I've been a Star Wars fan since I first walked into that cinema on Bourke St, Melbourne, and saw the word crawl and the spaceship zooming overhead. I thoroughly enjoyed The Force Awakens, which was in the true spirit of the original trilogy.
Now there is Rogue One, which is the buildup to the events of ANH. You see the various races mingling in the streets of the cities and on the Rebel Alliance Council. You see storm troopers in grubby armour because they're in charge of labour camps instead of on the villain's ship, where they would be expected to keep their gear clean. No cantina scenes, alas, except very briefly. And you find that even the good guys are willing to do unpleasant things to win.
I like the fact that this is the second Star Wars film in a row to have a female protagonist. And Jyn is a good, strong character, and brave.
It was interesting to find out just why the Death Star had that weakness for the rebel fighters to exploit. There have been arguments about that over the years, with many people finding it just too convenient . But there's a reason! A very good reason.
And thanks to CGI effects we can have Grand Moff Tarkin back, though Peter Cushing has been dead for some years. There's also a young Carrie Fisher's face in the last scene. I know some people have said that it was creepy or disrespectful to do this to actors who have passed away, but I have to say I was quite impressed. Well, with Tarkin, anyway; I thought Carrie Fisher's face looked a bit plastic. Really, if you didn't know Peter Cushing was dead, you wouldn't think "creepy". I hadn't heard about this, so I thought, "Hang on, he's dead! This must be CGI." The film makers said they thought Tarkin needed to be in the film and they had no intention of doing this regularly.
There were some other characters who returned. Darth Vader, of course, with James Earl Jones's voice. No Dave Prowse, but it wasn't necessary and maybe he had another job. Anthony Daniels appeared very briefly as C3PO; he had one line.
There was a droid who was more than just a sidekick, K2. He was a fascinating character in this own right and not a fussy butler like C3PO.
My favourite characters were the two warrior-monks who accompanied our heroine on her quest. One of them was blind, but still Force-sensitive and an amazing martial artist(the actor is well known for his martial arts skills). The other looked like a samurai. But they were both Chinese, not Japanese, though the characters had a definite Japanese influence.
It was definitely darker than the other Star Wars movies, though it was dark enough when Han Solo was killed in The Force Awakens(and not even a heroic death, just a murder!). Maybe a bit too dark for me and I wondered how the children who were viewing it felt.
Still, I'm happy I went and will probably go again or get the DVD when it's out.