Let me begin with a long disclaimer on my views on the whole Star Wars franchise first, as “Scholars” of the franchise may thrash this review. I never had the opportunity to watch these films in my childhood as this movie was not there in my 16 channel cable TV connection. So I watched the entire franchise very recently as George Lucas decided to come up with Force Awakens last year. As someone who hasn’t found the original series much amusing, Force Awakens wasn’t a great film in my perspective.
So lets talk about the spin-off (stand alone) movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Directed by Gareth Edwards, this franchise prequel is a better movie that tries to be fresh by not following the typical notions of a star wars movie. From Droids to space ships and fighter planes, the quintessential elements of the franchise was there, but the story here this time had the feel of a realistic struggle and with the help of technology, Gareth Edwards manages to make the proceedings look grander on scale and thus Rogue One ends up as an impressive story narrated engagingly.
Jyn Erso, the daughter of Galen Erso, the tech head behind the creation of Death star is the main protagonist here. The creation of the Death Star has caused concern among the rebellion and the movie is about the efforts of Jyn and her team to retrieve the data that could help the rebellion in the future.
I hope there wasn’t much of a spoiler there in that summary. So Rogue One is actually devoid of the typical Star Wars movie’s atmosphere. The initial films that used the old school puppet techniques to create visual wonders were confined inside the dark space area, which in my opinion made all those films look similar. Rogue One has more of a real war movie feel to its credit. To be honest I felt that last Force Awakens as a reboot of the existing Star Wars film, rather than a continuation. With Rogue One you won’t feel such repetitiveness in the theme. The plot has genuine emotional conflicts and even though it has the usual “rebels taking down the mighty” feel to its theme, it’s actually a refreshing take in a Star Wars universe.
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso has that graceful screen presence to be that determined leader. Mexican actor Diego Luna does well as Cassian Andor. Prominent names like Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn and Forest Whitaker are there in cast portraying important roles. Donnie Yen as the blind warrior and Riz Ahmed as the pilot Bodhi were also memorable.
Gareth Edwards succeeds in giving the movie a perspective of his own. Like I repeatedly said in the previous paragraphs, the mould isn’t that typical. The action looks more real and it is happening on the ground mostly. How often do you get to see coconut trees and beaches in a star war movie? The story may not have any out of the box charm, but the screenplay builds the excitement nicely and with the breathtaking last half an hour or so which shows the rebellion’s attack, Rogue One only gets better. Visuals have more brutality in depicting combat sequences. The visual effects are pretty good.
For the franchise fans, this movie is definitely a treat and for the rest like me who only got to know this universe of Jedi, Force, Emperor, Rebellion etc. very recently, the film is a little more refreshing and engaging when compared to the other movies.
Rogue One is a little more refreshing and engaging when compared to the other movies.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended