‘ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Rebellions Are Built on Hope
There’s no opening crawl; ‘Star Wars’ title and big music for this movie!
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is the eighth ‘Star Wars’ film to be made in the franchise. The film was released in 2016. It was directed by Gareth Edwards with the screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy and the story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta. This spin-off ‘Star Wars’ movie became a big hit.
On Wednesday the 28th of December 2016, I saw ‘Rogue One’ at the cinema. I greatly enjoyed ‘Rogue One’! It was an interesting and entertaining film that isn’t part of the main ‘Star Wars’ saga of movies. It’s more of a side-story featuring characters in a standalone setting within the movie series.
‘Rogue One’ is set between ‘Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’. It takes place when the ‘Star Wars’ galaxy is under the oppression of the Galactic Empire and has a group of rebels on a special mission to recover the plans of the Death Star weapon.
Like I did with ‘The Force Awakens’ in 2015, I waited to see ‘Rogue One’ after Christmas 2016 with the hype building up to its release. Thankfully I saw it just in time before 2016 ended. Seeing ‘Rogue One’ at the cinema was a happy experience for me, since it did feel like a classic ‘Star Wars’ movie.
The action sequences are impressive in this movie as well as the story and the characters. There are a lot of dramatic moments going on in this movie as well as presenting a world that feels rather gritty with the Rebel Alliance fighting back against the Galactic Empire and stealing the Death Star’s plans.
For December 2017, I had ‘Rogue One’ on DVD as a Christmas present. I was looking forward to seeing this movie again, especially after I’d seen all the other ‘Star Wars’ movies for my ‘Star Wars Film Review Season’ on my ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog as well as seeing ‘The Last Jedi’ at the cinema.
Like I’ve done with other reviews on ‘Star Wars’ films, I will identify what’s good and what’s bad with ‘Rogue One’. I’m sure that I’ll be sharing more positives things to say in my review about ‘Rogue One’ as well as negative. I’ll also share my nostalgic memories of watching this movie at the cinema.
‘Rogue One’ begins on the planet Lah’mu where research scientist Galen Erso and his family are hiding. But Imperial forces led by Director Orson Krennic arrive to take Galen Erso away to complete the Death Star. Fortunately, Galen’s daughter, Jyn Erso, survives and gets raised without her father.
15 years later, Jyn is now a young woman in the rebellion against the Empire. She’s rescued from an Imperial labour camp on Wobani and is brought to the Rebel Alliance. Jyn is recruited by the Rebels to find her father before she goes on the mission to recover the Death Star’s plans from the Empire.
What’s very interesting about this ‘Star Wars’ movie is how there’s not a definitive good side and bad side situation as in previous films. The Jedi are now gone by this point and the Rebel Alliance is just as treacherous as the Empire is. Jyn discovers for herself that there are those who want to kill her father.
Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso in the movie. I loved Felicity’s performances as Jyn. I’ve seen her before in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘The Unicorn and the Wasp’ with David Tennant. I’ve also seen Felicity Jones in the 2007 TV movie of ‘Northanger Abbey’ by Jane Austen. She was very good in that.
I was gripped by this movie with following Jyn Erso’s story and Felicity Jones delivers one of her strongest performances in her acting career. She seems to be doing well in the movies, matching to the likes of Carey Mulligan. I’m very sure that ‘Star Wars’ fans will love Felicity Jones in future years.
I enjoyed Diego Luna as the rebel captain Cassian Andor. Cassian doesn’t trust Jyn when she gets recruited to join him to find her father. He also shows no-nonsense and even kills an agent when given information about the Death Star weapon. He’s also ordered to assassinate Jyn Erso’s father.
Tension is built between Cassian and Jyn, especially after Jyn learns that Cassian was ordered to kill her father. But Cassian doesn’t obey his orders as he soon listens to Jyn once she’s received a message from her father on how to destroy the Death Star. Cassian joins Jyn on the mission to steal the plans.
I also enjoyed K-2SO, the rebel Imperial droid, voiced and performed by Alan Tudyk. K-2SO is like C-3PO, except he’s meaner and rather cynical. He’s been reprogrammed by Cassian Andor to serve the Rebellion instead of the Empire. This K-2SO does, but he can’t do it without remarks here and there.
