“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, and Forest Whitaker. Released on December 16, 2016, the film is about a young woman who is sent on a mission to retrieve the plans of the Galactic Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star.
The film is directed by Gareth Edwards, who also directed Monsters and the 2014 Godzilla reboot, and it is the first film in the Star Wars Anthology series. This has been on my highly anticipated films list for a whole year. Why? Because it’s flipping Star Wars. How can you not be excited for something that is Star Wars related? While this isn’t the continuation of the Star Wars Sequel trilogy (that comes out next December), we do get to see the events that happened before Luke Skywalker sets out to fight the forces of evil. The film also marks a test to see whether or not people want to see more stories beyond the Star Wars universe.
The story takes place before the events of A New Hope, where the Galactic Empire is building a deadly weapon that can annihilate planets in mere seconds. Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, a rogue maverick who sets out to find her father, the weapon’s designer, played by Mads Mikkelsen. She is accompanied by the Rebels, who plan on preventing the weapon from being completed. What I liked about the story was that it ties everything together, leading up to the events of the first Star Wars film that was released back in 1977. It still has that unique Star Wars quality that we know and love, but at the same time, it felt like any other war film I’ve seen before it. There were some moments that weren’t quite as emotional nor deep as I thought it would be, but watching these ordinary people come together to do something extraordinary still reminds me why I need to hold on to hope, even in our darkest times. The characters were remarkably portrayed by several great actors. My favorites out of them would have to be K-2SO (Tudyk) and Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen). Let’s just say that K-2SO is like the Baymax of Star Wars. As for Chirrut, he beats Stormtroopers up with a staff. That’s how cool this character is. If you haven’t heard of Donnie Yen, watch the Ip Man trilogy. Really good movies. Edwards did a really good job at making these characters likable as well as giving them some development. My only issue with this was that they could’ve expand the relationship between Jyn and Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker) a bit more. Another thing that I would like to address is the first half of the film. It started out nice, but the build-up with Jyn joining the Rebels felt a bit rushed. The visual effects in the film were marvelous as always, especially the likeness of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin and the motion capture work on K-2SO. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the one and only Darth Vader has finally made his big-screen return. We’ve been waiting for this moment for more than ten years, and it was worth it. His introduction in “Rogue One” was one of the best film introductions I have ever seen. It’s creepy and menacing. Those who love Darth Vader in the original trilogy will not be disappointed with this.
Overall, “Rogue One” puts the emphasis of “war” in Star Wars. While not as deeply emotional as it could’ve been, the film relies on the strength of likable characters, incredible visuals, and good storytelling to rebel against its easy-to-spot flaws. Not only that, but it also shows some strong signs that Disney and Lucasfilm Ltd. are going to have a bright future together in terms of expanding the Star Wars universe. If you’re a fan of the Star Wars movies, then I suggest you go check it out, but you better do it fast because the tickets are still going by fast.