The first reviews for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have begun to stream and all early indicators show that critics seem to be positive if not slightly disappointed.
Critics in particular focused on the unique “frenetic” directing of Gareth Edwards and the more “adult” tone the movie presents.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story releases in South African cinemas on Friday 16 December.
Read what the critics thought below.
“So this new entry in the series, stand-alone or not, earns solid middle-to-upper-middle standing in the overall franchise scheme of things. Whether we ever see any of these new characters again remains an open question; some would be welcome, others will not be missed. What fans will get here is loads of action, great effects, good comic relief, stunning locations (Iceland, Jordan and the Maldives) and some intriguing early glimpses of the Galactic Empire as it begins to flex its intergalactic power”.
“Rogue One would have been a very good stand-alone sci-fi movie if it came out under a different name. But what makes it especially exciting is how it perfectly snaps right into the Star Wars timeline and connects events we already know by heart with ones that we never even considered. It makes you wonder how many other untold stories are waiting in the shadowy corners of Lucas’ galaxy far far away”.
“As the puzzle pieces snap into place, with a level of precision and economy that honors and even transcends the narrative foundation of “A New Hope,” “Rogue One” at last finds its own reason for being. For one thrilling final stretch, everything old really is new again”.
“Rogue One doesn’t really go rogue at any stage, and it isn’t a pop culture event like The Force Awakens, in whose slipstream this appears; part of its charm resides in the eerie, almost dreamlike effect of continually producing familiar elements, reshuffled and reconfigured, a reaching back to the past and hinting at a preordained future. There are some truly spectacular cameos from much-loved personae, involving next-level digital effects — almost creepily exact, so that watching feels at various stages like going into a time machine, back to the 80s and 70s”.
“Still, between epic battles featuring scores of familiar spaceships and the genuine thrill of hearing composer Michael Giacchino riff on John Williams’ classic score, there’s no denying that the film belongs to the creative universe Lucas established. This is the rebellion as it is experienced in the trenches. Younger audiences will be bored, confused, or both. But 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”.
“Director Gareth Edwards takes a brave risk by staging several action sequences in Vietnam War-movie mode — it’s interesting to see laser-toting soldiers trudging through ankle-deep water against a backdrop of palm trees — but the final battle is overlong and very jumbled. “Rogue One” should thrill die-hard fans and placate casual ones, but this stand-alone story often seems to be standing in the same old place”.
“Edwards is very good at crafting images that straddle the uncomfortable line between beauty and horror, and at dwarfing people with giant monsters and machines with powers beyond mortal comprehension. It’s his comprehension of mortals that sometimes feels lacking”.
Not only is “Rogue One” the rare modern blockbuster that could have afforded to risk something real, it’s the rare modern blockbuster that gave itself a genuine responsibility to do so. And yet, for all of its excitement and occasional splendor, there’s nothing the least bit rebellious about it. It could have been special, instead it’s just… forced.