A Few Thoughts On – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Rogue One is a good movie, and I am willing to call it great I think, I would Highly recommend it. But why?

Well, it’s an interesting look into the Rebel Alliance, to the backdrop of stealing the plans to the original Death Star. It follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) as well as others in a small group of rebels who are also on this task.

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Right the non-spoiler general opinions about the film first as well as the general plot.

The film conveys the WAR part of Star Wars. While it has done in the past to a smaller extent (And even further in the TV shows.), this film feels like war and does a damn good job of showing it. For example, in the originals I never felt that the main cast was in any immediate peril most of the time. However, in this movie, the characters always felt like they were in danger and could bite it at any minute.

Each character felt unique and fits pretty well within the Star Wars Universe, Erso is cool and “rebellious” (She runs from the rebels after being rescued by them in the early movie as an example of this). Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is a rather “grey” character, but of course, blah blah blah character development, blah blah blah Growth as a person, you know standard route for a character like this. K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) is the comedic relief, and he does a pretty good job, while also being an engaging character, I rather enjoyed his antics and they didn’t feel out-of-place, possibly my favourite character in the film.

Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) is a force sensitive character, while not being a force user in the sense of being able to move things with his mind. He is a skilled fighter using a bow/stick combo, while having the slight impairment of being blind, he is a wise person yet can crack a joke at some Stormtroopers expense. Then we come to Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) Chirrut’s partner who is a Mandalorian (Boba Fett is also Mandalorian), he is probably the character who is least interesting. He didn’t really do much par shoot things. Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) is a defect imperial pilot, a plot driving character, who helps with the infiltration and has some nice moments, but not much more.

There was also Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) who is a rebel that is deemed “to extreme” for the alliance and thus runs his own small rebellion on a planet, interesting but not much is done with it. Then we have Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) Jyn’s father and one of designers of the Death Star, we don’t see much of him, but is a vitally important character. Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) the main villain of the film, but more on him in the spoiler’s section. And of Course, Darth Vader (James Earl Jones (Voice), Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous (body) makes an appearance, he shows up only a little, but what we get is damn near amazing.

Right, heading into Spoilers now!

Alright, now I can talk about what I liked, most of it fell under spoiler territory, so here we go. I lied, Krennic is not the main villain of this….. Well he his, but he is just an underling to Grand Moff Tarkin (Played by Guy Henry as a voice match to Peter Cushing who was recreated through CGI for this film), it was amazing seeing him turn up in this, par that it was easy to see this was CGI and the voice was slightly off but I did not care. Of course, the man who came up with the idea of the Death Star in the first place would be in a film where the Death Star is heavily involved, it would have felt odd not having him around. And this is a man who can control Vader, Tarkin is above Vader in terms of command, before his death in A New Hope. Darth Vader is his bodyguard, you do not mess with Tarkin he was a serious threat.

To this, Krennic came across like Kylo Ren when being compared to Darth Vader, Tarkin is clam while Krennic is not. The perfect example of this is when they are about to fire the Death Star, a technician goes up to Krennic to tell him that they are ready to fire, he shouts “Just Fire already!”, a Kylo Ren esc reaction. Later in the film when Tarkin is in command, he just gives the soft “Fire when ready” and that is it, a much more menacing and respectable man.

And now we come to Darth Vader, he was handled almost perfectly in this movie. Also, he has a goddamn castle on Mustafar now by the way, and a butler type character – weird. Anyway, he is first introduced in a Bacta tank resting, out of Armor. Once being informed that Krennic has arrived he readies himself to go see him and then proceeds to tell him off for doing a bad job, in a very Vader way. As Vader is leaving the scene, Krennic tries to get in one last word, to which Vader replied by choking him and then, oddly cracks a “dad” joke about choking. The joke didn’t really sit too well, it just felt out-of-place.

Then his second appearance was…. One of the best moments in cinema this year. One of the last scenes of the film was Vader boarding a rebel ship to get the plans back. He gets aboard, then into a hallway which isn’t lit because of a power outage, meanwhile rebels are trying to get an unpowered door open. They notice something behind them in the dark, a single iconic breath and then the saber lights up the hall in a red tone. Vader then cuts, chokes and walks through the rebels who are handing the plans down the line rebel after rebel. It was amazing seeing this, truly fantastic stuff. this then lead to the shuttle from Episode IV and a small Cameo from a young (CGI) Princess Leia (Ingvild Deila), which was a nice little thing.

The films score was passable at best, par the original stuff by John Williams, there wasn’t anything memorable about the films music. Which is a shame, because the music of Star Wars is one of the most iconic things about it. But to be fair, Williams is a tough act to follow, so in that sense Michael Giacchino the films composer did an alright job. Another staple of Star Wars that was missing (although I did like that it wasn’t there) was the opening text crawl, it was jarring at first but I made the film feel different and I welcome different.

There were also small nods to Star Wars Rebels, the currently airing TV show. The ship “The Ghost” was seen at the rebel base on Yavin IV as well as in the final battle above Scarif. And the Captain of the Ghost was also name dropped, Captain Hera Syndulla, her being one of the main characters in the show. It was great seeing Rebels being acknowledged in the films, really driving home the stuff they do over there mattering.

So back to the main cast for a minute, they all die, which is expected. And they all go out in a satisfying and definitive way. I do wish I could see more adventures with Jyn, but alas it will not happen. Oh yes, I should also mention the space battles are fantastic, a spectacle and fun to watch. Good effects, good acting, good almost everything in fact. Some nice fan-service too, it wasn’t distracting from the main picture. SO, I would put it……… Oh I should do a quick ranking of Star Wars movies to say where it slots into. So, from Worst to Best;

  •     A Phantom Edit (A watchable condensed version of Episodes I to III)
  •     Return of The Jedi
  •     Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  •     The Force Awakens
  •     A New Hope
  •     Empire Strikes Back

Yea I think it slots nicely into there.

Right there we go that should do it for now,

Till next time!

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