IMDB Synopsis: The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.
You would think getting a Star Wars movie every year now would make the novelty wear off but nope, it’s still just as exciting and awesome as last year! Rogue One is the first of the Anthology spin off movies about a rag tag rebel team that steal the plans to the Death Star from the Empire. For those that may not know this movie takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Basically it’s a movie about what’s written in the famous opening crawl of the original Star Wars, A New Hope. Directed by Gareth Edwards, he really brought a sense of grand scale, and grittiness to the franchise and really put the “wars” in Star Wars.
This movie does a great job of crafting a story that fits almost seamlessly into the Star Wars universe. It moves at a brisk pace jumping from location to location. There is a bit of slowdown in the second act of the movie but it really picks up in the last act and it is so worth the wait! I was amazed how perfectly they got the same atmosphere and look of the original Star Wars with the sets and costumes, it was incredible. What the original couldn’t achieve with the tech and budget of the time that Rogue One could was just the sense of scale and how overwhelmingly imposing and powerful the Empire was. This aspect was visualized perfectly by Edwards for example the shots of Star Destroyers floating above cities or AT-ACT walkers up close or the massive number of Tie Fighters truly gave a sense of what kind of force (pun intended) the Rebels were really up against. This movie does many things really well the one place it really failed was the characters, they barely got any character development and some like Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and Baze (Wen Jiang) didn’t get any at all. K2-S0 (Alan Tudyk) the reprogramed droid was the highlight, he stole every scene he was in and hilarious in ways Jar Jar could only dream of being. Even the main characters Jyn (Felicity Jones) and Cassian (Diego Luna)had some development but had poor character arcs that were never really earned so their personality changes and growth just seem like they come out of nowhere by the end of the movie. There were several cameos, Easter eggs and references to the other movies strewn throughout the movie ranging from “very cool” to “that’s out of place” that as a fan really rewarded you.
So I need to talk about the end of this movie because the last 40 minutes of the movie alone are worth the price of admission! First of all, the space battles in this movie are by far the best in the series. The ground fighting was intense, frantic and exciting. It also did unique things we hadn’t seen in any Star Wars before it this especially true when compared to last years The Force Awakens. It’s filled to the brim with everything you love about Star Wars and there is one particular scene at the very end which is quite possibly my favorite scene in the entire series. It’s awesome and terrifying, if you’ve seen Rogue One, then you know what I’m talking about!
The performances of all these great actors were spot on and it does a good job of balancing them all. It’s just unfortunate that some of them had so little to work with. Donnie Yen especially I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t have more meat to his role. They definitely gave him some memorable moments with his comedic sense and of course they let his martial arts skills come across, but I wanted more from them all. I will say this the other stand out performance was Alan Tudyk as K2-S0, even though he was a droid he actually felt the most human out of all of them, his voice work is starting to become legend over the last decade or so. This is the first Star Wars film not scored by the legendary John Williams instead it was done by another one of my personal favorites working in the business today Michael Giaccino he does admirable job of creating a soundtrack the stands on its own while honoring Williams’ past work and incorporating it in. It just doesn’t quite have that memorable quality which I wasn’t expecting especially when it was said that this was a rush job that he had to complete with less than a month to compose the entire score.
I absolutely loved how Rogue One, not only was a fun self-contained story but how it just added new layers to the Star Wars universe and it especially enhances your viewing experience of Star Wars A New Hope. I particularly like how they address one of the biggest mocked plot holes of that movie. You’ll come out of this movie excited and ready to watch the Star Wars Trilogy all over again. With an intense action packed story, some of the best set pieces in all the series and fun characters this is one movie everyone will want to catch regardless of whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not. If you're interested to see where Rogue One ranks among the entire saga for me check it out here.