The highly anticipated Rogue One has arrived in theaters. This brand new type of Star Wars film is going to test how fans and the rest of movie goers feel about Star Wars overall. So, how did the film stack up?
The plot is based on some small bits of text in Episode 4, and takes its cue from scenes of that film as well. It tells the tale of how the Death Star plans were obtained in order for the Rebel Alliance to start to take down the Empire. But, is the movie truly original?
For a story with a few pieces that need to come together, it flowed really well and was simple to follow. For some it may be too simple. It wasn’t full of too many surprises and twists. It was easy to figure out what would come next. But, this was a story that we already knew the outcome of. This was not a story to blow our mind with what is being told. Instead, it’s all about the characters and telling a side of Star Wars we don’t normally see. It’s a story about the people, and not the war itself. And Rogue One delivered this well. Maybe not the best, but it was riveting still.
Jyn Erso was the central figure, with Captain Cassian Andor second. But, they weren’t the ones that are becoming fan favorites. Alan Tudyk as K2SO stole every scene he was in. Or sort of in. It was motion capture. The way I would describe this droid is the sassier version of C3PO. I’ve sometimes found Threepio annoying, and K2 was hilarious. Tudyk delivered his lines wonderfully.
The other scene stealer was Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe. He’s a mysterious force sensitive guy that saves everyone time and again. And, though he was mysterious he was still lively and likable. Yen got to have my favorite line in the whole movie as well.
Felicity Jones as Erso and Diego Luna as Andor did a wonderful job as the main characters. You could see the bond between them form. And they made these characters different from other Star Wars mainstays. It was delightful to see the inclusion of them in the Star Wars universe.
Director Krennic played by Ben Mendelsohn is a complicated villain in the world of very evil ones. His being a more subordinate to Vader and the Emperor allowed this type of complication. He doesn’t need to be completely evil. He can have other motivations. And he does. Mendelsohn did a great job. And the movie did a good job at portraying his complexity without it taking up a lot of time for the story.
In all, these characters are great for the ongoing saga of Star Wars. K2 and Chirrut are two favorites of mine already.
There is so much to set your eyes on in this movie. The locations are grand and numerous. There are land battles. There are ship battles. There are tons of chances for CGI throughout. Did they do a good job with it all? K2SO was the best CGI in the film. He was animated and rendered realistically. He didn’t detract from scenes he was in. There were two human characters that were computer generated that distracted audience. I’m sad to say I didn’t feel like we needed to see how we saw them. Meaning, they could have been a stand-in with their backs to us or just not at all, and things would have been fine. They were nice homages to the other films, but having them as weird computer people didn’t help.
Other than that, special effects were immense and satisfying. The ships produced made me wide eyed. This was an action movie where the effects were needed.
I was worried with the soundtrack. This is the first Star Wars film without John Williams at the music helm. And Michael Giacchino is very hit or miss with me. So, I was expecting some regurgitated themes throughout the movie. My conclusion, though? I feel like Giacchino put all effort into this soundtrack and did not on other movies he worked on these last couple of years. This soundtrack was incredible! I would dare say that if he takes over for John Williams in the future to score the saga films, it will be in good hands. Yeah. I said it.
The music reminded me of Star Wars, but was all its own as well. There were cues of themes from the other films, and definitely inclusions of music like the “Imperial March.” But, it wasn’t used extensively, and that was nice considering this is a standalone film from the rest of the series.
How does Rogue One stack up with me? It is already in my top 3 favorite Star Wars films! This was Star Wars through and through, yet different and still epic. They packed a lot in, yet still made it easy to follow and appreciate. My only complaints are not seeing the flow of motivation for the rebels grow well, and the two CGI people that distracted too much. One warning for if you haven’t seen it yet and considering it: This is not a happy film. You may leave with tears. But, where I don’t usually like those kinds of films, this was a great exception. I loved it! And I want to see it again and again. And lastly, for if you do see it, I have to ask: Have we been seeing the Death Star upside down all before this movie?