Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Movie review by Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 11+

Epic but violent adventure offers diversity, role models.

PG-13 2016 133 minutes

Parents say

age 11+

Based on 59 reviews

Kids say

age 10+

Based on 161 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 12+
Too many great characters die. Not for anyone over 12, no more than three stars. Bad movie, but ready for Andor.

This title has:

Great role models
Too much violence
1 person found this helpful.
age 12+

Often Excellent Dark Star Wars entry for Older Audiences

Star Wars has always been a series for not only children, but the child that lives in the heart of adults as well. It's escapism between good people who show their faces and believe in life, and evil people who mask their faces and wish to oppress those that are not among their numbers. It's simple, endearing and satisfying, and not just in a cathartic sense. However, Rogue One is different, and by this I don't mean that it fails - instead, it takes a different approach from the start. This is sort of a lighter version of the era (late 80's through the 90's) when child-friendly entertainment had to receive ultra-mature, gritty and dark reinterpretations so that the fans of the original material could feel like the material itself matured with them. But in almost all of those cases I would say it was just pandering to a crowd that simply wanted some kind of verification that they still enjoy what was once a children's property, but Rogue One instead takes a more sophisticated approach. Not to say that the movie itself is particularly sophisticated, nor am I even saying that the movie is always interesting and engaging. But I will say that its new angle is a good one, and when this movie works, it's genuinely excellent. In terms of just pure critique, I can just point out that the action is very engaging, the characters a bit flat but endearing enough and operate well as cogs in the gears of the story itself, the visuals are outstanding and the performances solid. It was nice to see Donnie Yen used more for acting than for kung-fu, and Ben Mendelsohn was excellent as a villain who isn't evil, but instead prideful and aggressive. And that last part is one of the things that makes me recommend this movie for families of teenagers -- The lessons in this movie are actually very good. The heroes act in a very morally grey area, performing what are sometimes really bad acts of violence in hopes that the ends will justify the means, and in the final act of the movie, the heroes genuinely question if they are right to do this. Heck, one of the main characters continues fighting simply because giving up means that the horrible things he has done was for nothing; he simply couldn't live with himself for the things he has done if it amounted to nothing but sudden acts of violence. And with that, the movie portrays violence in a much more unpleasant light, with almost no survivors and several deaths played as tragedies rather than just the inevitability of action. At times it's actually moving in an almost unpleasant way, but this only makes such things more effective. With that, there is a great element with the villain of the movie, in that he is a villain because he is proud to the point of near-narcissism, and his fate is sealed largely because he demanded he have things his way. On the other side of the spectrum, many of the heroes know that what they are doing, for the greater good, is a suicide mission, and they act with courage in hopes that their sacrifice will help those that come after them. I think that these are great things to teach older children because the single most important lesson in life is that actions have consequences, and that options are always open, but things don't always happen as you hope; sometimes you need to make a stand, sometimes you should leave well enough alone, and sometimes you can do something but maybe should not.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
1 person found this helpful.

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