Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars: Rogue One is a pretty straight forward war movie. Not the best or the worst of the franchise, it will certainly satisfy Star War fans and probably be passed over by those who aren’t. This movie is a one-off prequel to the first movie (Episode IV) and answers the question as to why a weapon as powerful as the Death Star has a fatal flaw deep within its structure. It covers the period of the building of the Death Star and the method by which the Alliance gets its hands on the death star blueprints up to the time “A New Hope” kicks in.
We begin the story with the Empire locating Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen who was so great in Hannibal), the brilliant scientist who created the Death Star. Galen is hiding out with his wife and young daughter on what appears to be a remote moon. He had apparently escaped the Empire after creating the Death Star but is required back by the immensely evil Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn – the best part of the TV show Bloodline) who takes him back, kills his wife and tries unsuccessfully find his daughter Jyn. Jyn is rescued by a Rebel Fighter Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) and grows up to be somewhat of a sketchy low level criminal played by Felicity Jones. She is recruited by the Alliance to find Gerrera who has come upon a pilot (Rez Ahmed who was amazing in the “Night of”) searching for Saw with a message from Galen after having defected from the Empire.
Long story short, Jyn leads a band of rebels to steal the Death Star Plans and multiple battles ensure. We see several key players from Episode IV through the marvels of technology which I won’t spoil but adds to the fun. One nice thing about this film is that there is closure. The fate of each of the characters is known by the end of this stand-alone movie, we know how the Death Star plans were stolen and why it is vulnerable.
Rogue One is a B movie. The acting is fine (except the seemingly miscast male lead played by Diego Luna) although there isn’t much call for excellence in the action-packed sequences. The first hour of this overly long 2 hr. 15-minute film is a bit all over the place but the second hour settles in with better focus and battles. The musical score by Michael Giacchino is great with the appropriate tribute paid to John William’s original score. The screenplay and dialogue are ok but nothing to write home about. Star War fans will absolutely enjoy this film but if Star Wars and/or Sy Fy aren’t your thing, there is nothing truly compelling in this film that would make you want to buy a ticket.