Okay, so first of all, I’m gunna split this review into two halves. One half will be spoiler free (if you’ve not see the film) and the second will be very much spoiler heavy as there are a lot of key moments I want to talk about. Okay then, on with the review…
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and stars Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Inferno, A Monster Calls) as Jyn Erso, Diego Luna (Elysium, The Book of Life, The Terminal) as Cassian Andor, Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Wreck-It Ralph) as K-2SO, Donnie Yen (Blade 2, IP Man) as Chirrut Imwe, Wen Jiang (Devils on the Doorstep, Let The Bullets Fly) and Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline, The Dark Knight Rises) as Orson Krennic. The film also features James Earl Jones, Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen.
Right, if you don’t know already, the plot of this film is the story of a small team of rebels who attempt to steal the plans to the Death Star in order to give the Rebel Alliance a way to destroy the Empire’s terrifying planet destroyer.
First of all, this film is visually stunning. Never have I watched a film before and thought ‘wow, I could look at that all day’. An example of this is the stunning image of an Imperial Star Destroyer hovering above the city on Jeddah. It just looks beautiful. It’s both magnificent and terrifying at the same time. And that leads me on to my next point: Scale.
For me, this is the first film where I’ve truly felt the scale of the Empire and it’s power from a personal, grounded level. The way the camera is used throughout the film truly shows you the scale of the Death Star, of Darth Vader and of just space ships in general. It feels as if you are actually on the ground looking up at these objects and you can see how truly massive they are.
Another positive for me are the cameos and references. Now, I won’t go into these much here but they really do appeal to the Star Wars fan in me. A word of warning however, if you are going into this film expecting to see Darth Vader all over the shop, you will be disappointed. Vader is in the film, but he is used sparingly (he’s in two scenes to be honest) but those two scenes – especially the second – just give you chills. Finally seeing a real Darth Vader for the first time since Return of the Jedi is enough to give any casual fan goosebumps.
Now, not all of the characters are fantastic.. I felt that Riz Ahmed’s character ‘Bodhi Rook’ just annoyed me. Yes he does improve a bit throughout the film, but overall I don’t see the point of him. The same can be said of Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera who I felt was wasted in the film.
Another criticism that I’ve heard of this film is that it’s not necessary. And many casual fans might agree with that thought. But no sequel or prequel is really necessary. However, I did feel that this film finally bridged the gap between the Prequel Trilogy and the Original Trilogy, as well as fixing a long standing plot hole.
Okay, that was the spoiler free bit, now, fair warning: SPOILERS. SPOILERS EVERYWHERE
DON’T CONTINUE IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM.
Many people joked before the film that “you know everyone will die” as they don’t appear in the rest of the Original Trilogy or The Force Awakens. But, people also thought that this might just be opening up new characters to create more spin-offs…
Everyone dies. That’s right. Everyone. Even the main bad guy Krennic doesn’t survive. And neither do the films two main protagonists: Jyn and Cassian. That’s right, everyone dies.
I’ve watched the film twice at this point, and the amount of death shocked me the first time round, but the second I felt a more emotional, sad, response to the deaths even though I knew they were coming. Particularly the deaths of K-2SO, Cassian and Baze and Chirrut.
I think this emotional reaction was helped so much by Michael Giacchino’s original score. The composer was also behind the music in the Star Trek reboot and the Jurassic World sequel. The music swells just at the right moments and, when the two star destroys crash into each other (there’s a little tease for you) the music is so triumphant that you just can’t help but feel a swell of pride and passion.
Another character I wish to talk about is Grand Moff Tarkin. There were rumors that he might be making a small appearance, maybe the back of him or his head…but what we got was much much more. A full CGI animated reincarnation of Peter Cushing. And I thought that it was outstanding. If you didn’t know the actor had passed in 1994 you wouldn’t have been blamed for not realising that this man was a full CGI creation. Brilliant work.
Finally, that plot hole I mentioned earlier? The reason as to why the Death Star was so easily destroyed, in A New Hope, was finally resolved as Jyn Erso’s father (Mads Mikkelsen) – who designed the Death star – put the fatal flaw within the station for the rebels due to the Empire making him create such a horrific piece of technology.
Okay then, so that’s my review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I absolutely loved it. I loved it even more than The Force Awakens last year.
I give Rogue One: 5/5