When was the last time you saw a really good war movie? And when I mean war movie, I mean seriously a movie where conflict alone was the primary subject. It’s tough to think of, but if you were to just focus on a genre, what would you include in a movie about war?
Obviously, you’d include two sides, each one fighting for what the other thinks is right.
I think a form of violence can be included too, both physical and non-physical.
Emotions and what’s happening inside of those who are fighting is also pretty important, especially about revealing why they are fighting.
The sense of loss and potential reward is a big one in my book.
I think these all factor into making a good war film, and I can attest to you that the newest Star Wars film has all of those elements to it. When “Rogue One” was initially teased at the D23 Expo and Star Wars Celebration last year, it was promising to be a film filled with everything a traditional war film should have: fight scenes, guns blazing, two passionately driven sides who lose a lot and gain back in some form.
Nevertheless, this is a Star Wars-branded film, meaning that there should be elements of Star Wars included in the film. Star Wars fans can rest in knowing that there are a handful of moments in the film that connect the film back to why it’s really getting the attention, especially at the end.
So what happens when you combine a war film and Star Wars? In effect, Star WARS.
Though I’m not sure if George Lucas ever thought of the films as war-centered films, but the film that general audiences seemed to have loved the most (“A New Hope”) had more or less to do solely with internal and external conflict. Everything in them including characters and settings were adding layers to a story that pushed the conflict even further.
I’d like to think that “Rogue One” director Gareth Edwards and his story team wanted to do more of the same that the prequels did. At the same time, they had a huge challenge in creating an entirely new story within an already existing story that people all over the world loved.
They were able to accomplish that, but only because they kept the brand away from the story, where wars actually took place among the stars (and on the ground, mainly). It’s a film that caters to both audiences, those who love good conflict-centered films and those who love Star Wars.
Still, it’s not a flawless movie. I wish there was more backstory for some of the main characters who fight in the Rebellion. I wish there were a few more Star Wars moments that connected us back to the Star Wars moments that surround the film. I wish John Williams did the score.
But those are things that really won’t matter in the end. In the end, you’ll come away having watched a film that you thought had a great conflict or Star Wars fandom at its core, firmly grounding itself as a solid addition to the Star Wars cinematic universe.
Hopefully the rest of the Star Wars standalone films in the new few years can do more of the same.
Our rating: 4.8/5
Details (from IMDB) –
- Runtime: 133 minutes
- Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action
All reviews are personal opinions and may not reflect the attitudes of other writers for DisneyExaminer.com unless stated otherwise.
These films have been screened prior to the release date for review purposes and therefore are viewed without charge courtesy of The Walt Disney Studios.