He emails to me:
I thought it great. It brings something strikingly new to the Star Wars universe – new in a number of ways, good ways:
1. It’s a self-contained heroic tragedy. You know the new characters are doomed. A useful comparison is the Obi Wan-Anakin battle in III: The Rogue One feeling of tragedy is less powerful but more comprehensive.
2. The plot and the character development are based on dissension, conflict on the rebellion side. Even the “extremist” plays a vital role in the success.
3. The dedication of rebels to the rebellion is depicted as the best of bad options for making one’s life meaningful, and as something that one gets locked-in to.
4. Rebel activity appears brutal, as though the conventional IV-VI image of the rebellion is but the fanciful illusion of those caught in the day-to-day misery of prosecuting the rebellion. But still that illusion is sustained – in Rogue One we have the drama behind a piece of that larger story, a tragic, engrossing aside.
5. On the rebel side, the Force persuasion appears, not the sage wisdom of Alec Guinness, but more the religion of deplorables, a resort of desperation. Some of the rebels come across as fanatics.
Darth is sparse but still the heavy, more chilling than ever.
BTW, the “Pappa, pappa” scene was, I think, a tribute to the 1995 Cuarón masterpiece A Little Princess.