For the first time in nearly 40 year of Star Wars we are getting a film that does not follow the chronological story that started with the introduction of Anakin Skywalker and will end with … well the events of Episode IX.
This new film isn’t taking too many chances, it’s titled A Star Wars Story and takes place just before Star Wars: A New Hope - hope being a word that is used again and again during the film.
The film start with the immortal line A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away, but it then cuts to a scene in space where we see a ship, moving towards a planet, it misses the opening crawl.
The opening scene of Rogue One takes place 15 years before, it sets up some important narrative and character introductions before then leaping forward 15 years to show our female protagonist in captivity.
This film is no The Force Awakens, it falls far short of it in story, action, comedy and nostalgia, but despite its short fall is does have some fantastic moments, here is why.
If we look at a film as three acts, act one setting the scene and characters, act two the main action resolution of the initial problem and creation of the bigger problem/picture and the third act the resolution then this film has a ver slow and sometimes boring first act.
This doesn’t set the film up too well and as it moves to the second act it picks up the action but gets confusing, I felt as if the writers had presumed that everyone knew the backstory so they didn’t have to bother.
This third act is the money shot and is really where the film hold its best moments and is the 45 minutes of the film which ALMOST make you forgive the film for the previous 2 act, except for the last few minutes of the film.
The best bits really and how well it fits into Star Wars A New Hope and how it actually explains some of those niggling things, like why did they make it even possible to blow up the Death Star, and explain them - it does make Episode IV and Episode III better films!
**SPOILER ALERT** It is well known that Darth Vader is in the movie, excellent, but for me the movement and size of him was wrong and the ageing James Earl Jones just didn’t sound right, and I really wanted this to be a Jedi/lightsaber - less movie, but I suspect through re-shoots, there is a short scene at the end which has both Jedi action and lightsaber, and I hated it.
We also get the return of Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin, and CGI’d face which in a cameo would have been fantastic but it/he plays quite a role in the film and it does start to look more fake the more it appears.
This film end on a scene which really does then lead directly into A New Hope, it actually makes it feel better and it makes the Empires actions of capturing Leia’s ship seem like the obvious move, and yes there is a short but vaguely pleasing cameo from a CGI Carrie Fisher at the end.