The Force Awakens felt like JJ Abrams had found the heart of the Star Wars Franchise. Rogue One A Star Wars Story Feels like Gareth Edwards found the Soul of the Star Wars Franchise! It feels Empire Strikes Back Good! As a huge fan of the Star Wars Franchise, this movie did indeed leave me in tears. Tears of Joy and sadness in almost the same time. I say this because there is just too many ways and words I can use to express how much I loved this movie. And I actually did tear up.
Some Background Stuff
Rogue one is set at a time just before Episode 4 – A New Hope in a galaxy far far away. A massive weapons test is about to take place after the completion of a new Imperial weapon called The Death Star. A group of Rebels finds a way to infiltrate an Imperial base in which they will try to steal the plans for The Death Star.
Rogue One is the first standalone movie in a Star Wars Anthology series. There has been talks and announcements of other solo movies that will focus on characters like Han Solo and Mace Windo. At first, this movie just seemed like a way for Disney to safely make up all that money it paid over to George Lucas. It’s a sure bet given the Intelectual Property used in this movie (Darth Vader, Death Star). Whatever the intention, this movie has been executed superbly!
There are some great moments in Rogue One that I best left to be watched and reacted to for the first time when watching the movie. I am assuming that you have watched the movie because I am going to spoil all the surprises in this movie. Well most of them because there is so much to talk about.
There very first moment of the film has that old fashioned familiar image of “a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…”. You anticipate the epic Star Wars theme and wall crawl afterward but the movie just cuts to the planet Lah’mu, where a team of imperial soldiers are trying to recover a head research scientist, Galen Erso (perfectly played by Mads Mikkelson). These soldiers are in fact ‘Death Squad Troopers’ and weapons developer Orson Krennic. The Death Squad troopers look insane and with Krennic in the middle of the crew in all white/gray, you know they mean business.
Recruiting a Man to Build a Death Star
Ben Mendelsohn does a good job of delivering a creepy performance akin to Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds. It is that calm, collective yet evil man at your doorstep, politely asking you to obey his wishes. Krennic, however, wishes that Galen Erso comes with him and assists him to build his Death Star which will be used to destroy Planets and other civilizations. And Krennic also so happens to have a group of bad ass death squad troopers by his side.
Building a Death Star with a Weakness
Galen Erso, who is loyal to the Rebel Alliance, agrees to go along and build The Death Star for Krennic (because they will probably get someone else to build it). He does this also with the intention of building it with a weakness that can be exploited by the Rebels. That weakness is seen in the first trilogy when Luke Skywalker takes a simple shot trough a portal to defeat the Death Star. Back then it seemed like such a childish and simple way to destroy the Death Star. But the explanation of Erso creating a weakness just adds a whole lot more credibility to the Star Wars Mythos.
A young Jyn Erso, Galen’s daughter escapes this ordeal (but his wife was not so lucky). Jyn was later extracted from here hiding place by Saw Garrera played by the great Forest Whitaker. Garrera is a Rebel extremist who fights against the Empire, but by his own rules and terms. No on really knows about his whereabouts. But when he is revealed later on in the movie, he is seen with robotic feet. He also uses a breathing apparatus that is built into his half robotic suit. Ol Saw has definitely seen better days. Whitaker’s performance is weird at first but is a great choice for this sort of role.
K-2S0 is Awesome
We cut to the future when Jyn is grown up and is held captive. She escapes with the help of Rebel Alliance Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2S0. K-2S0 played by Alan Tudyk is a very welcome addition to the Star Wars Franchise. At the beginning of his introduction, they say upfront that he just says whatever comes into his circuits. There is no real filter between what he is thinking and saying. He speaks the truth knowing the consequence and he understands and is fully aware of it. People were afraid that this character will become the next Jar Jar Binx. K-2S0 is far from that.
Cool Addition of New Characters
Diego Luna’s performance was amazing. He truly brought out the best within himself as an actor and fits the role perfectly. Cassian, Jyn, and K-2S0 travel to the planet Jedha in search of Saw Garrera in order to get more information on the whereabouts of her father. While on the planet they meet Chirrut Imwe and his pal Blaze Malbus. Chirrut being a blind warrior who believes strongly in the force and his protector Blaze who is a Rebel Mercanery. The two join forces with Jyn as they find their way to Saw Garrera’s hideout.
Bodhi Rook played by Riz Ahmed is a defected imperial pilot who delivers a message to Saw Garrera on the planet Jedha. The message turns out to be a hologram from Galen Erso informing Jyn and Saw about the weakness he created within in the plans of the Death Star. In a very touching scene, Jyn, after seeing the hologram image of her father for the first time in years, has to try and understand his plans while being in the emotional state that she is in. While all this is going on, Krennic tests out the Death Star on the same planet that they are on. The group barely escapes in what would be a breathtakingly awesome destruction sequence of that planet.
