Film Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Tuesday 7 February 2017 by

Rogue One, Star Wars, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Film, Princess Leia, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelson

It’s never easy reviewing a Star Wars film, because there’s always so much secrecy around it that you never know what you can/should talk about, and what counts as a spoiler. The same goes with the latest in the franchise – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Rogue One doesn’t sit in the usual group of Star Wars films – it’s not an “Episode”. Rather, it is an offshoot of those stories. It tells the story of Jyn (Felicity Jones) and her part as the team of rebels race to steal the plans for the Death Star. If you know the franchise, you’ll know this is the action that takes place just before Episode VI, when Princess Leia manages to sneak the plans to the rebels.

This is more of a film for the fans. If you’ve watched any Star Wars films (especially the classics), you’re probably going to love this film, because it’s basically an ode to them. It’s the ultimate fanfiction. And there’s something delicious in that. Gareth Edwards has taken all of the action and explosions and excitement of more modern space operas, and compressed it in to something that pays tribute to the 1970s iconic classics.

The technology, the visuals, the costumes, and even the dialogue, all play in to the hands of Episode VI, with added oomph from the more modern CGI. And with Jones at the helm, you’re in safe hands. However, I have to pay tribute to Diego Luna, who plays Cassian, because his performance is beautiful. I love that there is a female lead, but the surrounding cast make all the difference.

You already know where the film is going – they succeed in getting the Death Star plans to the rebels – but it’s the journey there that you don’t know (and I’m going to try really hard not to spoil it for you). I will mention one bit – and that’s the fight scene on the beach. It’s full of all the appropriate drama and explosions, but this is the bit that tugs on the most emotions – even Jyn’s relationship with her father (Mads Mikkelson) doesn’t quite do it. It’s only at this point that you realise exactly how this film is going to end. Plus, the final few scenes, with the race to get the plans to Leia (and her special appearance at the end – which I don’t think is spoiling it for anyone) are really heart-pounding.

I’m a Star Wars fan. More specifically, I’m a fan of the original three films. And although I enjoyed The Force Awakens well enough, I feel that this one is truly going back to its roots. It suits the genre of space opera, and its blindingly fantastic cast make for one of the most pleasurable couple of hours viewing I’ve had in a long time. I do wish there had been more jokes though – it feels like an oversight, as the original Star Wars films never shied away of dropping a tongue-in-cheek nudge to its audience. This one is far more serious (a sign of the times?) and occasionally you’d appreciate a moment of light-heartedness. You smile more often from the little moments that pay tribute to the franchise – something you’d only get if you knew the Star Wars films inside out. But nonetheless, I would argue this is one of the best Star Wars films since the 1970s trilogy. And that’s saying a lot.

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