Rogue One 3D: A Star Wars Story

A rebellion built on hope.

Disney and Lucasfilm's first standalone Star Wars film (that is, not part of the episodes 1 through 7 storyline). Takes place before the events of A New Hope, and tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) and starring Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen and Ben Mendelsohn. 

Says producer Kathleen Kennedy: "Rogue One... will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe. It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know."

For many Star Wars fans just the mention of the word ‘prequel’ is enough to send them running in the opposite direction. For this reason, it was wise to not describe Rogue One (the first standalone ‘Star Wars story’) as such, but unfortunately this rugged women/men-on-a-mission war pic is not nearly enough of its own, distinctive, beast. Instead, it’s riddled with callbacks and overt references from its predecessors - lines of dialogue, recreated shots, and, most annoyingly, too many characters cameo-ing, some resurrected from the grave or the past with very good, but still lifeless, uncanny valley CGI.

Yes, The Force Awakens was a huge exercise in repetition, but in service of specific purposes - conjuring emotive nostalgia and putting audiences young and old all on the same page for upcoming sequels. In contrast, Rogue One seems to feel the need to incessantly remind us we are watching a Star Wars movie with constant references often falling flat or worse, getting unintended laughs. Sometimes, they’re deliberately played as gags, some of which are knowingly meta in nature, this winking at the audience something that rubbed me up the wrong way, as does a tone that sometimes skews towards deliberately (and therefore unsuccessfully) camp.

That these moments rear their heads once every few minutes is a colossal bummer as it distracts from the many excellent aspects of the film - the impact of its opening and closing sequences, the spectacular battles of its third act, and Star Wars’ latest great droid, K-2SO, who’s one part C3-PO, one part The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy’s Marvin, the Paranoid Android.

Elsewhere you’ll find Ben Mendelsohn villain-ing up a storm in a role he was born to play, and Donnie Yen’s mystical calm enlivening many a fight scene. Sadly, that Felicity Jones isn’t a standout as Rogue One's lead - though she’s convincing and competent - speaks to how more effort seems to have been spent on fan service than character development or really getting stuck in to telling the tragic story of a new band of brothers and sisters that I was hoping for.

FilmInk (Australia)

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This is a gorgeous and immersive film.

New York Times

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All the pieces are there ... like Lego figures in a box. The problem is that the filmmakers haven't really bothered to think of anything very interesting to do with them.

Los Angeles Times

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A swiftly paced, rough-and-ready entertainment that, in anticipating the canonical events of "A New Hope," manages the tricky feat of seeming at once casually diverting and hugely consequential.

Empire (UK)

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The ultimate Star Wars fan film, it's short on whimsy but when it gets going there's enough risk-taking and spectacle to bode well for future standalones.

Variety (USA)

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For the original generation of "Star Wars" fans who weren't sure what to make of episodes one, two, and three, "Rogue One" is the prequel they've always wanted.

Total Film (UK)

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Rogue One might trade heavily in nostalgia but it's bold enough to take risks, and will leave you stirred, fired up and raring for more.

Guardian (UK)

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Its variations on a theme are muscular and adroit. This is another really entertaining fantasy with fan-fiction energy and attack.

Time Out (New York)

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A punchy standalone action tale about a spunky Rebel Alliance resistance group.

Hollywood Reporter

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Loaded with more battle action than any of its seven predecessors, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story plays like a set-up for the events in the 1977 original and, for the most part, does so quite entertainingly.

Stuff.co.nz (Sarah Watt)

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C3PO predecessor K2SO provides the comic relief in an otherwise dull and cloudy script...

RadioNZ (Dan Slevin)

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Where Rogue One falls down is in the character development. There isn’t much...