Vader is Hardcore!
Krennic visits Vader on a lava-filled planet. The planet seems to be similar to the planet where Anakin Skywalker was defeated. His ship lands in a dark palace that’s built on top of a pool of lava. The palace is the home of Vader, who in this movie has totally reclaimed his role as the baddest bad guy of all time. Voiced once again by James Earl Jones, Vader is dark, brooding and menacing as ever and is at the height of his evil madness and the height of his journey trough the dark side. Although a short scene, it is an absolutely satisfying experience.
Bodhi directs Cassian to the planet Eadu. Galen Erso and his team of scientists are based at a research facility here. Krennic also arrives on the scene after finding out about a message that was sent to Saw Garrera. Krennic executes all the scientists as punishment for Galen Erso’s message. During this, a group of Rebel X fighters attacks Krennic and Galen is killed in the exchange. He still manages a few last words to his “Stardust”, Jyn Erso.
After hearing about Jyn Erso’s experience, The Rebel Alliance reject her claims and do not participate in any mission to extract the plans for the Death Star. They do however join the fight later on. The Rogue One crew infiltrate the beautiful planet on which the plans are kept. Every character takes n the role of a soldier and attacks the imperial soldiers, ready to die. Jyn, Cassian, and K-2S0 sneak into the building that houses the plans while the rest of the group set up explosions.
Epic and Tragic War Movie
A really emotional scene is when K-2S0 tries to hold off a barrage of soldiers. This is while Jyn and Cassian get ahold of the plans. K-2S0 does his best but is killed at the end. You know a movie is good when you actually feel like shedding a tear for a robot! The Rogue One group manage to infiltrate the Imperial base, radio back for help, steal the plans, and break the shield in order to broadcast the plans back to the Rebels (with the help of a little backup in an amazing space battle scene). A great scene is when the Rebels use an Imperial Destroyer to take down the shield of the planet.
One of the Best Endings in Movies for this year?
The last 15 minutes of this movie certainly made me cry. I shed a tear for the emotional ending of our two main lead characters holding each other, while they die, on the beach while looking at the Death Star beam exploding the planet. But the next scene made me weep in excitement. The end hallway scene when Vader takes out his lightsaber and all hell breaks loose. We have always heard but never seen what a bad ass Vader is. This scene demonstrates his power and skill in about 60 seconds. Probably the most enjoyable 60 seconds in movies this year.
Darth Vader takes out an entire hallway of Rebels in the hopes of getting ahold of the Death Star plans. We have seen Darth Vader deflect single shots in other movies, but we never saw him deflect multiple shots like how he did before as Anakin Skywalker. He moved slowly or at his Darth Vader pace which was believable, but his wrist work on his lightsaber was insane! The disc with the plans then ends up in the hands of a young Carrie Fisher 70’s looking Princess Leia. This movie leads right into the original trilogy. You can now turn on episode 4 and continue with this story.
Lord Vader will take care of this…
An Amazing and Great Looking Movie
The design of this movie is brilliant. It looks like Star Wars from the 70’s. The control panels on the Death Star and on everything else looks like a futuristic 70’s sci-fi film and is so true to the original. The costumes are also reminiscent of the original Trilogy. Cassian even wears a jacket that looks similar to the jacket that Han Solo wears in the original. Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia were played by live actors and were digitally altered to represent Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher.
Rogue One is truly a once off story. You go into this movie being introduced to some really amazing characters who are all killed off at the end (but Darth Vader lives). There is never going to be a ‘Rogue 2’. This is what makes this movie so awesome and a brilliant deviation from not just the Star Wars franchise but from all other big blockbuster franchises. It is a true War movie that has a beginning, a struggle, a victory, and a gratuitous and beautiful ending. Everyone gives their best performance and they go all out because they know that they will be killed at the end of this movie. That formula makes for probably the most inspired Star Wars movie ever made.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
A Star Wars Movie that is just as good as Empire Strikes Back! Excellent Fan service, just like The Force Awakens, But arguably a better movie because of it not needing to include outside plots to build up other sequels. Great for Those who haven’t seen any Star Wars movies too because it’s just a good quality movie and can be a good introduction to the Star Wars Franchise.
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Hi. I’m Jameel. I’m a Technology Blogger who loves reviewing stuff and voicing my opinions on anything. I hope you find my reviews helpful while having fun on my website.