Rogue One is the first of Disney’s anthology stories set within the Star Wars universe. This flick comes in at two hours and 14 minutes and is directed by Gareth Edwards. For those of you unaware, Rogue One takes place after Revenge of the Sith and before A New Hope, detailing the story of how Princess Leia gets the plans for the Death Star.

Let’s start with the good: this movie is beautiful; perhaps one of the nicest looking Star Wars movies. The space battles and the ships, the monstrous AT-AT’s and the cinematography of how they are shot, the sweeping landscapes, it is all breathtaking and amazingly executed.

Disney and Lucas Films have really upped their game on CGI integration and I was incredibly impressed. I also need to tip my hat to Felicity Jones, Alan Tudyk and Diego Luna, they turn in all-star performances and give this movie their all. I don’t think there was an actor on set who phoned it in, this movie pulled out all the stops…

Which is why it was somewhat disappointing. This is not Star Wars, but A Star Wars Story and they are trying to create a new brand. I understand that, but right off the bat I was hit by a pang of disappointment when the famous Star Wars music and scrolling text never appeared.

The score in the movie is wonderful on its own merits, but it is so close to Star Wars without being Star Wars that it left me with a feeling of lacking instead of excitement. This plot is not for the faint of heart, and it chugs along a clunky meandering path until act three where it hits its stride.

The age of light-hearted, plucky heroes with a heavy back stories has sadly come to an end, replaced by grim and dour types who are reluctantly thrown into a difficult situations and grit their teeth through it.

On its own this movie would probably rate high in my book, but when compared to Star Wars as a whole, it ends up being a steady reminder of what it isn’t. I would recommend checking this movie out, but it is not for the devoted Star Wars fans.

I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 absent lightsabers