Rebels line a corridor, blasters at the ready. A door begins to spark around the edges, and the door burst open. As green and red lasers fly through the corridor, a menacing figure walks in with a black robe and intimidating mask. Darth Vader and his storm troopers storm the Tantive IV; a corvette class ship that carries a valuable stolen asset - to retrieve a stolen artifact that belongs to the Empire. Princess Leia slips the information to a R2-D2 droid, and the rest is history. Many fans of the original trilogy have been confused as to what the preceding story of Star Wars was and fans demanded an explanation. This is where Rogue One comes into play, as it sets the scene for a prequel of A New Hope to fill the void of the missing story.
Today, I will share my opinions on the newly released Rogue One and see how it matched up to previous movies and if it satisfied the need. First of all, be warned some spoilers ahead! The story begins with an individual known as Galen Erso, and his wife and daughter who is known as Jyn Erso. Erso goes into hiding after an Imperial commander is sent to retrieve Galen. Galen is a research scientist who is eventually forcibly re-recruited to finish the designs of the first Death Star. Jyn is eventually found by rebels so they can use her to track Galen and kill him to prevent the Death Star from being finished. Information about the Death Star is smuggled by a defected Imperial pilot who has a message from Galen to send to the Rebels. Eventually, Jyn leads an attack on an Imperial station that holds plans for the Death Star so the Rebel Alliance can find a way to destroy it.
Overall the story was pleasing and had lots of moments that explained much of what happened leading right up until A New Hope. The story did have some lapses in terms of who characters were and had quick jumps in between planets and events which made it hard to understand what exactly was going on. Character development was severely lacking. The main characters had barely any backstory which did not allow the audience to relate to the characters or feel any emotion for them. Many side characters were also fan-based characters from other books and fan-made miniseries' which severely limited the audience who actually knew who was who. The screenplay felt original and had hints of the older Star Wars movies with obvious sarcasm and humorous one-liners. Nowhere in the screenplay did it feel forced. Everything was smooth and felt very natural and realistic.
In terms of camera angles and style, it did feel a little more "modern" and "adventurous" in that it felt certain angles felt very odd in the Star Wars universe. In older movies during conversations, there are long-shots mixed with close-ups, while in Rogue One they were primarily close-ups. To me it felt out of place, but it's not a huge deal in my opinion. Action scenes felt like they had lots of influence from the original movies in terms of style and execution. This made the film feel much more relatable to the universe, large Imperial machines versus small Rebel infantry. One of the biggest things that I am happy about is how Rogue One ended. I won't spoil any information about the ending, but I will tell you that it ended literally where A New Hope started. It felt perfectly overlapped and gave information right until Episode IV started. The transition will help viewers understand what happened and why, and provide a better insight to the missing void of information before A New Hope.
The movie takes on more of a war movie feel than either action or politics. There are some gut-wrenching moments and sad scenes, but it is to be expected. The genre may stand out from the rest of the movies, but it still feels like Star Wars.
Overall there really isn't much to say except that the film was a great way to portray information that was missing, but watching the film is unnecessary unless you really want to know what happened before Episode IV. There are lots of references to the events that precede it and unless you know what happens next, you will be lost. I still think it was a great film, it was just lacking heavily in a few key areas to make it a huge stand-out film.