Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follows the small crew of rebel outlaws and misfits as they attempt to steal the plans of the Empire’s new weapon—The Death Star. Rogue One is the first of the Star Wars stand-alone movies and director Gareth Edwards comes out swinging with the most intense Star Wars film.

Release Date: December 16, 2016
Writer: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk

Rogue One is the story of a ragtag band of misfits, who take the ultimate step of bravery to steal the plans of the Death Star and in hopes of the saving the Republic. The movie starts on a desolate farm run by former Imperial scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelson). Erso is soon approached by the Empire’s chief architect Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) to build a super weapon, famously known as the Death Star. As Erso is taken away, his young daughter, Jyn (Felicity Jones), goes into hiding. She is soon rescued and raised by Rebel sympathizer, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) who comes from the Star Wars Clone Wars television show.

Years later, Jyn makes one last attempt to rescue her father and retrieve the plans for the super weapon. She is aided by her misfit friends and a small number of dedicated soldiers. Her band includes a morally compromised rebel soldier—Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), captured imperial pilot—Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), reprogrammed Imperial droid—K2SO (Alan Tudyk) and Jedi temple guards, Chirrut Inwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang).

It’s a different kind of Star Wars movie. Many of the filmmaking devices of Star Wars are discarded for more traditional story telling. Rogue One dispenses with the opening crawl and cinematic wipes, now reserved for the sagas. Rogue One for the most part is a war movie. What it lacks in character development, it makes up in great storytelling.

Rogue One is not perfect. A story that drags a little on the front end, where there is a great deal of revealing the large cast and talking about back story. But ultimately the movie moves quickly to the task at hand…stealing the plans of the Death Star. Star Wars fans know the ending, i.e. they steal the plans to the Death Star. Without giving away the entire story, Rogue One is the story of how far will individuals go and how much will they sacrifice for the greater good.

Already revealed is the return, not only of Darth Vader, but of Grand Moff Tarken and another surprise character. Technology we’ve seen in Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War, which created a young looking Michael Douglas and teenage Robert Downey Jr. In Rogue One, LucasFilm brings a character from the past into a fully realized actor with the exact facial features of the late Peter Cushing. While the likeness and performance of this CGI character was amazing, its imperfections are noticeable. We’re close, but will we ever be able to bring an actor back to life?

In the end, I left Rogue One feeling like my heart was ripped out. It’s a story of heroism and the price of freedom. The movie will leave you inspired and grateful that the Star Wars franchise has been left in capable hands.

9 out of 10 stars