In this prequel to the original Star Wars (1977), a heroic band of rebels steal the Galactic Empire’s plan for a Death Star (which Princess Leia will later deliver to Obi Wan Kenobi). Except for a few jocose, fan-serving moments, the movie is a dour affair, lacking the charm and chills of J.J. Abrams’s spirited Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), not to mention George Lucas’s founding trilogy. Director Gareth Edwards, best known for the 2014 reboot Godzilla, delivers tense and visually splendid action sequences, though the performances suffer. As leaders of the rebel group, Felicity Jones and Diego Luna seem lost, while Forest Whitaker chews the scenery as a veteran of the Clone Wars who has turned into Colonel Kurtz; Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, and Ben Mendelsohn all buckle down and fare slightly better.