Tony's Take

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY review

rogue-one-posterA Rebellion Built on Hope

In 1977, audiences were blown-away by the incredible space opera “Star Wars”, later-titled “Star Wars: A New Hope”.  As the film began, the opening crawl read:

“It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” follows that group of Rebel spies as they attempt the impossible.  It is a dark time for the Rebellion.  The Empire is growing increasingly-stronger every day; and now a rumor has come-forward that they have built a weapon that is capable of destroying planets.  Jyn Erso, the daughter of the man who supposedly designed the Death Star, has been found by the Rebellion; with the hopes of using her to find the whereabouts of her father.  Leading Jyn is Captain Cassian Andor, alongside an Imperial-turned-Rebel droid named K-2SO while picking-up a few others along the way.  With the Emperor and Darth Vader’s plans of controlling the Galaxy within-reach, it’s up to Jyn and her band of Rebel spies to steal the Death Star plans and give the Rebellion hope.

Felicity Jones stars as the rebellious Jyn Erso, a late-recruit of the Rebellion but a very important one.  Diego Luna plays Captain Cassian Andor, a pilot and a minority leader within the Rebellion.  Alan Tudyk brings humor and charisma to the film as the voice of K-2SO, Captain Andor’s droid.  Donnie Yen plays a blind Force-believe named Chirrut Îmwe.  Wen Jiang plays Chirrut’s loyal and ferocious bodyguard, Baze Malbus.  Ben Mendelsohn plays the delightfully evil co-designer of the Death Star, Director Orson Krennic.  Forest Whitaker plays a neutral combatant in the Galaxy and the former guardian of Jyn, Saw Gerrera.  Riz Ahmed plays a defected-Imperial pilot that joins the Rebellion, Bodhi Rook.  Mads Mikkelsen plays Jen’s father and the designer of the Death Star, Galen Erso.  Genevieve O’Reilly and Jimmy Smits reprise their respective roles as Mon Mothma and Bail Organa.  James Earl Jones returns to the “Star Wars” franchise as the voice of Darth Vader.  There are a few other characters in the film, but their names and the actors portraying them will be left out so you can be just as surprised!

©Lucasfilm

©Lucasfilm

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” brilliantly turns a few lines of text into a tense and wildly-entertaining story full of brand new characters that you love and a few familiar faces as well!  One of the first things I must say is Bravo!  Director Gareth Edwards paints-us a beautiful picture, showcasing plenty of action, heart, drama, and storytelling; truly deserving of its’ place in the “Star Wars” canon.  “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” marks the first non-episodic entry in the Saga (a standalone film if you will); offering us incredibly new and fun characters for us to sink our teeth into. If this is the caliber of film we can continually expect, I think all doubts will be put-to-rest.  While very much a Star Wars film, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” differentiates itself in many ways by being a “war” film as well.  The film is jam-packed with action!  The gritty, in your face cinematic style of Edwards is on full display; allowing you to fully submerse yourself into the film.  Both gripping and tense, the battle scenes are expertly-crafted and the space battle scenes remind you exactly why you fell in-love with the Saga in the first place.  The cinematography beautifully-captures the new planets and locales that are introduced to us, providing plenty of awe and wonder.  The film’s visuals are particularly impressive, Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic continue to one-up themselves each time; one effect is so seamlessly done that it truly will have you wondering, “How did they pull this off”?  But you’ll have to see the film to know what I’m referring to.

©Lucasfilm

©Lucasfilm

With last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the whole object of the film was the endgame.  In “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, the endgame is mostly known beforehand, so it uses this to its advantage; telling us a brand new story of a small group of people who did so much for the Rebellion.  You can’t help but to cheer on the new characters, especially Jyn Erso, Captain Andor, Chirrut Îmwe, and K-2SO in-particular!  They offer so many moments of humor, heart, and intrigue that you find yourself falling in-love with them immediately!  Tudyk’s K-2SO steals nearly every scene he’s in, delivering laugh after laugh.  The film has plenty of the old favorites, such as: X-Wings, Y-Wings, Tie Fighters, AT-ATs, AT-STs, Star Destroyers, and the Rebel ships, but it also brings plenty of new material to the Saga, such as: U-Wings, Tie Strikers, Shore Troopers, the intimidating Death Troopers, and the AT-ACTs.  “Rouge One: A Star Wars Story” also is the first live-action “Star Wars” film not to be scored by the legendary John Williams.  Fear not my friends.  Michael Giacchino composes a score that fits each scene, and the film as a whole, entirely well, truly giving you the feel of “Star Wars”.  This is no easy feat, by he certainly pulled it off!  As you would expect, the film has plenty of secret character, cameos, and story elements as well, each one more enthralling than the next.  But once again, you’ll have to see the film to find out!  “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” has a run time of 133 minutes, flowing flawlessly (and quickly) from scene-to-scene and leaving you selfishly never wanting it to end.  I was cautiously optimistic when the film was originally announced, but all of my expectations were met and exceeded by “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”; I left the theater with a GIGANTIC smile on my face and I cannot wait to see it again in IMAX on Thursday night!  It is fully deserving of its place alongside “Star Wars: A New Hope”; it is the prequel we deserved!

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” follows a group of Rebel spies as they attempt to thwart the Empire by stealing the plans of their new weapon, the Death Star.  The film features plenty of great action sequences, memorable and fun characters, and a brand new “Star Wars” story for fans to enjoy!  If you are heading to the movies this weekend, go see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”!!

clapbrd-004a-2576047clapbrd-004a-2576047clapbrd-004a-2576047clapbrd-004a-2576047clapbrd-004a-2576047 5/5

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY is rated PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action, in theaters DECEMBER 16TH!

 

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