Jake’s Take at the Movies: Rogue One-A Star Wars Story

Rogue One A Star Wars Story

(Poster property of Lucasfilm & Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Star Wars is in the middle of a massive comeback!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed over $2.068 billion worldwide and rejuvenated in the science fiction franchise that George Lucas built.

For the first time in franchise history, Star Wars released its first stand-alone anthology film. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, tells the tale about how the Rebel Alliance could find the Death Star’s plans and use those plans on several assaults on the massive superweapon, which take place in both  A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, respectively.

(Warning: Spoilers are ahead!)

Leading the Rebels on this suicide mission is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). As a daughter of the Death Star designer Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), her desire to fight the Galactic Empire came after the deaths of her father and legendary Clone Wars Warrior Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker).  Erso’s ragtag group of warriors have sketchy backgrounds.  Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) primarily follows orders without hesitation, while blind warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Len) instinctively trails the Force over the wishes of fellow soldier and mercenary Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen).  Rounding out the crew is former Imperial pilot turned defector Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and smart-cracking Rebel-owned Galactic Empire Droid K-2S0 (voiced by Alan Tudyk).

Opposing Erso and the Rebels’ quest to find the plans is Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), the Galactic Empire’s Director of Advanced Research, who shares a past with Jyn and her family. Also, Krennic also receives the lukewarm support of his superiors: Grand Moff Tarkin (Guy Henry and Peter Cushing [archive and advanced CGI footage]) and the omnipresent Darth Vader (voiced by iconic actor James Earl Jones).

(End of Spoilers)

When it was announced that Lucasfilm was going to make a one-off Star Wars film, fans were a little hesitant with the news. However, the quintet of director Gareth Edwards and storytellers John Knoll, Gary Whitta, Chris Weitz, and Tony Gilroy proved the doubters wrong with an excellent film that will make fans lean on the edge of their seats throughout the 2 hours, 22-minute film. The Weitz aGilroyory-penned screenplay tied elements from the first six volumes of George Lucas’ space opera, while successfully adding new foundations such as complicated characters and massive new worlds to the ever-expanding story.

Following the success of Daisy Ridley’s Rey, actress Felicity Jones stepped up to the plate and made Jyn a heroine that can inspire the franchise’s younger fans to find a support an actual cause and become leaders in their communities. Meanwhile, Donnie Len’s Imwe and Alan Tudyk’s K-250 are the Rebel Alliance standout performers. While Forest Whitaker and James Earl Jones are not heavily featured in the film, moviegoers can feel their presence when they make appearances in Rogue One.

Fans will be satisfied to find that several of their favorite supporting characters and familiar locations from the universe have made it into the film. They can expect to encounter Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits), Rebel leader Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), a particular droid duo and a beloved Rebel leader who makes a quick cameo at the end of the film.

Final thoughts & grade: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is one of 2016’s captivating films and propels the Star Wars franchise into a brand-new chapter in the classic cinema franchise. A-

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar