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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a Cash Grab That’s Still Worth Watching

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Screenplay by: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy
Story by: John Knoll, Gary Whitta
Based on Characters by George Lucas
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker
Running time 133 minutes
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action

There is no stinger so feel free to leave when the credits start to roll!

There are few things in this life that are absolute. Death, taxes, and the success of anything Star Wars related (barring of course that awful TV special). Disney being Disney, saw this as an opportunity and cashed in big time. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is the first in a trilogy of standalone films referred to as The Star Wars Anthology, and tells the story of how Princess Leia obtained the critical plans that drove the plot of the original Star Wars movie A New Hope. Subsequent movies in this anthology will focus on a young Han Solo, and quite possibly the origin of Boba Fett.

I want to get one thing straight from the get-go: Rogue One is nothing more than a cash grab by Disney. I mean, yeah, the movie answers some previously unanswered questions, and sure it poses some new ones, but there was absolutely no need for this movie. That being said, Rogue One is pretty entertaining. Like better than the prequels entertaining. Ok, I know that doesn’t say much. How about this: it’s entertaining enough that I recommend seeing it in theaters.

I’m going to start with what’s wrong with this movie and then I’ll move into what redeems it. First off, Rogue One suffers from some serious pacing issues. You can probably blame that on the editing. In the first act alone we jump between at least a half dozen different planets/moons. I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t go off on a rant about gravity, so I won’t. However, I will say that this high pace/low story plot thinly veils poor writing and directing. Would you expect anything less from the director who brought us Godzilla (2014), and the writers that brought us the Jason Bourne series, and The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps?

A great example of the poor writing is that we hear the line “it’s a trap” or some variance of that no fewer than three times in the span of like 20 minutes. We are also subjected to several dialogue references to A New Hope. The writers of this movie really manage to talk down to the audience hoping you won’t notice because you’re too caught up in a nostalgic wet dream.

Ok fan boys and girls, take a puff of your inhaler and calm down. I can feel a disturbance in the force in the way of much hate mail already. I did say this movie is worth seeing in the theaters didn’t I? What makes this comment special is it’s not just because of the special effects, or the practical effects, or the beautiful shooting locations, or the mind numbing nostalgia. It’s because—for once we get a dark Star Wars movie that pushes boundaries, but isn’t overly dramatic soap opera crap like The Revenge of the Sith. I won’t ruin the plot for you too much, but I will say right now that the original story idea (the bones of this movie) was much greater than the fleshed out script itself.

Rogue One also benefited from an amazing cast of actors that shined through the celluloid despite having a mediocre director. Most notably of which was Mads Mikkelsen whom after a disappointing performance in Doctor Strange returns to form as Galen Erso, an engineer enslaved by the Empire. Rising stars Felicity Jones, and Diego Luna also manage to deliver exemplary performances that’ll most certainly cement their status in Hollywood.

If you see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and feel it’s the best movie of the year then film might not be your thing. As condescending as that sounds, it really just means Star Wars is more you thing and there’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s the case, you’re probably not reading this anyway. I repeat though, this movie is worth your money. It’s worth the price of admission, some popcorn, a soda, some junior mints, and probably all that merchandise you’re going to buy regardless. Just don’t expect it to win an Oscar for best picture. Certainly not best director.

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