ROGUE ONE – A Star Wars Review

Star Destroyer

“Rogue One” is the latest installment in the Star Wars saga. It’s the first spin-off film in the series (not including those Ewok movies of which we don’t speak), taking place after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and before Episode IV: A New Hope (the 1977 original). So for those expecting a follow-up to last year’s “The Force Awakens”, sorry, you’ve got to wait another year for Episode VIII…

More than any other Star Wars movie, this one feels like a war movie. Like the Original Trilogy, it’s set in the midst of the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, but for the first time you see things from the perspective of the soldiers on the front lines. There are no Jedi coming to save the day this time.

As expected, the special effects are amazing, but what’s particularly impressive is the scale. Luckily, the director, Gareth Edwards (Godzilla 2014), is known for just that. All the actors do a fine job, but as neat as some of the characters are, you don’t necessarily get a good feel for who all of them are, part of that is because it’s a really fast-paced sci-fi thriller where not everyone gets out alive. It also serves as a good allegory for The Manhattan Project.

On the surface, “Rogue One” is a fun action movie with tons of spectacle. But for Star Wars fans, it’s so much more. MINOR┬áSPOILERS AHEAD…

Rogue One

Rogue One really builds on the mythos in a way the other prequels never did – it actually improves on the original movie, because it actually explains some of the things that have puzzled fans for decades! It fixes plot holes without actually stepping on existing continuity (in the movies at least, sorry EU fans). Ever wonder why there’s a super-convenient weakness built into the Death Star? Turns out, that was done intentionally by someone on the inside.

Rogue One RebelsSure, Force Awakens had a fair share of fan-service, but Rogue One means so much more if you’re a die-hard fan, the kinda fans who know the difference between a womp rat and a wampa. If you’re the kind of person who can quote the Original Trilogy from beginning to end, this is the Star Wars movie you’ve been waiting for. If not, you might not understand why grown men are crying for joy next to you in the theater.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a rebellious rebel looking for her father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), the guy who just so happens to be the unwilling designer of the Death Star’s super weapon. Galen sent Jyn away to be raised by anti-Imperialist insurgent leader, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). During her journey she joins up with the Rebel Alliance for a desperate sneak-attack against Director Orson Krennic’s forces in order to obtain the secret plans to the Death Star. There’s also a sarcastic droid with no filter and a blind Force-sensitive ninja.

There might not be a lot of deep character development, but in this case you don’t really need it, because (Spoiler Alert) no one makes it out alive…

Star Wars - Rogue One - Director CrennicOne of the best things about the movie for me was the way in which it leaves off right where A New Hope picks up. In fact the whole opening crawl of Episode IV IS the plot of this movie. If you re-watch A New Hope right after this one, you’ll notice just how well they tied everything together.

Which brings me to maybe my only minor issue: Grand Moff Tarkin. Yes, Tarkin is in the movie. Yes, Peter Cushing has been dead for over 20 years. Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve been disappointing if Tarkin wasn’t in the movie and it’s really impressive that CGI could in fact bring Peter Cushing back to life in one of his most iconic roles. That said, there are a few moments where I could tell he wasn’t real and I just wish Disney would’ve thrown just a bit more money at those few shots to make sure it looked spot on. Like I said though, it’s a minor issue.

My absolute favorite part of the movie is the ending. Vader’s not in the movie that much, but the scenes that he is in show you exactly why everyone is terrified of him…

Star Wars - Rogue One - Darth Vader

“Rogue One” is in theaters now!

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