Brow Beat

Positive Reviews for 28 Minutes of Rogue One Bode Well for the Other 105 Minutes

Screen, or do not. There is no “28-minute preview.”

Lucasfilm Ltd

We’re getting closer and closer to the Dec. 16 release date of Rogue One, and the fervor is building. We now have our first real impressions of the film after a half-hour’s worth of the stand-alone ”Star Wars story” was screened to a few members of the press on Friday at Skywalker Ranch. Uproxx described the screening as showing “maybe the first 15 minutes of the film, followed by two additional sequences, then a sizzle reel, totaling about 28 minutes in all.” (The footage was specifically chosen to be spoiler-free, so don’t get your hopes up for any planet-shattering revelations.)

Still, though 28 minutes is just a fraction of a film that is more than two hours long, first impressions were mostly positive, and we learned a few important things. The embargo for reviews of the entire film is scheduled to lift on Dec. 13.

There’s no opening crawl, and it is missed.

Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend:

As we’ve previously reported, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story doesn’t open with the traditional scrawl, but instead a 15-years-earlier prologue that sets up the base of the story - though it does have the blue text “A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away … ”

Mike Ryan, Uproxx:

As you’ve probably heard by now, Rogue One does not sport the traditional Star Wars crawl, instead it starts with “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … ,” then just starts. (Which, to be honest, is a little jarring because our brains have been conditioned to hear the theme music and see a crawl after we see that.)

Alan Tudyk tucks another brilliant comedic performance under his belt.

Brian Truitt, USA Today:

While little BB-8 stole scenes in Force Awakens, the droid to watch in Rogue One is K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial robot with attitude played via performance capture by Alan Tudyk.

Jacob Hall, /Film:

Tudyk (who was on set in a motion capture suit and provides the character’s voice) plays K-2SO like a sociopathic C-3PO, prissy and easily offended but perfectly comfortable dismantling entire squads of Stormtroopers. He’s a hoot.

Michael Giacchino’s score is a mix of the old with the new.

Alex Reif, Laughing Place:

Giacchino has written some amazing and memorable music for Rogue One. And while Williams may not have written new music for this film, a couple of his melodies were used in the preview I saw.

Mike Ryan, Uproxx:

And the score—which isn’t John Williams this time; Michael Giacchino has the honors—presents something different, yet at times feels familiar.

Bryan Young, Big Shiny Robot:

The music we hear from Michael Giacchino is scintillating, though some fans might bristle at the hints of the Star Wars main theme as the title card finally plays to revised hints of that iconic theme. But the score is inherently Star Wars in its feel.

There is at least one fun Easter egg for serious fans.

Jacob Hall, /Film:

A quick reference to the Journal of the Whills sees the film incorporating tidbits of Star Wars lore that would only be familiar to hardened fans. A few amusing cameos from some original trilogy characters (and no, not whom you’d expect) further ground Rogue One in its very specific place.

Mike Ryan, Uproxx:

We also meet Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior who is also Force sensitive. He’s described as a “Guardian of the Whills,” which is a nice callback to the earliest drafts of George Lucas’ Star Wars which were titled Adventures of Luke Starkiller as Taken from the Journal of the Whills.

Most importantly, this is a gritty war film.

Mark Daniell, Toronto Sun:

Kids are going to love it but Rogue One seems to be aiming squarely at kidults. The film has a gritty look, one that is more reminiscent of a war film than a polished sci-fi epic. The action is also visceral and uncompromising, particularly in scenes where Andor kills an informant and rebels attack a squad of Stormtroopers. Edwards shoots the scenes up close, letting us hear the bones crunch.

Rob Keyes, ScreenRant:

Make no mistake, Rogue One puts the “war” in Star Wars and any claims that this dirtier, grittier spinoff is a war movie are accurate. It’s not pretty. It’s violent and hardcore, more than any other take on Star Wars to date. Soldiers die as children scream. Literally.

Kate Erbland, IndieWire:

What might be most striking about the footage screened is how much it reflects the oft-repeated sentiment that Rogue One is a war movie above all else. […] As difficult as it may be to glean the feel of an entire feature from a few carefully selected scenes, when what we saw of Rogue One leaned into its war film comparisons, it was undoubtedly at its most compelling.