I’m writing this very late on Thursday 15th August 2016 having just come out of the cinema to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Firstly I will say that this review is VERY SPOILERIFIC, so don’t read on if you haven’t seen the film. SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would need to see the film again, or at least digest it for longer to write a full, critical review, but instead I wanted to give my initial raw thoughts on it. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a fantastic trip back to a wider view of the original Star Wars universe we know so well. It’s fascinating to see different aspects of that time and some characters in different situations. I have to say, hats off to Gareth Edwards who I think did an incredible job, all things considered.

I didn’t quite love it right from the start though. And I’m trying to not let my opinions be clouded by the *********s on my immediate left and on my immediate right who insisted on talking through the entire film and visibly pointing to the screen every time there was a reference from A New Hope. Speaking of visual callbacks I’m not quite sure about Gareth Edwards making some really obvious references to A New Hope. Some were too obvious in places, and conversely he also took some some fairly big deviances which also felt strange. Firstly the opening scene mimicked the Star Destroyer coming overhead in A New Hope. In this one it was the rings of a planet which looked like the angular tip of a Star Destroyer. Clever, but some things like that just make me think he’s trying to make too obvious connections. And I know they want to make these anthology films different but I really missed the yellow Star Wars logo at the start of the film. And I’m not totally against the use of place names to explain where they are (even though that’s very not Star Wars) but I thought there was way too many place names appearing in the first 30mins.

I do always get a bit anal about my constructive criticism, but it’s because I’m a fan. I know some people will tell me to stop complaining but I just find it cathartic to list the bad points and good points, so here goes. And remember, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie overall. In fact I’ll call the bad points ‘niggly points’ instead because there was nothing I really had a major problem with at all.


  • Nice reference to blue milk in the first couple of minutes but the camera zoomed right into it for too long which I thought was a bit obvious
  • I loved the surprise appearance of the cantina guy and walrus dude but again I felt it lingered a bit too much on them and him having the same line as in the Cantina was a bit too coincidental. I felt this could have been more subtle. Still cool though
  • Some shots were literally copied shot by shot from A New Hope. Some were reshot and some actually lifted from the first film. I think the shots of the guy scanning the sky from the tower at the rebel base was reshot as well as the shots of the Death Star weapon powering up. I felt these didn’t have to be shot for shot replicas of the first film. They could have been similar or from different angles etc. It was, however, quite cool to see the Red Leader and Gold Leader clips actually taken from the first movie. At first I thought it was again a bit coincidental or unrealistic they were doing the exact same lines and head movements etc but then I think one of them appears again and they actually record a new line for him which was pretty cool
  • I felt the music wasn’t totally the Star Wars music that we know and love, although again it’s trying to be it’s own anthology film, which I get, and it must be hard to replicate John Williams.
  • A lot of shots were dropped from the trailer, which I always find a little bit confusing
  • This is just a weird point but one of the members of the Rogue One crew looks exactly like Ludacris. So much so that it totally pulled me out of the film and made me think Vin Diesel or The Rock was suddenly going to appear. Random.
  • The Death star seemed to destroy planets much more slowly than in the original film? Or was it just testing its guns and it wasn’t on full power perhaps?
  • This was a war movie, and I totally get that, and I did like the shaky cam style for a lot of the movie but there were a couple of times where it was a bit too shaky when it just didn’t require it and it became distracting
  • There was something about Vader in the closeups that wasn’t quite right. The neck of his helmet wasn’t quite sitting right and his shoulders seemed narrower than usual. In fact I almost felt that when he was walking towards Krennic it looked like it could have been a woman in the Vader costume. Just the way the legs moved. I wondered if it was actually Gwendoline Christie. I don’t think it was though.


  • I thought all the casting and acting was great. Didn’t have any problems with any of them. Diego Luna was good but not great, but I really loved Felicity Jones and Donnie Yen. Thought Forest Whitaker was good too.
  • One of the main highlights of the film for me was K-2SO. I think having a sassy, comedy droid like that is very risky, but they pulled it off perfectly. I think the voice, the movements and the script were all perfect for that character. Big kudos to Alan Tudyk.
  • I had been slightly nervous about Donnie Yen appearing in a Star Wars movie. I’m a big fan of his work but I was wondering how his whole style would fit into the universe. but I thought it worked extremely well and I love how he portrayed the character. I also loved the bromance between him and the Baze character. Sad that we won’t get to see some of these characters again.
  • Gareth Edwards obviously wanted to make his mark and have some fun and it must have been very tempting to add loads of new stormtroopers and vehicles and go overboard. I think he balanced it pretty well. Great to see the black stormtroopers and the new shoretroopers. Very cool indeed.
  • Interesting, and a bit gross, to see Vader having a steam bath
  • Peter Cushing and a young Carrie Fisher! The first appearance of Cushing was pretty amazing. When you see him from behind it’s cool and then when you see his reflection in the glass you think that’s all you’re going to see. But then he turns around! It wasn’t 100% perfect but I would say it is the most realistic facial rendering and animation I’ve seen, probably better, and certainly more extensive than Jeff Bridges and Arnold Schwarzenneger, as Cushing here had loads more screen time and in close-ups. It could have gone so so wrong, but again I think it paid off hugely for Gareth Edwards. A good choice to go for it. I know many people won’t agree though. It was an ethical hypothesis put forward a few years ago, saying that soon we would be able to revive dead actors. We’re pretty much there people.
  • I really liked the cameo of 3PO and R2. I thought that was very well done
  • The whole dogfighting, space battles and AT-AT (or actually AT-ACT) fights were great.
  • I know I mentioned earlier that some of the callbacks to A New Hope seemed overegged and forced, but I do also think they did a great job of recreating many of the sets and visual cues from A New Hope that really helped to paint a visual consistency between the two movies.
  • The last 10mins, where Vader is hunting for the stolen plans,were fantastic. You really felt like you were experiencing the start of A New Hope from a whole new perspective. That’s exactly how it should be done.
  • The bit with Darth Vader going berserk walking down the corridor fighting the rebels is total awesomeness! That’s what this is all about

The more I’m thinking about the movie as I’ve been writing this, the more I like it. I can’t wait to watch it again. It was strange not having the usual protagonists, but to be honest it was also quite refreshing and I feel it only makes the universe bigger. Star Wars has always felt a little bit insular, small and convenient with everything revolving around the Skywalkers, so it was nice to meet new people and see more places. Well done Gareth Edwards and crew. It’s certainly a very welcome addition to the Star Wars family.