Synopsis: The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.
Review: If you haven’t heard about ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ by now. You’ve been living under a rock. But those that have heard about it will no doubt have rushed to see it at the midnight showing when it premiered here in the UK last night.
I didn’t feel the urge to go to a midnight showing because I hate the crowd. So instead I opted for a Matinee and managed to see the film on a 2D Screening in a cinema screening room that was virtually empty.
The film is very much a ‘Star Wars’ film in the sense that you have X-Wings, Tie Fighters, Stormtroopers and droids, but this film has a darker and much edgier feel to it than any of the ‘Star Wars’ movies to date.
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is the edgiest I think we’ll ever see the franchise go. It has a lot in common witch films such as ‘The Magnificent Seven’, ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Guns Of Naverone’, but with all the trappings of a Star Wars movie, but with Storm Troopers that can hit their targets.
The cinematography is beautiful and we are presented with all manner of environments throughout the movie. My favourite being the stuff on Yavin 4 and at the Empires information archive toward the end of the film. As well as a really cool looking market place in which we get to enjoy a nice little cameo from the two thugs that Obi Wan sorts out at Moss Eisly in ‘A New Hope’.
The characters in the film are well thought out and well acted, but the pacing of the film was so relentless that there was little hanging about as far as exposition stuff went. But we do get a few nice character beats and the droid character of K-2SO as voiced by the brilliant Alan Tudyk provided the few moments of comic relief in the film. It was more gallows humour instead of the cute comedy fans will be used to from past films.
Felicity Jones and Diego Luna as Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor are very much the two leads of the film and the two characters that we learn the most about. Both actors play their roles beautifully and there final moments on the screen our heartbreaking.
On the side of the villains we have a fantastic performance from Ben Mendelsohn as the egotistical Krennic who is put in his place on several occasions throughout the film by Grand Moff Tarkin who strikes a pretty good likeness of the late Peter Cushing thanks to some pretty fancy CGI. In fact the scenes between Krennic and Tarkin are some of the films best moments.
It was also great to see Darth Vader force choking people again. It brings the character back to the more scary and feared villain that we first met in ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’.
I loved this film, but do sense that it will divide the ‘Star Wars’ fan base given that it is a lot darker than ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’. Which is saying a lot.
A few months ago it was reported that the movie had to undergo some re-shoots to soften the harshness of the story. I have to wonder how much harsher it was because this movie would be perhaps a little to traumatic for the younger end of the audience that enjoys shows such as Rebels.
At one point in the film. The Rebels are getting ready to surrender because stuff has gotten so bad.
If I had one miner gripe with the film. It is the fast pacing. At times things were happening so fast that your not really given time to feel the emotional impact of some of the films more heroic moments.
All the actors worked their butts off and I particularly enjoyed Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang as Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus. Those two character deserve a movie of their own. We did not learn a lot about them in the film. But the banter between them was brilliant fun. They deserve a movie of their own. At least a guest slot in ‘Star Wars Rebels’ would satisfy.
To sum up and without spoiling things anymore than I have. ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ serves its purpose. It sets the story up for ‘A New Hope’ and I for one whooped at the closing few scenes and the brief appearance of Leia at the end.
- The Good: Strong acting, great Visual FX and Soundtrack
- The Bad: At times things happened so fast that you were not really given to much time to properly appreciate some of the bigger emotional moments.
- Visual FX10