Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

by Bushra on December 19, 2016

NOTE: There are NO spoilers for the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Rogue One

Awaiting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to hit theaters was a very different experience than waiting for Star Wars: A Force Awakens. The latter was the first Star Wars film to hit theaters in ages and I was slightly on edge as to whether or not it would be any good. If I didn’t like the characters that the movie introduced TOO BAD because we were going to be stuck with them for the rest of the trilogy. Thankfully, Rey and Finn were awesome characters and I can’t wait to see them in the next films.

I didn’t feel that kind of stress for Rogue One. I mean, I was hoping that it would be good. I knew there was a lot riding on it being good and doing well in the box office because this was the first standalone Star Wars movie and its success (or lack thereof) could pave the way for our expectations for other standalone films. But whatever, it’s just a movie. Life would go on if it was lame, especially since chances were high that we’d never even see any of these characters again.

Even going to see Rogue One didn’t have the same fanfare attached to it in the way that A Force Awakens did. There was no long email thread to coordinate screenings with friends, no taking the day off from work and making sure we got there early enough to stand in line to get good seats, no leaving the house even earlier for the donut run from Donut Savant in Oakland to make sure we all had some sustenance while standing in line.

This time around, I went with my sister and mom. I had bought tickets with reserved seats so we didn’t have to show up too much in advance. The seats themselves were the kind that recline and make you spoiled on the cinema watching experience. There was nothing to it.

Last year, I ended up liking The Force Awakens. I’m sure so many people breathed a sigh of relief when that movie ended, confident in the direction the next set of trilogies was going down.

With Rogue One, I figured it would be good enough but I don’t know these characters. And it’s about stealing plans for the Death Star. Considering that in Episode IV: A New Hope (aka just “Star Wars”), the rebels have the plans, we even already know how this movie ends.

And yet.

Wow.

I didn’t expect to enjoy the movie as much as I did. I was completely enthralled and for the last half hour, I was on the edge of my seat* and my heart was in my throat. And the way it ended… All I’ll say is that it puts a lot in perspective (is that vague enough?).

Folks, I may even have liked this better than A Force Awakens.

The cast was great and I got quite emotionally attached to the characters. I bought it all, their motives, everything about them. There was also a robot I loved**. During a speech that Felicity Jones’s character, Jyn, gave to the rebellion, I even got chills.

By the way, it was very cool to to see such a diverse cast. Otherwise it’s always like people’s minds can wrap around aliens of all shapes and sizes but God forbid there be an Asian in space!

To be honest, I have no idea what it would be like to watch this coming in cold on Star Wars but I would like to think this works as a standalone movie. I do know this though – that if you know anything about Star Wars, then this will be an incredible movie experience.

Further Listening: For a full on spoiler-filled discussion, listen to The MovieFilm Podcast’s episode on Rogue One.

*Figuratively speaking. I was sitting in one of those reclining theater seats after all.
**Was it a betrayal to love a robot in a Star Wars movie that wasn’t C-3PO or R2-D2? I don’t know, my friends, I don’t know.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Irfan Rydhan December 19, 2016 at 11:45 am

I really liked Rogue One as well. It’s probably best Star Wars movie that has come out in past 15 years in my opinion. Way better than the prequels and that Darth Vader Fight at the end was Amazing!

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Kevin Montreuil December 25, 2016 at 10:54 am

Yup, we’ve never seen Darth Vader in action like that!

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Kevin Montreuil December 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

Ok, I have to admit, I watched Star Wars” Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) right after coming home from seeing Rogue One. New Hope picked up the plot of Rogue One in a way that I don’t think I have seen in the franchise before.

There were some other departures (from the franchise) in Rogue One as well. I felt that the film was much more gritty and “realistic” than the other films in the series. More than once, during the film, I thought about what might be in the minds of the kids that were sitting in front of me.

From a story telling perspective, I thought Rogue One was also more emotionally charged than the other films. A more personal glimpse into the perspective of a few characters.

I really enjoyed the IMAX 3D experience, but can’t wait to add the film to my digital collection!

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Anees January 3, 2017 at 8:07 am

Great review Bushra – I finally saw the movie last week during my trip home for the holidays. Though I had been looking forward to watching it with several extended family members who are big fans of the franchise – my Oakland nephew got sick, so his parents and uncle stayed home…so I went with another cousin who wasn’t such a big fan (she only knows R2D2) and she fell asleep early on LOL. Ugh. Don’t worry, I gave her a good elbow to jolt her awake when I noticed (I was too busy being enthralled with the film to notice initially hehe)

But the show was sold out – so we were in the very first row as we got the last few seats booked and what I didn’t know until we got there, our local theater had switched to assigned seating (first time home in 4 months) but they also had changed to those fancy seats that reclined – so it was still comfortable.

But yes, given that we knew where this story fit in to the Star Wars narrative – I didn’t have super duper expectations for the film but similarly, I was pleasantly surprised (though I’m not easily disappointed either) to know everything that went into getting the Death Star plans to the rebel leadership. And yes, I felt connected to Felicity’s and Deigo Luna’s characters. And I don’t think my distant relative Riz Ahmed’s character wasn’t too bad either.

I think I have a greater appreciation for the original trilogy or at least A New Hope after this film. I ended up watching the original films again afterwards – Rogue One, as it put Ep IV in a new light.

Also given Carrie Fisher’s passing, it was extra bittersweet to watch Rogue One and the original films. Some friends of mine were disappointed in Rogue One – that they wanted to see Kylo Ren’s story (obviously, this film is too early in the overall saga) perhaps and one even said she didn’t see the point of the film (!!!). I think that can happen when you expect too much from a film….

Anyways, looking forward to Ep VIII – happy that Carrie had finished shooting her scenes for both VIII and IX from what I heard. I think Disney has done a good job so far – I know die-hards like yourself and others were a bit nervous about them taking over, but I think most fans are pretty happy thus far, right? :)

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Nida Saeed January 15, 2017 at 11:49 am

Yo, there is nothing wrong with loving a robot! He was literally my favorite character in the movie! He was super sarcastic AND I LOVED IT.

And I totally didn’t know much about the Star Wars world either. My friends pushed me into watching the movies, and I ended up getting into it a little more.

Regardless, I really enjoyed your post! And I totally agree with the fact that you liked this better than The Force Awakens, because I did too haha.

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