Film Review: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)

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Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller

Running Time: 132 minutes

Directed by: Gareth Edwards

Featuring: Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelson, Ben Mendelsohn, Forrest Whittaker, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen

Mon Mothma:On your own from the age of fifteen; reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined.”

Jyn Erso:This is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.”

The film we have all been waiting for has arrived, and it is a brilliant piece of Sci-Fi and it’s a Star Wars prequel, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, and like those other prequels it has an amazing cast and takes place before the now classic “Star Wars” (1977), and its on par with “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), as well as all this, it is a far superior product to last years “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015). However without last years effort this one could not exist and not in its dark ominous and dare I say it adult form.

Petty criminal Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is pressed into service by the Rebel Alliance when word is leaked in regards to an Imperial weapon of mass destruction – one designed in part by her father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen). It soon becomes apparent exactly what they are up against, and a team of misfits led by Jyn and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) races against time to obtain the means necessary to defeat this battle station.

Their primary obstacle is the full might of the Imperial forces, represented in the form of ladder-climbing douche-weasel Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). The Death Star is his pride and joy, as well as his path to the Empire’s inner circle – something the security leaks have put into jeopardy.

This film, directed by “Monsters” (2012) and (the remake) “Godzilla” (2014) director Gareth Edwards, brings together the film written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, into a singular vision that helps to explain the opening of the original “Star Wars” and why there was such an obvious flaw in the Imperial Death Star – geeks around the world will be very happy about that one. While there was some worry this year when reshoots were ordered, this has never really bothered me and has had no obvious negative effect on the film – most large budget movies have reshoots happen on a regular basis, it should not be a reason to be concerned.

Michael Giacchino seems to be the go to guy for modern scores and Disney seem to love him, here he has composed a score that fits in well with the accompanying John Williams pieces – an Oscar nomination perhaps?

Without giving away any spoilers, it is an interesting point that there are two characters from the previous “Star Wars” that are here and have been created digitally – to my mind they both work well but it will be different for different people. There are old characters that make an appearances from the Lucas prequels as well as Episode IV and they are most welcome – and almost a tip of the cap to those previous movies.

The action and special effects are of course as good as you would expect from a new Star Wars film, but it is the believability of the actors and environments they are given to work with that is the real strength of the movie. That, and the message of hope that of course leads directly into the title of the movie that comes after – “A New Hope” – it has real ramifications for the future of the franchise which leads us to “The Force Awakens” and the next few episodic films. It would be great to see or hear something of this adventure in the upcoming Episode VII.

As far as I am concerned this is a must see film and one that has made my top ten of the year – it fulfills the promise of what the George Lucas prequels could have been and offers hope for the future of the franchise and why it was a great investment for Disney.

Go see and enjoy a glorious Sci-Fi entertainment!

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