PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR.
Despite my initial concerns over the quality of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” after seeing the trailers with Felicity Jones’s deadpan expression and monotone delivery of lines, the movie lived up to expectations and beyond.
Avid Star Wars fans need not fear about Rogue One ending up like the dreaded prequels. Director Gareth Edwards delivers with a new and grittier view on the Star Wars universe.
If the original trilogy and prequels tell the story of space royalty in the form of the Skywalker family, then Rogue One tells the tale of everyday grunts working in the shadows. Rogue One focuses on world building and fleshes out the history behind the Rebellion and the galaxy before “A New Hope”.
Rogue One brings back fans to old worlds and new fantastic ones, all the while treading the delicate line between too much CGI and not enough.
And despite only having one short standalone movie to bond to the characters, Rogue One manages to flesh out each and every one, leaving audience members more attached to Jyn than to the whiny Anakin from the prequels.
With a star studded cast including the likes of Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso and Diego Luna as Captain Cassian Andor to name a few, the movie is not lacking in star power.
The plot summed up in short is “rebel spies steal secret plans”. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is joined by Rebel Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), turncoat Empire pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), snarky Imperial security droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), temple guards blind Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen ) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) as they search for her father Galen who is crucial to development of the Death Star.
Rather like Suicide Squad, Jyn Erso is an unwilling “good guy”. She originally has no desire to help the Rebellion, stating that the Imperial flag is not a problem if “you never look up”.
Jones’s acting came off as a little too deadpan for me sometimes; I don’t think her face ever changed from its calm blasé look and I was not a fan of it. Jyn is supposed to be a little jaded and battle hardened, but a little expression when it was called for would not have hurt.
On the side of the villains, menacing bureaucrat Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) seems a little too bumbling to be all that threatening, but serves his purpose as providing something substantial for the protagonists to fight against. Krennic brings to life the motivations and role of the “normal” people who served the Empire underneath the shadow of Emperor Palpatine.
The movie follows the fail proof Star Wars formula: small band of rebels stead an Imperial shuttle and somehow make things work. Plus, there’s a snarky talking droid – K2SO – who brings a sense of humor to an otherwise rather dark film. C3PO could talk, but in my opinion was annoying; on the other hand, K2SO was useful and sassy.
This was the first time composer John Williams did not compose the music for a Star Wars film. Instead, composer Michael Giacchino wrote the music and still managed to capture the essence of the franchise in his music.
The CGI Gran Moff Tarkin is eerily similar to Peter Cushing’s original portrayal of the character and his appearance helps to tie the film to A New Hope. I think the decision to digitally recreate Tarkin instead of casting a new actor is a tribute to Cushing; it speaks for the impact Cushing had and how he could not be replaced. Permission from Cushing’s family was obtained to use his likeliness.
One complaint I have with the movie is the fast paced action did not allow enough time to bond to all the new characters. The movie felt a little rushed, as if events were unfolding too quickly.
I would like to give Rogue One a solid 3.5/5, a good movie to spend the holidays watching and a worthy addition to the Star Wars universe.