I am not exactly a fan of the star wars franchise, but as a standard sci-fi movie guy, I like the movies the franchise puts out. The last year movie, Force Awakens was essentially a rehash of everything that was good about star wars 4 - 5- 6. It was a neat movie but it wasn't exactly original. With that as the context, I went to rogue one with extremely minimal expectations. Surprise...surprise, this was actually a good star wars story. It also had enough entertainment value to keep my movie companion happy, which means, the movie is doing justice to viewers who are familiar with the franchise, and those that are not. Excellent balancing act.
Although the poster puts the female lead front and center, as she (and her friends) reach their logical ends, I could not help but wonder that she did not do much in the narrative. Sure, she 'rebelled' at the right moment to get some gears and nuts moving, but otherwise, she wasn't exactly the 'female lead' who takes charge kind of impression the movie poster and the trailer seem to give. Fortunately, she did not end up doing stuff with the male lead, so that's something, I suppose.
The story is standard fare. The rebels need to steal some plans, and they form a team, and they succeed to do it at great cost. As many have pointed out, the plot is pretty much the opening crawl which comes at the beginning of the star wars 4, a new hope. Not much of a breakthrough is being done in terms of story. The character development is also pretty simple. What really sells the movie, is how incredibly the look of 'a new hope' is replicated here. I was surprised to see thumb sized buttons in almost every display. I was equally surprised to see old fashioned uniforms. The aliens look not too CGI, but they look alright. The movie has that classic star wars look.
What really carries the weight of the movie is the invisible influence of the emperor and also darth vader. When Vader eventually shows up, he mostly walks and talks and delivers a cool pun. Otherwise, he seems just alright. However, as the movie reaches its end, he just unleashes the full force and just takes care of everybody. That is perhaps the biggest take away of this movie. Also, the movie justifies the 'hole in the center' fun thing about a new hope. Further, it connects directly to the events of episode 4.
The last part about connecting things is what makes me love this movie so much. Since it is connected to the events that follow (and also because all the characters are dead), there will be no sequels to this movie. That's good because, almost every movie these days seems to leave threads hanging so there can be sequels and endless stories. For once, it is nice to see a movie that does not leave unnecessary sequel hooks that give me that feeling that man, I am getting only half the pie for full price. Glad to see a movie that has a clear beginning, middle and end. Thank god that I dont have to suffer through same old characters again and again. Follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram for more updates. Thanks!