Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tells the story of the Rebellion who makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.
This was a film that I thoroughly enjoyed and definitely a lot more then last years Star Wars outing in The Force Awakens, though what made that film was John Boyega’s Finn as he has that charming charisma that would be able to hold any film. Out of all the new cast for the films post original trilogy, he was my favourite. As for Rogue One, the sarcastic robot voiced by Alan Tudyk was something that I never knew I needed.
There was a lot of pressure on this film to set up the episodic films that weren’t an addition the progression of the series like The Force Awakens. This is a very dark take on the film but fit so well between Episode III and Episode IV. At the final seconds of the film when A New Hope CGI Carrie Fisher was created, first seen from the back in her iconic Princess Leia costume before turning to face the audience in a draw dropping re-creation, I honestly almost cried. The last ten minutes is so filled with nostalgia that it would make any Star Wars fan cry with happiness. I honestly think that the main reason why I enjoyed this film so much is because the original trilogy was such an integral part of my childhood like many of the animated Disney films or Pokemon were for others of my generation. Even seeing the likes of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, or Harrison Ford reprising their roles wasn’t the same and maybe that was because the film that was created last year embraced the past a little too much and essentially re-creating a film for a new audience instead of taking inspiration like Rogue One and creating something new from it.
A contributing point to this could be that Rogue One was darker and more war orientated without completely ostracising the younger audience. It is a very adult movie at heart as we experience more of the war side of Star Wars rather then focused on a force user. We do get some ’lightsaber action’ towards the end of the film with an appearance from Darth Vadar but other then that, there are no jedi or force users apart form him. We got to see more of the locking of heads between Rebellion and the Empire, something that was mainly a backstory in many of the other Star Wars films with more of a focus on the journey of characters such as Luke or Anakin or Rey as they discover their force related powers.
Although the overall tone of the film was darker and more war like, with English director Gareth Edwards handling his role very well and creating a well rounded film, Rogue One was balanced out by various one liners delivered by my favourite character of the film — K2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk. He was the comedic relief with heart in a serious film and because of that, you’re drawn to his character and he stands out amongst the rest in a good way.
K2SO was probably one of the better developed characters, also, as many were limited only too this one film and you could see that they wouldn’t last more than this outing. This is completely fine as many of them were near perfect, especially in their casting, though I still had my doubts about Felicity Jones. These doubts were confirmed upon watching the film as she delivered her lines like they were stale in her mouth and portrayed absolutely no emotion in saying them. Though each of the characters served their purpose in regards to the film, she was by far the weakest with K2SO and Donnie Yen’s Chirrut a close second in his connection to the force and Star Wars law.
If you’re like many who didn’t read the companion piece to the film in Catalyst in the lead up to Rogue One, it’s still an enjoyable film that I would love to see again at the cinemas and plunged me back into the original trilogy that I loved so much. In saying that, the novel may have given more insight into the development of the characters and the meaning behind some of the events that occurred in the film as there’s unfortunately only so much you can include in the film without blowing the run time out of proportion.
One of my favourite scenes of the film was the final space battle were everything culminated and you could feel the tension coursing through you, as well as the rest of the cinema. It was nothing like The Force Awakens where I left the cinema ultimately disappointed and the third act falling considerably flat compared to the previous two. The third act was one of the strongest points of Rogue One and it strongly lead into A New Hope. With the help of modern technology, the visuals were on point as with many Star Wars films being way ahead of their time. It wasn’t a complete eyesore like some of the intense battle sequences in many of the Marvel or DC films of late and was very grounded, figuratively and literally. The majority of the battle was on the ground, which was great as it tied us in with the characters a lot more instead of showing off flashy special effects in the spectacle that was happening above them.
All in all, if it isn’t clear that I loved this outing, let me be clear right now — go and see this film. It’s worth your money and your time. It isn’t all about the lightsabers and the Skywalkers messing things up in the universe, though without them, we wouldn’t exactly have any Star Wars films, would we? As a film, it enhance’s A New Hope instead of copying it and immediately made you want to go and watch A New Hope as soon as you got up from your seat in the cinema. We finally have a big budget film, at least this year, that we can actually enjoy.