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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Year : 2016
Country : United-States

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DokBrowne  [ 7.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Let it not be said that this "Star Wars" franchise expansion pack lacks tantalizing marginalia and thrilling new planetary designs, alien races, fortresses, and mechanisms, and all in the organic way that helped burrow the original trilogy into our collective imagination, rather than the equally stuffed yet much more plastic-wrapped video game synthetics of the prequels. Like "The Force Awakens", this next one again captures the true spirit of the franchise, and tries to make like "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" by remixing its arguably too-familiar ingredients into a novelty sub-genre, in this case the war film, specifically the men-on-a-mission adventure.

Aspects of this approach are fruitful, such as muddying up the usual A-B-C simplicity of a "Star Wars" plot, as well as hanging a more fatalistic tone over the proceedings. It automatically earns us a colorful rogues gallery (sorry) of a team made up of very fine actors, too, but that's where a fundamental shortcoming lies: the characters just aren't very interesting, and the machinations of the screenplay remain club-footed and cliche-ridden all the way through. Not to say there aren't hearty laughs and impactful moments, but as diverse and sympathetic as the Rogue One crew certainly is, they're pretty much all two dimensional stereotypes and unlike the main characters in "The Force Awakens", whether it's the actors' fault or the director's or the editor's or the writers' (for the record I attribute a good portion of it to director Gareth Edwards, who very similarly failed to generate much of any human interest from his two previous well-cast, character-centric genre films, "Monsters" and "Godzilla"), the ensemble doesn't bring them to life with the same electricity that we saw last year. Maybe because this is by nature a more dour story? But even somber fiction can elicit specific, stinging performances. They all do what they can here, and again, the movie provides a satisfying ride in plenty of other ways to salvage this flaw, but in the end our heroes (and villains too) are mundane creations going through predictable motions. The story doesn't quite pop with the same flair for dramatic showmanship either, and not for lack of trying. Final showdowns and character fates seem to think they're powerful stuff, but there's hardly any invention inherent to those moments to distract us from how recycled they are. Also, can there be a character in a "Star Wars" movie someday who doesn't have parental trauma?

Regardless, the outgoing impression of this latest "Star Wars" experience is guaranteed to be a cheerful one, as the final act provides nonstop payoffs, epic scope, unexpected gravitas, and kinetic action right up to the final second, kinda like the three-tiered climax of "Return of the Jedi", on overdrive. The rest of the movie has its moments too, but only in this finale does "Rogue One" live up to the standard of grand popcorn movie greatness.

P.S. And look in the end credits, it's Warwick Davis! It feels good to know that he showed up again

Weighted Rating : 6.8
No. Ratings : 1
No. Reviews : 1

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Ranked by Rating
2016 14
2010's 319
All-time 5620

Ranked by No. Ratings
2016 4
2010's 462
All-time 7779

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