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Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, and Ben Mendelsohn.
Star Wars returns to the big screen and marks the first in the spin-off of Star Wars. It feels weird having another Star Wars come out so soon after last year’s outstanding Episode Seven. The Force Awakens felt like an event, I was at the midnight screening and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at a cinema. I just hope they don’t fall into the trap of dishing out one Star Wars film after another.
I had no clue about anything in regards to this film prior to watching it. No idea who was in it, the story, nothing. Much like with The Force Awakens, I went into the cinema with no pre-judgments about the film or high expectations. I did know how it slotted into the timeline, and I also knew that some guy called “Darth Vader” would appear.
Set between the events of Episode three and four, The Empire have recently constructed the Death Star and all planets surrounding it are fearing for their existence. Word is spreading that a Star Destroyer is lurking around them. There is also a group of rebels that have knowledge about how to destroy the Death Star and where its weak point can be found. The main journey of this film is about this band of misfits gelling together to put a stop to The Empire’s plans.
I did have some apprehension when Rogue One was announced. I thought Disney was going to make Star Wars its cash cow and milk it for all it’s worth. The amount of merch in my local Disney Store is too damn high! Saying that, I just bought a Black Series Darth Vader action figure from there in the sales. Beautiful looking figure. Will I do a review of it? Tune in soon.
When I heard that Darth Vader would appear, I was interested. Now that I’ve seen the film, holy shit, Rogue One is a beautifully crafted film.
I want to get my negatives out of the way first. The pacing of the film at first is very slow, and that’s understandable because we’ve got all these new characters that need to be introduced. My second gripe is Felicity Jones as Jyn. I just felt they could have done so much more with her character. She’s supposed to be the leader in this film but I didn’t buy into it. She had great chemistry with the rest of the rebels and had displayed some solid acting in certain scenes, so it’s not all bad news. My final negative, and this is me really nit-picking here, is the AT-AT Walkers. ‘Member that scene in Empire Strikes Back where Luke and the rest of the rebels are having a hard time taking these guys down and end up tying their legs together? These carnations of the AT-AT Walkers take a few hits to the legs before they buckle under the pressure.
Now we’ve got the negatives out of the way, let’s move on to the positives.
The visual effects were outstanding. I really hope this film gets the recognition it deserves because I’ve never seen such amazing CGI blending in smoothly with practical prop work. I knew about Vader being in it (I’ll get to him soon, I promise), but there was one character that I never expected to appear. You know who it is when you see it. I couldn’t find fault with it. It was scary! It really got a few murmurs in the theater, that’s for sure. I’m excited to watch the behind the scenes featurette on the DVD to see just how the hell they did it!
The story takes place around the events of A New Hope. It was very well done, a lot of throwbacks, little tips of the hat, a lot of fan service was thrown in there. It ties in perfectly with Episode Four. A friend at work said, and I agree with him completely on this subject, that you could watch Rogue One and A New Hope in one go and it will feel like one big movie.
The show stealer here is K2S0 (Sorry, HBK). Alan Tudyk did the motion capture and voice work for this guy. He was hilarious. Imagine C3P0 as a moody, rebellious teenager with a quick wit.
The battle scenes blew my mind. You had Tie Fighters, X-Wings, AT-AT Walkers, and Star Destroyers going full force. I’m very tempted to go and see this again in IMAX, however, Christmas and a shitty wage from work have double teamed my candy ass.
Let’s talk about Darth Vader. Fuck me dead, he was a bad ass. There’s a reason why Darth Vader is the greatest movie villain of all time and that’s demonstrated here. It’s everything you love about the character and more. I don’t want to go into spoilers but I will say this, I’ve never seen Vader like this before. He got one hell of a push and was booked like a monster heel. I want to see more of his Vader. He was terrifying.
Rogue One is an excellent film. It was an amazing time at the movies. I’ve never had such an adventure at the movies in a long time. The last film to make me feel that way was The Avengers. It takes you out of the real world and throws you into the thick of it all. The six-year-old version of me would have been bouncing in his seat, pretending to shoot my ray guns at the X-Wings and Darth Vader.
I had a fantastic time watching Rogue One, despite the pacing issues and Felicity Jones.
Disney have proven themselves. I thought they were going to be milk it but no. They’ve put care and heart into it. I hope they do more of these anthology series or spin-offs because they have something good going on here. Here’s to that much rumored Han Solo spin-off I’ve heard so much about.
A great addition to the legendary Star Wars series.
Rating: **** ½ (Champion)