Rogue One – A Star Wars Story – film review
After being brutally separated from her parents as a child, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) grows up thinking both parents are dead. Years later, she learns her father is still alive and part of the team working on the Empire’s new super-weapon: the Death Star. She joins forces with a small group to try to rescue her father and obtain the plans for the Death Star.
Rogue One is unlike any of the other Star Wars films. It has only a few familiar characters in it, and all of them make only limited appearances. The music is mostly unfamiliar. Everything about the film has a different feel. And that’s a good thing.
The motley crew of characters that gathers around Jyn are unlike any other “good guys” in the Star Wars series of films. Most of them are gruff and gritty, with no qualms about using shady tactics and actions. This grounds the story and gives it a realism not found in the other films. Andor, the rebel with a secret mission, was played well by Diego Luna, who I previously enjoyed in The Book of Life.
My favorite characters—outside of Jyn—include the reprogrammed Imperial droid, K-2SO (voiced by the ever-talented Alan Tudyk). He is not anything like C-3PO, instead being rather blunt and having no issues with killing those who oppose the Rebellion. I also really liked Îmwe (Donnie Yen). He brought a reasoned voice to the brash mannerisms of the rest of the crew.
The music in Rogue One, mostly by Michael Giacchino, was unique. No piece really stood out as truly iconic, unlike the music from John Williams for the first Star Wars film. However, the music worked well for this film, helping it establish itself as a unique story set apart from the main storyline in the trilogies. This may unnerve some people, but I found it fit this film.
The action and battle scenes worked should please fans of that genre, and the interesting characters make the tale appealing to those who want more depth. The director did a wonderful job making the audience care about all of the characters. This made the ending even more powerful. The only real quibble I had with the film: unrealistic data storage techniques. Even a backwater like Earth has better methods for that sort of thing.
I really enjoyed Rogue One, and I plan to go see it in theaters at least a couple more times. It is not the same type of film as the other Star Wars films, but that’s okay and works in its favor. Some of the scenes may be too intense for the younger crowd, so I recommend watching the film first before taking younger kids to it. If they can handle the first Hobbit film, they should be okay here. This is a very solid addition to the new Star Wars canon.
Release Date: December 16, 2016 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief social drinking)
Language: 1 (brief, all mild)
Violence: 3 (intense battle scenes, some brutal violence, many death scenes)
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