Film Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
“A long, long, long, long time ago…in a galaxy far far away…”
The last time we saw our heroes we found out where Luke Skywalker was hiding away, Kylo Ren betrayed his father and a new nemesis is plotting (yet again) to rule the galaxy. After watching the trailer, I was curious as to how this film would continue the story. I didn’t know anything more than what I saw in the trailer. Sitting there excited with my extra butter popcorn, I expected that this was a continuation from the last film’s cliffhanger, but pay attention to the subtle clues and the major character appearances and you will soon figure it out.
The movie’s title, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is explained by director Gareth Edwards during an interview with Empire magazine, “Rogue One is a military call sign to some extent, but this is the first film that’s gone off-piste and is not part of the saga — or the Anakin story — so it’s the ‘rogue’ one, you know.” If you haven’t seen the main movies, you probably wouldn’t care as much about what this movie does to the storyline. But if you HAVE, you might feel the way I do. It’s a good side story, but it was kinda meh for me as a standalone Star Wars story. It might provide some revelations and you’ll get that familiar “good guys vs. bad guys” vibe. What it does to the storyline? You’ll get more backstory to Star Wars as a whole.
After losing her parents to the Republic, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is orphaned and rescued by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), a trusted ally of her father, but their relationship has somehow dissolved, causing Jyn to lose all faith and trust in anyone she meets…until she experiences first hand what the Rebellion is up against and her faith is reinstated by a message sent by her father. The Alliance intercepts this message that a powerful weapon – you might have heard of it: the Deathstar – is being tested by the Republic and they acquire Jyn in hopes that she can help them get to her father. The Alliance makes risky maneuvers to retrieve the Deathstar plans in hopes to destroy it. I appreciated the call to action and the strong family element within the film, though. The film is about realizing your calling, banding together to fight for a common cause, courage and never giving up on the people you care about.
Yes, you *do* find yourself rooting for the good guys – as you do with the Star Wars movies – but the characters didn’t give as much to hold on to. If they gave me more than “you’re not the only one who lost someone” from Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), I might understand his passionate involvement with The Alliance and his pull towards Jyn.
Although, the movie is peppered with plot holes that might have been beneficial to the emotional strength of the movie if they were filled a bit more. It’s a good “filler” episode with a lot of “what’s” and facts and lacked a lot of “why’s” and emotion. It’s a good setup for the story that follows, but probably not necessary or essential to the main plotlines of the Star Wars story. It’s mainly a side story to gives credit to those that fought for the bigger cause, if you like that kind of thing. I mean, if it weren’t for Jyn and Cassian, the Alliance wouldn’t have the hope they needed to go up against the Dark Side, right? And between Donnie Yen’s martial arts and the laser gun show between the rebels and Stormtroopers, the action scenes were all that you could expect from a Disney-owned film. You could say that it was ordinary at best when it came to how exciting those scenes were.
The appeal of the Star Wars franchise will no doubt draw in the movie’s audience. The Disney name will bring in the younger crowd and the PG-13 rating will appease parents just the same. Bring the youngins. They’ll have a great time. Unlike how much a stormtrooper misses his target, you won’t miss too much if you wait to watch this on the smaller screen.