Sorry it’s taken a while to get around to this, and it probably won’t be all that detailed for now, but I’ve been a little busy since the midnight showing of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last Wednesday/Thursday I went to last week.
Staying up until 04:30 am didn’t help the rest of the week either, as I’ve felt sleepy ever since and really need a good nights sleep to catch up, but being away from the weekend visiting friends and family before Christmas was more important than sleep!
If you’re a Star Wars fan you won’t need me to tell you to go and watch this film, and if you’re not, me telling you to go and watch this film probably won’t make you, but you really should go and watch this on a big screen as it really is a very good film.
Set just before the very first Star Wars film from 1977, Rogue One tells the story of how the Rebellion got it’s hands on the plans for the first Death Star (yes, I know there have been quite a few in the other films) which was ultimately blown up by Luke Skywalker at the end of A New Hope.
Other than a few cameo and CGI appearances the cast and characters are all new. The style of the film is also quite unique in the Star Wars universe, in that it stands alone, and therefore needs to tell a story from start to finish without any previous or subsequent parts to fall back on.
As someone who watched A New Hope (ANH) back in 1977 at the age of 5 and whose life has definitely been guided a little by the force, it’s hard to review a Star Wars film without comparing to the Original Trilogy (OT), which for me will always be the 3 greatest films of all time.
So some context. I genuinely find it difficult to answer the question ‘which is your favourite Star Wars film?’ as I think it depends on how you consider them. Considering the OT as 3 parts, I think I’m with most fans in saying that The Empire Strikes Back (ESB) is the best part. Without ANH though, ESB wouldn’t really make much sense, and wouldn’t have even happened, so I’m torn between which is actually ‘the best’. I’d probably rank them ESB, ANH and Return of the Jedi (ROTJ) but pick ANH as my favourite if that makes any kind of sense!
I mentioned my <24h trip to NYC in 1999 to watch A Phantom Menace (APM) in an earlier post and might have given away a little about my views on the prequels, but my love for the OT is almost matched in my dislike for the prequels. I get that they were not really made for me, and I’d outgrown the target audience, but I’m sure George was expecting some OT fans to watch the new films too. I felt they lost just about all the magic of the OT and were more like watching someone play a computer game than extending the universe I’d grown to love. I don’t really like any of them, but if I had to rank them would say each got gradually better than the previous one, so Revenge of the Sith (ROTS), then Attack of the Clones (AOTC) and finally TPM, although I don’t really like any of them.
So what about The Force Awakens (TFA)? I went into this with very little expectation, so was pleasantly surprised. Unlike any of the prequels, it actually felt like one of the OT, and not just because of some familiar characters. It felt real, and in some galaxy far, far away, not on some computer screen. Anyway, that’s a different review, but needless to say I liked it and whilst it wouldn’t remove 4,5, or 6 from the top 3, it was much closer to them than it was to 1, 2 or 3 (non-Star Wars fans are now completely lost, if they weren’t already!)
So where does Rogue One fit? I’ve only seen it once, on an IMAX screen in 3D, at 00:05 in the morning so probably not ideal viewing conditions. I’ll be going again over the next couple of weeks, but on first impressions I think it’s better than TFA. I’m coming to the conclusion that they aren’t going to be able to make anything that would change my top 3, and maybe a huge part of that is down to the massive impact they had on a 5, 8 and 11 year old me.
Anyway, I don’t really want to give too much of the film away, and I’m no film critic, but you really should go and watch it yourself. It’s a great film whatever you might think of any of the other Star Wars films, and certainly one of the best films of 2016. The last 30 minutes are spectacular, and then end for any Star Wars fans is about as close to perfect as it possibly could be.
I did get around to seeing it again on a slightly smaller screen and in 2D and still came away thinking it’s a great film, regardless of my love for Star Wars. A few things felt a little strange, with the main one being the soundtrack. We’ve been spoilt in all of the previous films to a stunning John Williams soundtrack, and you might forget how great these are until you see a Star Wars film without one. It wasn’t that the RO soundtrack was bad, just not in the same league as previous ones. I’ll look forward to watching it again on a small screen when it’s released digitally, and may be provide some further thoughts then. I’m still undecided as to where it fits in the overall saga, but at the minute think my Star Wars equation looks a little like this:
4 = 5 > 6 > 7 = 3.5 > 3 > 2 > 1
The force is with me, I am one with the force 😀