The movie “Rogue One” resolves several loose ends in the original “Star Wars” saga. Specifically it is a prequel to the first release of the franchise “A New Hope”, which was chronologically the third of six installments. The story details the struggle and sacrifice necessary to steal the plans for the Empire’s new capital weapon, namely the planet destroying “Death Star”, which so terrified succeeding episodes.
The special effects, and especially the battle scenes, were excellent as always but not exceptional by current standards. There was however one notable innovation. And while not for the first time, nevertheless in an evolving technological breakthrough, several familiar characters were generated entirely by computer animation. And this was very well done.
But first and foremost it is an unrelenting action adventure with an unexpectedly hard edge. But if less cheerful than its companions, it nevertheless fits seamlessly into the Star Wars franchise while adding new material and lore and dimension. As such it is largely free of annoyingly contrived rehashings of plot developments that so enthralled earlier audiences but in consequence of which have long since gone stale.
And while the original series tended to provide an epic view of history, with a notable lack of character development rather relying on stereotypical characters, this episode injects more of a human dimension, albeit with a profound sense of the tragic. In contradiction, I did find the well deserved comeuppance of villains was delivered with much too little fanfare. Also, while the plot resolution at the end was uplifting, there was very little teasing of the audience to provoke any sense of interest in, or apprehension about, the succeeding struggle.
Another minor criticism was that the script writing glossed over many of the life altering details of everyone involved making the story line somewhat difficult to follow. But in fairness, overall motivations and backgrounds were never really in doubt. The story has a finality about it in that it begins with the early childhood of the main star, not leaving many details to the imagination. And as the continuous action keeps everyone on the edge of their seats, proceeds to tie up all the loose ends within its particular venue. And as the movie ends, at the start of the original episode for which it is the prequel, there simply isn’t any story left to tell.
But at its core, it adds a moral dimension to the continuing story. What shines through is the nobility of good people making the ultimate sacrifice for a cause greater than themselves. As a consequence, I can easily recommend this movie as something more than simply another installment in the much loved, and apparently never ending, narratives within the world of “Star Wars.”