ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
BY THE COMMANDER
3½ (out of 4 stars)
I have been waiting a long time for this movie’s release and I can say it is worth the wait. Rogue One is the 8th film in the Star Wars franchise. This film is a prequel to the original Star Wars now known as episode IV and comes after the episode III so I guess this is IIIB? The last released film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), would actually be episode VII since it comes after episode VI, Return of the Jedi (1983) in the storyline. Rogue One bridges the gap between episode III, Revenge of the Sith (2005) and Episode IV, The Phantom Menace (1999). If you remember the order the films were released, it was episodes IV, V and VI, then episodes I, II, III. Next was episode VII, and now IIIB. Confused yet? Talk about episodes out of sequence. And of course, there are already episodes VIII and IX and an untitled Hans Solo Anthology in the works.
The most striking part of this film was the very beginning. Unlike all other episodes, at the beginning of each film, the Star Wars logo with its theme music and rolling storyline didn't occur. It threw me for a loop as that is the staple of the franchise. Just like the sci-fi cereals from the 1950’s it's almost a requirement otherwise it's not Star Wars. For a moment, I thought this was going to be totally independent and not part of the series but once the story got underway I understood where it fit in.
The story fits in the franchise as follows: The rebellion learns of the Imperial army’s new weapon “the Death Star” and plots a risky move to steal the plans in order to destroy it.
I saw this movie in IMAX 3-D and I absolutely loved it. The director Gareth Edwards did a great job bringing an international cast together and made the smallest creature come to life. The top cast. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) plays Jyn Erso, daughter of weapons designer Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royal). Diego Luna (Elysium), plays Cassian Andor, rebellion commander. Forrest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler), plays Saw Gerrera, who raised Jyn after her father was abducted by the empire. Riz Ahmed (The Night Of), is Bodhi Rook, transport pilot delivering a secret message from Galen to the rebellion. Donnie Yen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), as Chirrut Imew, once a Jedi, now blind. Alistair Petrie (The Night Manager), as the rebellion’s General Draven and Ben Mendelsohn ( The Dark Night Rises), as Orson Krennic, Leader of the Imperial forces. Special mention goes out to Alan Tudyk (42, Frozen), as robot K-2SO. His wonderful wit, sarcasm and sense of humor add comic relief as in earlier films. The entire cast did a wonderful job bringing the story to life. The cinematography was wonderful, advances in CGI really brought the intricacies of future spacecraft battles into focus as compared with the original 1980’s films. The fight scenes were spectacular and the aerial dogfights were mesmerizing. This film had everything going for it and then some. It's the type of movie I can easily see again and again.
The great cast, great cinematography, direction, music score and new aliens from outer space made this movie the hit of the holiday season. Go grab your light saber and head out to see it on the big screen if possible, in IMAX 3-D of course. This movie will be a big box office hit so grab a ticket early. May the force be with you.