Quick Opinion: With this week’s release of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," it only makes sense to revisit something in the "Star Wars" universe for this week’s "Rewind Review." "Rogue One" is the most recent "Star Wars" film ahead of "The Last Jedi," and a standalone story that has its strengths and weaknesses when put up against some of the other "Star Wars" films. Although the characters are mostly forgettable and the pacing of the plot is lackluster at times, the action scenes on some of the newly introduced planets are outstanding. The ending battle on Scarif makes it all worth it for diehard "Star Wars" fans.
Taking a Closer Look: The decision to make this movie sounded like a cash grab when the project was first announced. Just a group of producers making money off the "Star Wars" brand by building off a plot point from the original trilogy. "Rogue One" takes place in between Episode III and Episode IV. A group of rebels go on a mission to steal the Death Star plans. The plans are the key to finding a weakness in this giant planet-destroying weapon of mass destruction. Even though the idea for this story sounds like something that would be used primarily for fanfiction, the end result of "Rogue One" is a worthy addition to the collection of "Star Wars" films.
"Rogue One" is free from the pressures of being a part of a trilogy. It stands alone, giving it the space to do things a little differently from its predecessors. Right away, the film jumps right into action without the use of the signature opening crawl in space. "Rogue One" does enough to feel like a "Star Wars" film while simultaneously creating its own unique, ominous tone.
The various planets are each fun to explore. The end battle on Scarif really highlights the cinematography efforts. These elaborate fight scenes take place on what could be a tropical paradise if it wasn’t being used as an imperial military base.
The lack of character development is the main disappointment here. Other than the droid, K-2SO, none of these characters display any kind of distinguishable personality traits. Rather than giving us someone memorable, like Han Solo or even recently, Rey, we are left with a set of characters who only function to move the story forward toward the end goal of retrieving the Death Star plans.
Standout Scene: The brief appearance of Darth Vader is without question the most memorable takeaway from this film. Vader boards a Rebel ship and mows down a handful of Rebel fighters with ease. His momentary, yet terrifying presence, reminds us that he is one of the greatest villains of all time.
Where to Watch: You can stream “Rogue One” on Netflix.
Matt McCafferty is a film critic contributor for The Sentinel and writes Rewind Reviews of movies available for streaming. You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_McCafferty.