OK guys, before we get into Rogue One, I just want to let everyone know that I will do my best to not spoil anything. Granted the effects won’t be as hard as trying not to ruin anyone’s life by spoiling last year’s “The Force Awakens”, but knowing the Star Wars fanbase, not to mention, knowing myself as a part of such a sacred fanbase, I will make sure spoilers are nonexistent throughout the review. Anyways, it’s time to go rogue!
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is the newest installment in the Star Wars saga. This installment takes place between episodes III and IV and throughout the movie it shows the construction of the Death Star (as seen in the original movie). While this happens, a team of rebels are taking investigation into this superweapon and they need to know how to destroy it. Essentially, this movie can be summed up in the opening crawl of “A New Hope” (above).
I love Star Wars in general, and I say that as a fan, and on this blog, I see myself as a critic. How so? I’m able to recognize when a movie’s bad. I mean, there have been two Star Wars movies that sucked balls in my opinion (“The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones”). I even think the special editions of the original trilogy somewhat ruin parts of what made those movies good. Hey kids, do you guys remember the cantina scene? Remember when Han Solo confronted that bounty hunter named Greedo? You know, the blue guy with black eyes? Can you tell me who shot first? Did you say Greedo? NO! It’s Han! They just changed it in the special editions just to make him appear more child friendly! Why George Lucas? Why? Well, at least he isn’t around to disappoint me with this movie, because the director of this movie, Gareth Edwards, didn’t disappoint me at all! I loved this movie from beginning to end and I had a fun time watching it, not just as a fan, but as a critic. Let’s continue onto some of the characters.
The main character in this movie is a girl named Jyn Erso. She’s played by Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider Man 2”, “The Theory of Everything”) and after seeing her performance in this movie, I cannot imagine anyone else playing her. One thing that I really love about her character is that her father has a huge connection to the story so it only makes seeing what Jyn does during the movie feel more engaging.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Jyn’s father. Throughout the movie it is stated that this guy is crucial to the development to the death star. His role in the movie was pretty great and there’s one scene where a message is sent via hologram which Jyn happened to see, it basically explained his main role in the movie which is a solid idea overall.
Forest Whitaker is in this movie, and while his role wasn’t really as memorable as some other ones in this movie, I still enjoyed what this guy had to offer for this movie. Also, just a reminder to everyone in case you didn’t know or forgot, this guy is not a new character. If you are familiar with the Cartoon Network series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, you may remember this guy. I was able to buy the chemistry between him and Jyn at a certain point in the movie and whenever I saw him on screen I thought this guy has seen some s*it. I have not seen enough of “The Clone Wars” TV series to know what happened to him but if you see this movie and never seen “The Clone Wars”, you’d probably think to yourself, “Wow, what did this guy go through?”
Up next is the character of “Baze Malbus”, played by Wen Jiang. This guy wasn’t the character I was into most of the time while watching this movie. Does that mean I don’t like him as a character? No, I just think other characters stood out more compared to this guy. Although I will bring this up, do you remember from the teaser trailer, as it was coming to a close, they were showing this land battle and this guy was running toward this AT-AT and it was shooting everywhere? This guy was in scenes kinda like that and those scenes were intriguing.
One of the characters I was really looking forward to see in this movie, in fact, of all the newcomers in this movie, I believe I was most excited to see this guy, was Chirrut Îmwe. This guy is strong with the force, in fact throughout most of the movie he’s praying a lot, based on the prayers, it’s easy to tell how much this guy believes in the force, and believes it will make him succeed. By the way, if you saw this guy in the trailers and thought he looked cool, wait until you see the movie, he’s AWESOME, especially when he’s introduced.
When I saw this movie, one of the characters that happened to steal the show is the droid you may remember from the trailer, AKA, K-2SO. Just about every line that came out of this character’s mouth was a gutbuster to me and just about anything he said made just about the entire theater laugh. Let me just say right now that the odds of liking this droid are very high and if you don’t laugh at even one thing the droid says, we probably need to talk.
Let’s move on to Orson Krennic, or as I like to call him, Grand Moff Tarkin wannabe. This is not the most memorable of the Star Wars villains I’ve seen. Did I like him? Yes. Did I think he had some great moments? Yes. However he was not the strong point of the movie and I wouldn’t call him as memorable as other villains in the saga such as Darth Vader or Palpatine or Kylo Ren. What was the biggest flaw I had about this guy? He looked just like Grand Moff Tarkin. To me, I consider my complaint to be somewhat justified but also abnormal at the same time. Why do I have this complaint? I knew from the beginning that Grand Moff Tarkin was going to have a big role in this movie, and basically if you have seen the original “Star Wars” you would already know he is in that movie and he is probably one of the most vicious people in the entire film. To make this go even further, there was a trailer which this character was in, and when I saw him I kept saying to myself “Oh my gosh! Look at Grand Moff Tarkin! Yeah!” However when you see the movie it is easy to tell which character this is compared to Grand Moff Tarkin. Because this character is in white, Tarkin is in green.
If you have seen some of the trailers of this movie, you’d probably already know that Darth Vader is in the movie. As you may already know, according to who knows how many people, Darth Vader may be the most iconic and perhaps the greatest villain in all of cinematic history. So you’re like me you probably hoped he would be up to his full potential in this movie. How is he in this movie? Well, he’s OK. Not too great, not too bad, just OK. That’s all I’m gonna say.
What the heck am I saying?! THIS GUY WAS AWESOME! Let me just give a warning right now that he is not in the movie for long, but he didn’t need to be, because the time that he was in the movie was short but sweet. For the scenes Vader was in I couldn’t help but get ecstatic and as a fanboy and critic, I loved what Disney did to this villain. Let me just tell you something right now, the first scene Vader is in, is incredible. The final scene he’s in, EVEN BETTER. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that this scene, may be one of the best scenes in the entire Star Wars saga. Is it my all time favorite? That’s something I have to think about, but it was excellent nonetheless! I’m not kidding! This is what Darth Vader is supposed to be, and I would like to thank Disney for not screwing him up!
When it comes to the Death Star in this movie, along with the ships you see in the movie, they all looked great and for the ships that were shown in prior films, they didn’t change much at all so I’m going to give props to the people behind this movie for making them look similar. Speaking of the Death Star, the scenes in which it was used to destroy planets were very similar to those you see in “A New Hope” and “Return of the Jedi”. Fun fact, there were more easter eggs I caught in this movie that I recognized, and if you have seen the Star Wars films made prior to this, you may recognize them too.
One of the things I was looking forward to in Rogue One, in fact, I think many people were looking forward to in Rogue One, was the land battles. There’s like a long sequence on a beach and it entertained me all the way through. Speaking of battles, there’s a ship that wasn’t really seen in the Star Wars universe until now and that’s the U-wing (above). I thought it looked like a Y-Wing if it had flamethrowers in the back of it, by the way, it doesn’t.
If you have seen any prior Star Wars movie, chances are you might remember some of the music. That was all done by legendary movie composer John Williams (Jaws, Jurassic Park, ET). In this movie, he’s actually not the one composing this time around. That position belongs to Michael Giacchino, who has also composed the music for my favorite animation of all time, “The Incredibles”. When it comes to the music throughout the movie, I wouldn’t say it is as memorable as John Williams’ work, although I would say the music playing throughout each scene worked.
I would just like to remind everyone reading this right now that this movie is from Disney, and they haven’t had the rights to Star Wars for too long. So far they have done a few seasons of the Disney XD show “Star Wars: Rebels” and last year’s hit movie “The Force Awakens”. Everyone makes fun of Disney for being incredibly lighthearted and straying away from darkness so their movies can be as kid-friendly as possible. Let me just say right now, this movie is dark, and I mean DAAAARRRK. This is especially true with the end of the film, which may be my favorite part of the movie, and I really think I should keep in suspense that way the flavor is savored for when you go see this movie, because, let’s face it, a lot of people like Star Wars, you may be in that chunk of people. Maybe you haven’t seen the movie yet, if you haven’t, go see it NOW!
In the end, “Rogue One” was everything I wanted and more. Is it better than last year’s “The Force Awakens”? In my opinion, no. As a movie, I enjoyed “The Force Awakens” slightly more than I enjoyed this. However, this movie overall was awesome, I want to see it again, and hopefully since I don’t have any 70mm IMAX screens near me, I can go see it in IMAX laser sometime soon. Also, before I announce my rating, let me just say that coming up with a final rating for this movie was HARD. There were some problems I had in the beginning of this movie, some of which I mentioned, but in the end, the positives outweighed the negatives by a high amount and the flaws I mentioned are undeniably forgivable, so that means I’m going to give “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, a 10/10. I would like to have you know that this rating could change, part of me while watching this movie thought this was a 9 the whole time based on some parts of the beginning feeling jumpy and everything, but in the end, I got what I wanted so that makes me happy. I hope to go see Rogue One again sometime soon, maybe by the end of the year, or if there are no good movies next January and everything sucks, I can make up for it by watching this. Guys, it’s not much longer until the end of the year, I’m hoping to see a couple more movies this year, I’m not gonna review all of them though. Some of the movies I hope to see are “Arrival”, “Now You See Me 2”, “Criminal”, “Office Christmas Party”, “Jason Bourne”, “Equity”, and “Sully”. I’m trying to get as many movies as I can under my belt before I officially unleash my top best and worst movies of the year, I cannot wait to show this all to you and if you do go see Rogue One this weekend, depending on which theater and time you choose, GOOD LUCK FINDING A SEAT. It wasn’t that hard for me because so many theaters in my area have reserved seating and the theater I went to did not, however it did have an IMAX, so I imagine so many people were apprehensive of going to this theater just because finding a seat in general must be a pain. Anyways, stay tuned for more reviews, and please go see Rogue One this weekend, it’s amazing. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!