The expansion of the Star Wars universe is off to an outstanding start at Disney and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story just changed the entire game. The first stand-alone film in the planned anthology series, director Gareth Edwards’ war story centering around the legend of the rebel team that stole the plans to the Death Star is a tale many Star Wars fans have clamored to see and the director has delivered a unique, entertaining and satisfying film that will win over hardcore fans and novice alike.
Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) has been on the run since she was a young child. Her father, research scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), was forced to return to the Empire to complete the design of the Death Star by Imperial Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) which, in turn, sent Jyn into hiding with the help of her father’s friend Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Fifteen years has passed and the memory of her father still haunts young Jyn. An imperial pilot named Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) has defected and smuggle a message to the Rebel Alliance with information crucial to their cause. The rebel forces have located Jyn with the hopes of recruiting her to help find her father and discover the secrets of the monstrous weapon. Rebel Officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) accompany Jyn on a mission to retrieve the message from Bodhi Rook on the planet Jedha.
After an encounter with imperial troops, the trio are aided by warrior Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and mercenary Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) who join the cause to help Jyn retrieve her father. Quickly the mission becomes more about the preservation of the galaxy and the team set their sights on stealing the plans to the Death Star at the high-security base on the planet Scarif. The time is now for the rebels to take their stand, to secure the safety of the galaxy and destroy the most valuable weapon in the Empire’s arsenal, the Death Star.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a near perfect cinematic experience. Director Gareth Edwards and cinematographer Greig Fraser elected for a raw, gritty feel to the film and the tone plays to the subject matter perfectly. The script by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy is smart and engaging and doesn’t over complicate the objective of telling this war story. Each frame of the film was envisioned with excitement and respect for the Star Wars franchise and the filmmakers have created an outstanding compliment film to the original trilogy. Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed and Wen Jiang, the members of the Rogue One team, were perfectly cast in their respective roles. The voice of Alan Tudyk for K-2SO added just enough comedic relief necessary in the right places. Mads Mikkelsen, in his limited screen time, helped enrich the emotional journey for Jones’ Jyn and provide the redemption factor we all come to know in the Star Wars universe. The stand out star in the film to me was Ben Mendelsohn. His menacing performance as the main protagonist never fell into cliche’s and provided a satisfying character arc.
Overall, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an exceptional movie to be enjoyed on the biggest screen you can find. The journey never wearies and it will enrich your love for the franchise a little bit more. Next up…Episode VIII!!
4 1/2 out of 5
After Credit Scene?