At first, I thought it was like a man in a suit job like C-3PO was. But it turns out K-2SO is a CGI character voiced and performed through motion capture. This astonished me, since K-2SO looks real and believable on the screen. I would never have guessed that K-2SO was all achieved via the use of CGI.
Donnie Yen stars as Chirrut Îmwe (I can’t pronounce his name) in the movie. Chirrut is a blind warrior who believes in the Force. Now this is interesting, since when I usually see Jedi warriors with the Force, they usually fight with a lightsaber. Chirrut however doesn’t use a lightsaber when in combat.
It makes it more interesting that Chirrut is blind and is still capable of fighting. You could say Chirrut is like the Daredevil of the ‘Star Wars’ universe. He also happens to be one of the Guardians of the Whills, which were a religious order of monks within the city of Jedha, as Jyn and Cassian meet him.
Jiang Wen stars as Baze Malbus, a Rebel warrior and a mercenary with a big gun. He’s like the Machete (that’s the only way I can describe him) of the ‘Star Wars’ universe. He tends to shoot first and ask questions later. I must say that the big gun he carries with him fires impressive bolts of fire.
Baze also happens to be a long-time companion of Chirrut Îmwe. I wouldn’t say they were good buddies as there is friction between them. Baze isn’t a believer in the Force as Chirrut seems to be. But during the battle on the planet of Scarif, Baze begins to understand Chirrut’s beliefs in the Force.
Riz Ahmed stars as Bodhi Rook, a former Imperial cargo pilot who wants to defect to the Rebellion. He gets sent by Galen Erso to deliver the message about the Death Star weapon to Saw Gerrera. Unfortunately, Bodhi gets treatment under a lie-detector squid when Saw doesn’t seem to trust him.
Fortunately, Bodhi recovers from his traumatising experience with the squid and soon joins Jyn and the others to stop the Empire and to steal the Death Star plans. Bodhi helps out with piloting and communication tasks during the mission. He even gives Jyn’s rebel team a special name: Rogue One.
Yeah, that’s right. In case you’re wondering why the movie’s called ‘Rogue One’, it’s the name given to the team that Jyn leads to steal the Death Star plans from the planet Scarif. Rogue One includes Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, K-2SO, Chirrut Îmwe, Baze Malbus and Bodhi Rook. Where’s Rogue Two? 😀
Ben Mendelsohn stars as Orson Krennic, the Director of Advanced Weapons Research for the Imperial Military. He’s the one who recruited Jyn’s father, Galen Erso, to come back and complete the Death Star for the Galactic Empire. He’s so loyal to the Empire and is proud of his position of authority.
But even Krennic’s authority and loyalty have limits. This occurs when there’s tension between him and Grand Moff Tarkin during meetings aboard the Death Star and when he gets to meet Darth Vader in person. Krennic gets angry and frustrated as the Rebels come to steal the Death Star plans.
Mads Mikkelsen stars as Galen Erso, Jyn’s father. I’ve seen Mads Mikkelsen before since he was in the James Bond film ‘Casino Royale’ with Daniel Craig and was in ‘Doctor Strange’ with Benedict Cumberbatch. I didn’t realise that it was him in this movie after I watched ‘Rogue One’ at the cinema.
Galen is the research scientist who developed the Death Star weapon for the Galactic Empire against his will. He’d be considered a traitor by the Rebel Alliance. But Galen sends a message to Jyn on how to destroy the Death Star for the Rebels to win. He gets to reunite with his daughter before he dies.
Forest Whitaker, who I’ve seen in the film ‘Vantage Point’, stars as Saw Gerrera. Saw was a veteran from the Clone Wars (now that’s interesting) and a friend of the Erso family. He raised Jyn when she was a child after she was left abandoned once her father Galen was taken away by Director Krennic.
Saw however abandoned Jyn when she was grown-up and continued to fight against the Empire in his own way. I think Saw became cyborg as well as mad over the years. He doesn’t trust Bodhi Rook when he wants to defect to the Rebellion and puts him through a lie-detector squid to tell the truth.
Okay, what is with that squid-thing? How could it possibly tell whether Bodhi was lying or not to Saw? Also, I don’t think the squid did very much. And it wasn’t very impressive to look at. We also don’t know what became of it when the planet Jedha got blown up by the Death Star? Did it escape?
