Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Film Review

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I was unbelievably psyched for Star Wars: The Force Awakens but I never once felt that level of excitement for Rogue One and I couldn’t really put my finger on why. My initial gut reaction was pretty accurate though because while Rogue One is good, it is nowhere near as fantastic as Awakens.

Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), the man who helped build the Death Star. He didn’t really want to make it so created a weakness which would help the Rebel Alliance destroy it. The plans are hidden on the Imperial-occupied planet of Scarif so rebels Jyn, Cassian (Diego Luna), defected Imperial pilot Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), blind warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) go on a mission to get them.

The main reason I didn’t have as much excitement and affection for this is because the settings and characters are new and I missed seeing characters like Chewbacca, R2-D2, C3PO etc, which feel like furniture in the Star Wars films I missed the music and the opening crawl. These are signature elements! I wasn’t really invested in any of these new folk – this could be because we already know the outcome of the mission or because they’re not given any real depth (but that could be said of all Star Wars characters).

While it felt fresh and like it was trying to be different (there’s no opening crawl!!) it still felt very repetitive and like we’ve seen it all before. Yes, it looked gorgeous (especially Scarif), the CGI was phenomenal and the new cast were fab, but the story is still about trying to find something and take down the Death Star, like most of the films.

There were some moments of genius – I loved the showdown on Scarif, any scene with Vader, Chirrut Imwe is a total badass and the new droid K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) is hilarious – he’s the only one which consistently provides comedy value – and the use of CGI to resurrect the late Peter Cushing‘s character Governor Tarkin was amazing, although slightly disconcerting.

I was always sceptical about the casting of Jones but she is a strong female lead and gets to kick ass, which is great, although the actress herself doesn’t get a chance to shine and prove why she was cast. I enjoyed Ahmed a lot and Ben Mendelsohn was perfectly formidable as new baddie Orson Krennic, but they were all overshadowed by Chirrut and K-2SO.

I never had any massive problem with Rogue One throughout but I only really began to enjoy it once they had reached Scarif – the action was exciting, it looked beautiful and we had finished with most of the exposition, character/world-building stuff. The standalone nature of it also feels really refreshing in the current climate of interconnected universes and franchises.

In cinemas Thursday 15th December

 

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