Movie Review: Rogue One

This afternoon I at last had the opportunity to see the latest installment in the Star Wars saga…Rogue One. Family members Linda and Roy, long time Star Wars fans like me, accompanied me. And while Rogue One is the newest movie in this long running franchise, the story takes place chronologically after Episode III The Revenge of the Sith and prior to the events in Episode IV A New Hope

Rogue One stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn,  Spencer Wilding and Riz Ahmed, and features the voice of James Earl Jones. The sci-fi/adventure was directed by Gareth Edwards. The film is rated PG-13, for extended scenes of violence and intense action, and has a run time of 2 hours and 13 minutes. 

Jyn Erso (Jones) is the daughter of Galen Erso (Mikkelsen), the reluctant designer of the Death Star for the Imperial Galactic Empire. Separated from her father when she was very young, Jyn grows up to become the unlikely leader of a group of resistance fighters in the Rebel Alliance. 

Galen has built a flaw into the weapon of planetary destruction, and he reaches out to his daughter in hopes of providing a way for the Rebels to in turn destroy the Death Star. Jyn teams up with Rebel pilot Cassian Andor (Luna), who has his own agenda, and his droid with attitude, K-2SO (voiced by Tudyk). 

As the trio moves from base to base, they assemble an eclectic team comprised of a blind warrior familiar with the Force, Chirrut Imwe (Yen), his faithful friend Baze (Jiang), and Bodhi (Ahmed), a former Empire pilot who has defected to the Rebels. 

The Empire, led by Darth Vader (played by Wilding and voiced by Jones) and Orson Krennic (Mendelsohn), continues in its ruthless plan to launch the latest weapon against the Alliance. The future of the galaxy rests with Jyn and her small but fierce group of Rebel fighters. 

Rogue One was a great addition to the Star Wars saga. While this first stand alone story introduced a host of new and unfamiliar chatacters, there were plenty of Star Wars devices and several familiar faces to connect this movie with the others, and with the audience. The movie, which was darker, grittier and more war-like than previous films, developed the new characters well, making me appreciate the contributions each one made. 

I especially enjoyed the snarky droid, K-2SO, whose droll comments provides most of the film’s comedic moments, and the blind warrior, Chirrut, who continually reminds his comrades of the Force. “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.” 

And as a Star Wars fan, I was thrilled to see once again the ultimate cinematic bad guy, Darth Vader. I am glad James Earl Jones’ distinctive voice is still the voice of Vader. 

Rogue One employs the classic good verses evil plot that is at the core of Star Wars, and yet this is definitely an edgier story. 

Fans will enjoy this latest film. And non fans? Well, this might be a great introduction to the Star Wars universe, and the beginning of a long and loving relationship. 

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