ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY:
ANOTHER SATISFYING ADDITION TO THE STAR WARS SAGA!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** ½ out of 4
A major weapons test is coming in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Congratulations Disney, you have officially made Star Wars a holiday, forget Christmas, Star Wars is the new December holiday. Last year, director, J.J. Abrams brought the franchise back to life ten years after the release of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and now director, Gareth Edwards (End Day, Monsters, Godzilla (2014)) brings us the first anthology film of the saga, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Honestly I wasn’t as hyped for this movie as I was with The Force Awakens, for a few reasons, it wasn’t an episode, very few memorable characters from the earlier films, and this movie was coming out one year after The Force Awakens. Of course, I was going to see it no matter what, it’s Star Wars, how could I miss it? Not to mention even when a Star Wars movie isn’t great, it’s always a joy to be in the theater with an enthusiastic crowd of fans.
So, I paid my ticket, went to an IMAX 3D theater, sat down, and watched it, it’s a fun movie, not as great as the original trilogy or The Force Awakens but not bad either. The film is filled with homages and fan-service to the original movies, decent characters, thrilling action sequences, and a splash of comedy, but I feel Rogue One lacks the magic and charm of the earlier films, however it’s certainly a better prequel film than The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones.
After a nostalgic blast from the past with The Force Awakens, Rogue One feels like it goes for more holiday blockbuster entertainment, which it succeeds at, but nothing much besides that. It exists to expand the saga and make some extra bucks for Disney along with the success of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Pixar’s Finding Dory, and the animated films, Zootopia and Moana.
Most of the characters in the movie aren’t well-known, aside from Darth Vader, and you can’t replace the likable characters from the earlier films. But with that said, the new characters they brought in are still pretty good and I would want to join them on their adventure.
Set before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, the film follows a group of Rebels that band together on a mission to steal the plans for the Empire’s most destructive weapon, the Death Star. The team of Rebels consists of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones-The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Theory of Everything, Inferno), the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen-Casino Royale, The Hunt, Doctor Strange), a scientist who worked on the Death Star, Rebel Alliance Intelligence officer, Cassain Andor (Diego Luna-The Terminal, Elysium, The Book of Life), a blind warrior who believes in the Force, Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen-Once Upon a Time in China II, Ip Man trilogy, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny), Rebel-owned Imperial enforcer droid, K-2SO (Alan Tudyk-Firefly, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen), former Imperial pilot, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed-Nightcrawler, Jason Bourne, The Night Of), and Rebel warrior and mercenary, Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen-In the Heart of the Sun, The Soong Sisters, Devils on the Doorstep).
Jyn and the Rebels make it their mission to obtain the Empire’s plans and send them out to the galaxy so the Rebel Alliance can take out the Death Star, because Jyn’s father intentionally built the Death Star with a huge flaw that could destroy the entire thing. Not to mention Jyn must also face off against the sinister Imperial Military Director of Advanced Weapons Research, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn-The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines, Exodus: Gods and Kings) for killing her mother when she was a child, and is under the command of Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones-Dr. Strangelove, Tom Clancy trilogy, The Lion King).
The film also stars Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Arrival) as Saw Gerrera, Genevive O’Reilly (The Matrix 2 and 3, The Young Victoria, The Legend of Tarzan) as Mon Mothma, Jimmy Smits (NYPD: Blue, Dexter, The Jane Austen Book Club) as Bail Organa, and Anthony Daniels (The Lord of the Rings (1978), The Lego Movie) as C-3PO.
Overall, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an exciting addition to the Star Wars saga, it delivers plenty of fan-service, action, and some decent characters. It doesn’t have the same impact as Star Wars: The Force Awakens but it’ll certainly keep the fans busy until Star Wars: Episode VIII next year.
Jyn, like Rey from The Force Awakens, makes another great female lead, seeing her battle Stormtroopers and doing everything she can to accomplish the mission, it’s hard not to appreciate her determination to saving the galaxy. Not to mention, you care about her after the loss of her mother and when something goes wrong during the mission, kiss it Padmé, this is how you do a non-Leia female character right.
I would be down for a Star Wars movie where Rey has to go back in time to prevent something and she meets up with Jyn and the two of them team up to save the galaxy. Who says Star Wars is just for boys? I can see a very wide audience getting into this movie.
Don’t expect a Force Awakens impact, but if you want some final 2016 blockbuster entertainment and more exploration of the Star Wars events, this is a movie worth going “Rogue” for. May the Force be with You.