When I heard that Rogue One was out, I thought it made sense for Disney to make the movie. After all, The Force Awakens was nothing but a remake of A New Hope so for Disney to go back to the lore of A New Hope makes perfect sense for the gutless wimpy company that created Mickey Mouse.
Rant off; now onto the movie.
Rogue One is the latest of the Star Wars movie and unlike The Force Awakens, it is very different from all the previous instalments of the franchise. More than any of the other Star Wars movies, this one was a war movie and in a way, it’s strange it took them so long to make a war movie of Star War because…well, the whole saga is about the never-ending war between good and evil right?
More importantly, the movie works!
The movie is about the construction of the Death Star and how it affects lives even before it began blowing up planets. The movie starts with Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic catching up with fugitive research scientist Galen Erso. Krennic need Galen to complete the Death Star and Erso's wife Lyra was killed in the ensuing confrontation. However their daughter Jyn managed to escape and is taken to safety by Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera.
Fast forward 15 years and we now see the adult Jyn in prison. However she was soon busted out by the Rebels. At the Rebels main base on Yavin 4, Rebel leader Mon Mothma informed Jyn that the Rebels broke her out for a reason; a pilot Bodhi Rook had defected from the Empire and he claims he got a message from Galen about the Death Star. However this pilot is being held by Gerrera.
Led by Rebel intelligence captain Cassian Andor and his droid K-2SO, Jyn travelled to Jedha in an attempt to extract Rook. With the aid of blind spiritual warrior Chirrut Îmwe and his mercenary friend Baze Malbus, Jyn makes contact with Gerrera who shows her a message from Galen. Galen had secretly built a weakness into the Death Star and directs them to retrieve the schematics from a high-security Imperial data bank on the planet Scarif to discover it.
However the Imperial knows something is up and Krennic orders a low-powered shot from the Death Star to destroy Jedha's capital, causing the death of Gerrera and his group. Grand Moff Tarkin congratulates Krennic on the success of the Death Star before using Rook's defection and security leak to take control of the superweapon. From there, it becomes a race as the Rebels tries to steal the plans from Scarif while the Imperial try to find out what Galen was hiding from them.
Just looking at the plot of the movie and you could tell that Rogue One is no remake. To me, that by itself makes the movie far superior to the imitative crap called The Force Awakens. Rogue One was also helped by some solid performances. Felicity Jones was solid as the lead, but I was really impressed by Mads Mikkelsen who made the most of a very limited role. His performance as Galen was nothing short of excellent and he even managed to make Galen’s dying speech work for him. Considering how ridiculous the dialog was, that took skill!
There was also some beautiful action in this movie. The battle of Scarif was sprawling and confusing, but that’s the way it usually is in war and the movie didn’t shy away from that. The movie also didn’t shy away from the deaths. I won’t spoil the ending but I must say I’m a little surprised by the final death toll of the movie.
I shall always say director Gareth Edwards, writers Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, must all be massive Star Wars fans because they successfully made a Star War movie that link neatly into the existing plot of the original Star Wars trilogy. As it has been widely said almost by everyone who had seen the movie, the end of Rogue One goes neatly into the start of A New Hope and that was great to see.
However not everything in the movie worked, especially the middle section of the movie. There was a lot of moving parts as the story jump from planet to planet, and not always for a good reason. It seems that the writers believe more locations equal to the movie being more epic, so prompt have the characters flying all over the place.
The movie also assumed you had watched all the Star Wars movies already. When Jimmy Smits showed up as Bail Organa, the movie assumed you know who and how important he is. Same goes for Mon Mothma, Grand Moff Tarkin, and several others.
Overall however, Rogue One is a fine addition to the Star Wars saga and gives me new hope (pun intended) that Disney is not going to destroy the franchise as I had feared after The Force Awakens. Watch it!