3 stars (out of 4)
ROGUE ONE details the events immediately leading up to Star Wars: A New Hope. It explains how the Rebel Alliance managed to procure the plans to the Empire’s Death Star weapon and gives faces to the brave operatives who took on the task.
The plot is not extremely complicated, and there’s no deep message or theme. What we do get is a lot of space warfare and fighting and explosions and death. There is a tiny bit of character development, and also some humour, much of it courtesy of former Imperial droid K-2SO. Basically, it’s an action piece with high production values, good acting, good special effects, and a likeable cast. It is completely consistent with what you would expect from a Star Wars film.
As an unrelated aside, one of the previews at our screening was for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie, starring Baby Groot. Groot was already cute before, right? Oh my god, they’re killing me with this Baby Groot!
3 stars (out of 4)
I actually saw the movie several weeks ago and I was thinking of not reviewing it, since it seems like it will never be a good time to openly discuss this highly-anticipated sequel to the legendary franchise. After some discussion with Bini, however, I started to think it might be possible to say a few things without giving too much away.
The Force Awakens is not the best thing I have seen ever, but the film is respectably good and for the most part, lives up to the hype. There are nice callbacks to previous installments, great action scenes, likeable new (and old) characters. The new little droid, BB-8, scores major points for cuteness.
And there’s even a cameo from The Lord of the Rings.
I have to say, I thought the overall “map” plotline was… a little hard to believe. However, I’m willing to reserve judgement on that, as it is possible future developments might add some context that isn’t apparent now. We’ll see.
There was just one small part that definitely did disappoint, and that was the too-easy shield-disabling scene. The character in question seriously did not think to secretly call for help or set off an alarm? At the very least, she could have done some stalling; it was obvious the people who were threatening her didn’t know the first thing about what she was doing (otherwise, they wouldn’t need her)!
For anyone who is new to Star Wars, it is best to have some familiarity with the original trilogy, Episodes IV, V and VI, (though not necessarily the prequels) before watching this. For established fans, I say: try to keep an open mind. They may not be reinventing the wheel with this film, but it can be a very fun ride nonetheless.