Friday, December 16, 2016

Rogue One - Movie Review

Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Jiang Wen, Jimmy Smits, Genevieve O'Reilly and James Earl Jones.
Written by Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy and John Knoll & Gary Whitta.
Directed by Gareth Edwards.


This is exactly the type of side adventure I was hoping that Disney would do when they won the rights to the Star Wars franchise. We meet some new characters, we get some old ones (Bail Organa! Mon Mothma! Darth freakin' Vader!), and we have a movie that may fit into the timeline of the franchise, but there's something creatively freeing about knowing this is a stand-alone film.

The film centers around Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a prisoner who's rescued by members of the Rebel Alliance. She is the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), an engineer forced against his will to help build the Death Star. With her help, they believe they can steal the plans and find a weakness in its design.

Her motley crew eventually contains Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who has his own side mission; Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), a recently defected Imperial pilot; K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), a sardonic, reprogrammed Imperial droid who doesn't hide his opinions; blind warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen); and man-at-arms Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen). They all must elude the clutches of Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), the Imperial leader overseeing the Death Star who hopes its success will catapult him to becoming the right-hand man of the Emperor.

One thing I really appreciated were some surprises that they kept hidden from marketing. Over the next few days, those will all come out, but I'm glad I saw it without knowing all of the turns. I also liked the dark urgency of it. This rebellion feels like war, with guerilla tactics, stormtroopers minding their own business suddenly getting blown up, citizens stuck in harm's way. It shows how stakes were raised for other people in the galaxy, beyond the Skywalker family. It's probably the best Star Wars script since The Empire Strikes Back.

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