The most hardcore Star Wars fanboy I grew up with hasn’t seen this yet, so out of respect for my boy I won’t go into full spoiler detail here…
I will say this off the bat: I’m on record as being big on Daisy Ridley, and black actors stick together, I want John Boyega to have all the success in the world. Having said all of that…
Rogue One is the Star Wars movie a lot of us thought we were getting last Christmas. If for no other reason than it’s not a remix of earlier storylines or iconic moments, it’s fantastic.
A New Hope is the foundation that spawned a never ending franchise. The Empire Strikes Back is (possibly) the greatest sequel ever and (still) the best Star Wars movie to many of us, because, as logic would dictate, empires way more often than not dominate and crush anyone who challenges them (which is why they’re empires).
But ‘rebellions are built on hope’ and this worthy prequel to Episode IV delivers. I’m not the first or last film geek to say this but it’s true: a lot of the joy around this movie is being reminded, like with Empire, that it’s reasonable to make a really good genre film that ‘happens to be set’ in the Star Wars sandbox. Word is George Lucas genuinely loved this one, and I believe it. The circle of influence feels complete; in a good way this has traces of Seven Samurai in it.
Lucas also loves the CGI as we know. My nitpick is there. Maybe the generation younger than me will just roll with it as normal, but for me: when a human character appears who I know can’t possibly be there, I get pulled out of the movie. Actually, let me rephrase that: there’s a one scene free pass. When it happened in the already classic final sequence of the movie, I cheered as loud as anyone. When it was integral to the story, and someone kept appearing in scene after scene…it kept reminding me I was watching something that wasn’t real. But like I said, I’m old, so my nieces and nephews will probably care less.
On the whole though, Disney’s bought themselves some goodwill for the stand alone anthology films a lot of us are still cynical about. I wouldn’t be upset if Rogue One got an 8 or 9 seed if there are 10 Best Picture nominees come Oscar time.