RELEASED: December 16th 2016
DIRECTED BY: Gareth Edwards
WRITTEN BY: Tony Gilroy, John Knoll, Chris Weitz & Gary Whitta
PRODUCED BY: Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur & Simon Emanuel
MUSIC BY: Michael Giacchino
STARRING: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker, Genevieve O’Reilly, James Earl Jones, Guy Henry & Jimmy Smits
Much like Revenge of the Sith and later, The Force Awakens, had unenviable expectations set against them, so too did Rogue One. However, instead of starting or ending a trilogy like the aforementioned films, Rogue One instead had to show audiences what a Star Wars spin-off film could be like. If it had failed, it could have thrown Lucasfilm and Disney’s future plans into disarray. And if you were following the news on the film’s production, you may have expected that the film was indeed going to fail. The end of production was riddled with issues, with word being that writer Tony Gilroy was brought in to re-shoot a large part of the film.
The edits and reshoots are definitely evident when it comes to watching the final film, not because it’s choppy or anything, but because the content in the marketing material and the actual film differs at numerous points.
It’s that fact that holds the film back from greatness. Instead of a longer run time or perhaps numerous films to set up these characters, we’re instead given one film that jumps around a lot at the start and fails to hit some of the more emotional beats because they’ve been cut or reshot, and thus feel undeserved.
That isn’t to say Rogue One is a bad film. Production issues aside, it’s pretty fantastic. It has its own unique feel that makes it a different experience to the Saga films, and tackles some more serious and important issues; such as the fact that not all Rebels are heroes – as a rebellion, the side we’ve always rooted for is filled with just as many mercenaries, murderers and terrorists as the Empire; it’s just that the Saga films have never shown us (aside from Luke and Lando blowing up the two Death Stars, but that’s a discussion for another day).