By Quentin Basnaw
The wait is over. The first in a series of “Anthology Films” set in the Star Wars universe has dropped, and boy, did it drop. Offering space thrills, space adventure, space action, and space emotions, this film indeed has a lot of space awesomeness in it. However, I don’t find the movie to be the best movie ever, or even the best Star Wars movie, or any other grandiose terms to describe it. I find it good. It is a step in the right direction for future “spin-off” Star Wars movies. So, let’s get into this.
The film follows a group of rebels that steal the plans to the Death Star. It’s essentially the story right before the Original Star Wars film. It features a stellar cast that includes Felicity Jones (Like Crazy, The Tempest), Diego Luna (Elysium, Milk), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Donnie Yen (IP Man), and Alan Tudyk (I, Robot). That stellar list is only half the assembled talent. The cast does well with what they’re given, but for me, the only characters I liked were Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), Darth Vader (a combination of some dude in a suit and James Earl Jones’ voice), CGI Grand Moff Tarkin (a mixture of live performance and CGI), and droid K2-SO (Alan Tudyk in a motion capture suit). These characters are awesome, and if you noticed, only two of them are new additions to the Star Wars galaxy. The rest of the characters did nothing for me. They are, to me, cut outs trying to be more than cut outs. There are quiet moments for a few of them, but for me, I didn’t care about them.
The things this movie does right, however, are quite numerous. The special effects are incredible. Absolutely incredible. Even with extensive reshoots, this film looks incredible. It rivals the original trilogies’ timeless special effects. The next best thing the movie does is give references to the original trilogy that aren’t intrusive. They are definitely smaller, and a few will go over the heads of most fans. I won’t spoil the best of them, but I will tell you one only I care about: there is one Rebel ship that appears in the background of the space battle, and it only appears in the original unaltered version of Return of the Jedi. That is cool! My only other major complaint is the fast location hopping. They go to quite a few planets, and I felt they could’ve condensed that part. That would’ve saved some special effects money.
To clarify, I’m trying not to spoil this movie. This was overall a good movie that sets the bar for future entries in the Star Wars universe. Definitely check this one out once you get a chance!