A film that draws the dots and connects them.
Disclaimer: Although this is a spoiler free review, this review only makes sense if you have watched the Star Wars movies. If you haven’t yet watched them go watch them now!
Last year, Star Wars fans rejoiced the rebirth of the Star Wars saga, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and while the sequel for that is under works, Lucasfilms comes with the masterpiece Rogue One which is a Star Wars film of its own kind. It is very hard to say whether Rogue One is a sequel or a prequel, but Rogue One is a very good addition to the Star Wars saga. It’s a treat for die hard fans who have followed the franchise throughout the years.
Rogue One might be a standalone Star Wars film, but it reminds us of all the Star Wars films till date. It is amazing how a single line from the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is made into a film as big and as good as Rogue One. Make no mistakes, the timeline of Rogue One is nowhere near close to the recently released Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Rogue One is before the Skywalkers, before the princesses, before the Han Solo’s and Chewabaccas. Rogue One is the story of the heroes, before the heroes.
The script revolves around the events at the time when the Death Star is being built by the Empire. The protagonist Jyn Erso, is the daughter of Galen Erso, the scientist who is forced to build the Death Star by the Empire’s director Orson Kennic. Having escaped from the hands of the Empire as a child, Jyn Erso grows to be a rebel and a mighty one that is. The Rebellion sends her to make allies with Saw Gerrera on the moon Jedha (remember anyone?) for getting the message about Death Star which was sent through a pilot who works for the empire. The rest of the movie is about how Jyn Erso manages to unite the rebels to steal the schematics of the Death Star which contains the information on how to destroy it, which was willfully planted by her father Galen Erso. As the film nears the end, Star Wars fans are bound to get goosebumps to see one of their favorite characters and how everything falls into place.
While the story doesn’t sound too complex, as one goes about watching the movie, every bit of their Star Wars memory is tested. The movie makes references to both the old Star Wars and the not so liked millennial Star Wars, which was released between 1999-2005. There are many Easter Eggs and references to put the pieces together. Although this is a standalone film, director Gareth Edwards makes sure not to get us a feel of the original Star Wars trilogy with superbly directed battle sequences. The visual effects are on point which rightly balance the new technology with the feel of the old films. Special mention to the CGI for recreating the character Grand Moff Tarkin, which was played originally by the late Peter Cushing and for another surprise character, which I won’t tell you! The background score slightly lacks the feel of the original Star Wars at times, but that is understandable considering that this is not technically a Star Wars sequel.
There aren’t many top billed actors in the movie, but the chemistry between the leading actors makes up for it. Felicity Jones reminds us how the female lead characters are creating their own space in the present Hollywood. Diego Luna as Cassian Andor is impressive. Ben Mendelsohn as the primary antagonist might not be as terrifying as Darth Vader, but has quite an impacting presence. Alan Tudyk brings the much needed humour at times with his voiceover for the droid K2SO, the character which has already created a lot of buzz on social media. Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen play small, but vital roles in this film. The duo of Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang is a treat to watch. Last but not the least, James Earl Jones lends his voice to the character Darth Vader yet again, whose role is well written to fit in this movie’s premise.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story may not be the magnum opus of the Star Wars, but it perfectly fits into the saga. Make sure you refresh your knowledge of the Star Wars franchise before watching this movie. Rogue One is beautiful, action packed, nostalgic and above all, emotionally captivating.