'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" adds depth, context to the Star Wars universe
Posted December 20, 2016
FAR FAR AWAY — For the last two years, I have been marking time by when a new Star Wars movie is released.
As soon as a new Star Wars film with a December release is announced, I tend to base my yearly progress to that date. For instance, as I was filling out the date portion of an unfortunate check I was writing on tax day of this year, I was surprised that we were already four months into the "Rogue One" year.
The day before my birthday as I pondered my life choices, I lamented that I still had four whole months until "Rogue One" came out. This year was special because Star Wars came early for me. I got to see the movie Wednesday night at a screening and now I am trying to write this review without giving anything away.
I feel like the kid who peeked at all of the Christmas presents, but can’t tell his siblings what they are going to get. I’m not the brother who is going to ruin your Christmas and tell you early what santa is bringing, but I am the brother who is going to tell you the reasons why you should be excited to open your Star Wars gift this year.
You're going to love the story
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" answers the second biggest Star Wars question of all time: “Why would the Empire design their ultimate weapon with a 3-meter wide fatal flaw that any kid from the rebel alliance could take advantage of?”
"Rogue One" finally answers this question, putting to rest the matter once and for all. It tells the story of the events that take place right before the beginning of "Star Wars episode IV, A New Hope." The brilliance of the "Rogue One" story is that this entire movie is based upon the single line, “Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the empire’s ultimate weapon” from the iconic opening Star Wars screen crawl from nearly 40 years earlier. I think the only other question asked more often was “who shot first”?
Though it wasn’t obvious to me at first, "Rogue One" had a very retro vibe to it which makes sense because it takes place right before the events of episode IV. I began to realize this as I noticed small things like hair styles and the fact that many of the men were rocking that sweet '70s moustache.
As it dawned on me what the filmmakers were doing, I started to notice things all throughout the movie that were clearly intentional in putting the movie in its chronological place within the Star Wars timeline. As you watch it, look for things like the practical effects, such as real, not CGI puppets and costumes. Pay attention to what look like the miniature model spaceships used to film the 1970s space action sequences.
There was one scene in particular that seemed to be an homage to an iconic space fight scene from episode IV that I loved. Even elements such as the music seemed to play into the buildup to episode IV.
Brilliant tie in to episode IV
I won’t say too much about this because I am walking in a minefield of spoilers. I will say that since Disney has decided to take the route of producing a one-off movie every other year, they had to make some tough decisions on how to handle the wrapping of this movie. The choices they made and how everything tie right up to the beginning of episode IV were perfect.
With all of the reverence "Rogue One” pays to the original series, I couldn't help feeling like I was a kid again sitting in the theater watching a modern take on the old-style Star Wars. As I walked out, I was pumped to go home and start the whole series over again and appreciate them from a new light.
"Rogue One" is a necessary installment to the Star Wars universe, giving it depth and context. The biggest problem I could find with this movie is that now I have to wait another year for a new one.