Tells a Familiar Story in a New and Exciting Way
Star Wars: The Force Awakens began a resurgence of Star Wars. Disney has now gone all in on making new Star Wars movies. In addition to the new episode of the franchise, Disney has begun to make anthology films, which are spinoff films that take place at various times in the Star Wars universe.
Rogue One tells the story of the rebellion squad who went on a daring mission to steal the plans on how to destroy the death star. The group is lead by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a rebel whose father was forced by the empire to create the death star. She is joined by a very unique group of people which include Cassian Andor ( Diego Luna), a rebel soldier who blindly follows the orders of the rebellion, K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) a droid who is sarcastic and very quickwitted, and other enjoyable characters.
Jones easily makes Erso a very likeable character in this movie. She is tough when she needs to be but is also very complex. Luna also does a good job showing a rebel soldier who slowly begins to question whether the actions of the rebellion are right or wrong. The actor who steals the show though is Tudyk as the voice of K-2SO. K-2SO is basically a more badass version of C-3PO. He's a bit obsessive, but he is very funny and can handle being in combat.
The other characters are also good in this movie, however, they are not well developed. Erso and Andor are really the only characters who are given backstories in this movie. Riz Ahmed plays a pilot who defected from the empire but the film never explains why he defected. Jiang Wen and Donnie yen play two long time friends who are very entertaining, but the movie never explains how they became friends or even where they came from. Forrest Whitaker gives a very unique performance in this movie, but his character is somewhat wasted.
Besides the rebels, the empire is also back in awesome form. Ben Mendelsohn plays Orson Krennic who is very menacing as a leader within the empire's ranks. He wants to control the death star and will do whatever it takes to protect it. Darth Vader also comes back in the movie. I was disappointed to see that he was not in the movie as much as I had hoped but when he is in the movie, he delivers. There are several other cameos throughout the movie, but I will not spoil them here.
Familar But New Story
The story in the movie is very basic and most fans of Star Wars already know what happens. What I do like is that this movie does clear up some plot holes that were in the original trilogy. For example, it answers why the death star has the hole where if the hole is shot the whole thing blows up. The movies is paced well for the most part, but it is a little bit slow in the first act. It takes a while to explain what the main goal of the story is. Although, the third act makes up for it. The third act is so action packed and is absolutely thrilling, especially the last 15 minutes.
Director Gareth Edwards does a great job at following the action and making it very exciting. The special effects in this movie are also fantastic. The CGI is mixed in seamlessly with the practical effects and makes the battles look very convincing. I also liked how the film feels like a war movie and not just a Star Wars movie.
One change I had a problem with was the lack of an opening crawl. There are many people who walked into this movie not knowing what it was about and I feel they needed something to tell them what they were about to watch. Also, the film still features the screen that reads "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." So, when this screen cuts away and goes straight into the movie it is a little bit jarring, but it is easy to get over.
This is the first Star Wars movie that does not feature a score composed by John Williams. Michael Giacchino steps in to conduct the music and he does a pretty good job. Obviously, it cannot compare to John Williams but it does sound similar to a standard Star Wars score.
Rogue One shows that there are so many stories within the Star Wars universe that can be told. This is a great first entry and it is easily the best prequel in the franchise. There are so many characters and worlds to explore within Star Wars, but it is also nice to see characters from the past. I cannot wait to see what else the Star Wars franchise has in store.