There were some familiar faces I was thrilled to see in this movie. The obvious of course was Darth Vader, now performed by Spencer Wilding (who’s been in ‘Doctor Who‘) and Daniel Naprous; with the voice still by James Earl Jones. I was pleased to hear the familiar Darth Vader voice in the movie.
I was also very thrilled to see Darth Vader on the big screen for the first time in a ‘Star Wars’ movie! I didn’t think I would ever get to see Darth Vader in a ‘Star Wars’ movie at the cinema. And it’s not just one cameo scene with him. He has a few scenes and he even kills some Rebels with a lightsaber!
There was also C-3PO, performed by Anthony Daniels and R2-D2, performed by Jimmy Vee making cameos in this movie! 😀 I didn’t expect them to make an appearance in this movie. It was such a nice surprise and very fan-pleasing for any ‘Star Wars’ fan. I suppose those two droids were off to appear in ‘A New Hope’. 😀
I was so surprised to see Peter Cushing reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin in the movie. No, seriously! Grand Moff Tarkin appears in this ‘Star Wars’ movie! I wondered how that was possible since this movie was made in 2016 and Peter Cushing had died in 1994. That cannot be right, can it? 😀
Okay, I know it’s not really Peter Cushing. It’s a CGI makeover, as Tarkin was performed by Guy Henry. But I have to tell you, I was surprised by Tarkin’s digital appearance. It’s a remarkable likeness of Peter Cushing and the CGI is well-done. They need to do it with ‘Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary! 😀
The movie also features Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa. Oh he was in the ‘Star Wars’ prequels and had agreed to raise Leia up during childhood! It was nice to see him in this movie. There’s also Valene Kane as Lyra Erso, Jyn’s mother who tragically got killed early on in the film before Galen was taken away.
I have to tell you, the movie’s climax is pretty amazing. The battle on Scarif takes place both on the planet surface and in space when the Rogue One team are attempting to steal the Death Star plans and when the Rebel forces are fighting the Empire in space. It’s pretty intense and there’s plenty going on.
There was a nice surprise at the end of the movie where a certain character makes a cameo appearance. This happened to be Carrie Fisher‘s Princess Leia. Again, this was another CGI makeover like Tarkin, but I was so thrilled to see Princess Leia at the end of the movie in her youth before the end credits.
This was very touching for me, especially after the sad news that Carrie Fisher had tragically passed away in December 2016. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher than to have her Princess Leia appear at the end of ‘Rogue One’ and declaring they’ve ‘a new hope’ for the Rebellion.
The music for ‘Rogue One’ is composed by Michael Giacchino, who’s done music for plenty of films including ‘Sky High’ and ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’. For this film, Michael Giacchino reuses a lot of the original ‘Star Wars’ music composed by John Williams to create his musical score in ‘Rogue One’.
Sadly, like with ‘The Force Awakens’, there aren’t any DVD special features for ‘Rogue One’. Again, this is very disappointing as all the behind-the-scenes material that you want to see for ‘Rogue One’ are on the Blu-ray release. I don’t know if I’ll get ‘Rogue One’ on Blu-ray after this, but I’m considering it.
The special features on the Blu-ray release are as follows. There’s ‘A Rogue Idea’; ‘Jyn: The Rebel’; ‘Cassian: The Spy’; ‘K-2SO: The Droid’; ‘Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills’; ‘Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary’; ‘Visions of Hope: The Look of ‘Rogue One’; ‘The Princess & The Governor’; ‘Epilogue: The Story Continues’ and ‘Rogue Connections’.
‘Rogue One’ was a great ‘Star Wars’ movie to watch at the cinema! It has plenty of drama, humour, action and tragedy throughout. I had a happy experience watching this movie at the cinema and enjoyed it more when I re-watched it on DVD for the review, as it’s a superb ‘Star Wars’ spin-off film.
This film also sets up things nicely with what is to come in the rest of the ‘Star Wars’ saga. Felicity Jones stood out very well for me in this great ‘Star Wars’ movie. I was so looking forward to watching more ‘Star Wars’ movies at the cinema both through the sequels films and in the spin-offs.
The Rebels now have the Death Star plans. Can they defeat the Galactic Empire?
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ rating – 9/10
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