Selling Rogue One as a war film is like selling Spiderman 3 as a psychological thriller, it’s a blatant lie.
Whoever made the initial comparison between Rogue One and Saving Private Ryan is a complete moron, because the two are not similar in the slightest.
Rogue One isn’t a war film and that’s fine. In fact, there isn’t even a war here, just a single conflict at the end of the movie following an hour and thirty minutes of buildup.
So why is it being described as one? To sell tickets of course. People don’t want to see another Star Wars film, they want to see something new within that universe, so telling consumers that they should expect a new take on the classic film franchise is quite exciting.
Compare Saving Private Ryan‘s Omaha Beach scene, and then watch Rogue One‘s death sequences, for example. One depicts how demonic the realities of war are; relentless and without reason. The other has a blind man walking through gunfire unscathed before being granted a heroic departure, which is conveniently after he saves the day.
Whilst the initial script or concept for Rogue One may have been a gritty film, the end product is a safe and family friendly approach. Yes, everyone dies at the end (boohoo), but they are all granted heroic deaths. I enjoyed Rogue One, but I wish I didn’t walk into it expecting Fury with lightsabers.