By Stewart Grant
Since acquiring Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, Disney has put the Star Wars production schedule into lightspeed. While fans of the original and the prequel trilogies had to wait three years in between movies, Disney is cranking out a new film practically every year now, with 2016’s Rogue One fast on the heels of 2015’s The Force Awakens, while 2017’s Episode VIII will be released this December 15th.
I’m happy to report that the Star Wars franchise has not suffered at all by Disney’s rush to reap the rewards of their investment. In fact, compared to the prequel trilogies of 1999-2005, the first two movies from Disney are a dramatic improvement.
“Rogue One”, set immediately before the events of the original 1977 Star Wars film, tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance acquires the technical plans to the Death Star.
The single-greatest aspect of Rogue One is that it makes the original Star Wars a better film. Didn’t it seem rather strange in the original that well-placed, single shot could blow up the whole Death Star? Well, Rogue One explains why that is, effectively fixing a 40-year-old plot hole in a very satisfying way.
There were so many other things I loved about this movie. Visually, it is the most impressive Star Wars film so far. This can be said about the various battle scenes (this movie puts the “War” in Star Wars), as well as the incredible CGI special effects that bring characters from 1977 back to life again.
Although we’ve seen Darth Vader in action before, he takes it to another level of rage at the end of Rogue One. As a Star Wars fan, it was awesome to witness the true wrath of Darth Vader.
Some critics feel that Rogue One could’ve done a better job developing the individual characters, but I didn’t have a problem with that. I thought that the characters in Rogue One served their purpose, and that their interactions gave us a greater understanding into the development of both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire.
From start to finish, the movie was solid, and I felt it was even better the second time through. For me, it is in my “top 4” of the eight Star Wars movies put out so far. For my kids, who aren’t as easily swayed by the nostalgia of the originals, it’s one of their very favorite Star Wars films.