movie.

    I’m hoping that after the upcoming “Solo” movie in May (2018) and I wish they would of just titled it Han Solo, that Disney and there choices of story lines as they move forward will begin to push the Star Wars universe in ways that will be exciting and different.

    I’m sure there are people who will disagree with what i just wrote, but that’s my honest thoughts and opinions. I’m a life long Star Wars geek, nerd, super-fan…what ever it is my wife calls me, but at this point Disney still has my full support.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews December 14, 2017 / 7:16 am

      Disney still has my support! And I agree that they wanted to play it safe, to tell the people that the franchise was in good hands. But they’ve had the MCU for nearly 10 years and those films usually play it safe. Can we expect the same for the Star Wars franchise?
      But I am a bit of a hypocrite, as I was less critical of The Force Awakens in spite of its familiarity…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fed December 14, 2017 / 7:01 am

    Ouch! Rogue One is my favourite Star Wars film so this was painful to read XD But you make some interesting points 🙂 I’m sorry you didn’t like it that much. I hope The Last Jedi fulfils your wishes – it’s looking good! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews December 14, 2017 / 7:16 am

      Cheers! I shall be seeing The Last Jedi this weekend…and it does look fantastic!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. John Charet December 20, 2017 / 2:22 am

    I have not seen it yet, but great post anyway 🙂 Of the original trilogy, the best one is The Empire Strikes Back, but to you, that is probably a no-brainer 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always and I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammy Reviews December 20, 2017 / 10:59 am

      Cheers! The Empire Strikes Back is a no-brainer!
      Mrery Christmas and a Happy New Year to you as well

      Like

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