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What essential story does this film provide? The canonization of the Death Star being sabotaged from the inside. That's pretty much its only significant contribution to the lore, but the rest is interesting food for thought.
The characters are okay. Jyn is a criminal roped into the Rebel Alliance by her connection to her father, an Imperial scientist who weakens the Death Star. The film's biggest error with Jyn is not showing her upbringing, and I feel that the opening sequence of her family being torn apart as a child might have been better replaced with exposition of said events and Jyn in her criminal days. The demonstrations of her abilities are a clumsy way to explain her past, and, while the story is there, it's much less supported than Rey's skills.
Cassian is okay, but has minimally-supported character motivations. Chirrut and Baze are an interesting pair, but their joining the team feels slightly forced. (Chirrut does have the best joke in the movie, though, which was improvised!) Bodhi is minimal as well, but okay. Saw Gerrera is not hugely important to this film beyond some commentary on war.
The story itself is much darker and more detailed than the conflict between the Empire and Rebels has ever been shown to be, and it's interesting seeing how themes of defectors and extremism factor into the war. If anything, it's Star Wars more than any of the other films, and the Force takes a backseat instead of the war this time around. The film provides some insight into non-Jedi and merely Force-sensitive people's faith, and it's the first time we really see it being treated as a religion for the common people, and one which may or may not actually intervene for the normal members of the population. It adds more depth to the parallels to real religions, and it's interesting to see.
Darth Vader's moments were nice, but mainly just fanservice. I appreciate them getting JEJ back, but his voice hasn't aged well.
Admiral Raddus is a great character despite his smaller role, and I'm glad his legacy lived on for the Resistance.
There is one big highlight to the film, and the one thing I was entirely correct about in my excitement: Alan Tudyk as K-2SO. He's got the role of Chewbacca with a similar personality and nature to C-3PO, and I thought he was a really nicely developed character. He's really funny and he's definitely more equal than any droid has ever been before.
There's a really clever moment involving Jyn's pet name, which I liked.
So, from what I heard, I was hoping for a really good film, but it's not bad even though I didn't fall in love with it. Everything can be argued for, and while I didn't engage as much as I wanted to, it's still a solid setup to Episode IV.
If there is but one facet of Disney\'s post-80s business practices that\'s maintained cast-iron consistency, it\'s milking a franchise until its udders turn into the Emyn Muil... and then continue milking that until their hands chafe to the point of being indistinguishable from a burn victim\'s scrotum.
They\'ll run out of the more sensible—if not wholly necessary—explorations of lore and loose ends a few years into the 2020s. That\'s when we\'ll get stuff like A Very Jar Jar Christmas and Salacious B. Crumb and Crumber.
It\'s a lack of imagination on their part. Its Star Wars! You pick a world, invent some characters and there\'s your story.
I did like the war story tone to Rogue One because it opens them up to cranking more variety out of the Disney treadmill. Maybe we could have a Star Wars romance film one day.
I\'ve warmed to it and changed my review accordingly, but this was about all that really feels valid for an expansion film. Nobody cares who Han Solo was before we met him, and that\'s some really treacherous casting territory. So this film is justifiable if unnecessary, but Solo had better have a perfect new Han, because smuggling adventures will only be fun if the character is done just right. Hopefully Harrison will have input. Afterward, I don\'t think there is any prestablished material to expand from, and I doubt they\'d take risks by drawing from anything but the original trilogy.
I mean, no film has to exist. Yes, there are sequels that continue the story, but A New Hope could have existed on its own, and while I enjoy the Sequel Trilogy, it has hardly \"required\".
So I ask you, if we\'re talking purely about side-story films set in the Star Wars universe...what would be one that\'s \"necessary\"?
I think necessity is determined by creator vision. There's a difference between making more films because the creator feels the story is genuinely incomplete or that it is leading toward a more fulfilled vision, and a creator churning out films to satisfy the audience's appetite and make more money. It's better to leave your audience hungry for more, which boosts sales on the next installment when you have a captive fanbase eager to see a new film after a two-year wait. The Force Awakens smashed records because it was a promising new film in the series after several years, and the shorter gap is part of why neither of the following Disney-era movies topped it.
Rogue One falls under the cash-grab motive for me, and I won't deny any opinions that the sequel trilogy is the same. I just feel like the anthology films, by definition, are nonessential to the story and are merely there to keep Star Wars in everyone's minds despite the fact that it already has been for decades. Disney gets cash, and any anthology film or post-Episode IX entry is going to feel a bit shallow to me, no matter how good it is. Disney, if they make many more anthology films, might be stretching it fairly early.
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