It’s finally time. As a massive geek on Star Wars as I’m sure that many of you reading this review are, this was easily at the top of the list for the film I wanted to see this year, and after an agonising wait through what many people have said was the worst overall year to date what with celebrity deaths, an unsettling referendum and election and instability in the middle east we are rewarded with a film that sets our fears aside for some good old Star Wars badassery right?
I sincerely believe that Rogue One had more weight on its shoulders that The Force Awakens. Yes, JJ Abrams has the responsibility of introducing Star Wars to a new generation, however Rogue One must keep the ball of confidence rolling, and my confidence after seeing the film is strongly with the force. Rogue One fills in the gaps between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope perfectly by revealing to us the Star Wars universe from a completely different gritty perspective.
The new characters Gareth Edwards and the writers have created are just right for the Star Wars universe. Felicity Jones gives a great performance as Jyn Erso, her character is strong because the writers have given her a backstory that makes us what to root for her, it is clear in the film that she has a loving relationship for her father Galen Erso (played by Mads Mikklesen) who is involved with the construction of the Death Star and Jyn gives off a sense of purpose to rescue her father.
Two characters were the most impressive to me, the first being the new droid K-2SO, this reprogrammed imperial droid delivers much of the films laughs and delivers them very sarcastically, he is probably right up there with C-3PO and R2-D2 at this point. Donnie Yen who plays the blind Chirrut Îmwe is the most impressive character during the fights and battles that take place in the film. If you have seen Donnie Yen as Ip Man then you’re already familiar with how great he is at martial arts and fighting, I was so glad that he could finally get the attention he deserves from audiences.
The film also lets us briefly reconcile with character of old, including cinema’s ultimate villain Darth Vader who only appears very briefly however the impact that many of us were expecting Vader to give is indeed given to him, it serves as the ultimate reminder of why he is the most iconic villain in cinematic history.
Size is an important focus to show the power and control of the Galactic Empire. The Death Star and AT-AT’s have never looked more menacing that before. The film shows off The Death Star by having it take over the frame, by doing this, not only does it show us the scale of the ultimate super-weapon, but it also a symbol of the shadow that the empire has cast over the galaxy. The AT-AT’s are shot from the ground instead of from the height of a Snowspeeder in The Empire Strikes Back, you then get a more clearer insight into the threat that just one of these can have on the character’s mission.
As both a fan and a critic, I’m not afraid to point out the mistakes that can be overlooked of ignored because of the grander spectacle of lasers from blaster rifles or the explosions. I felt that the character of Saw Gerrera (played by Forrest Whitaker) was a wasted one. Although he was given this big exposition of how he was too radical for the Rebel Alliance, his character is never lived up to that expectation, most of the characters screen time is spent on showing how weak he is by breathing into an oxygen mask. During the films introduction, it felt that it was a requirement to know the full story of each character before you went to see the film. It was as if the characters that were featured in the introduction were just introduced to us on the spot without any consideration of establishment.
The best theory I can come up with to explain why Rogue One was such a good time to watch is that the team behind it judged the impressions that The Force Awakens had left very well and the filmmakers knew how to reach the same level of expectation through film-making. Gareth Edwards seemed to know the very tiny mistakes that The Force Awakens had made and saw to fix them in Rogue One. An example of this is the flawless CGI in Rogue One. The Rathtar sequence in The Force Awakens was to me the only thing that dragged the film down due to how fake looking the creatures were. On the other hand, Rogue One manages to make its CGI so perfected, it is barely noticeable and nothing jumps out at you. The film showcases the positive effect and future potential of CGI in modern Hollywood blockbusters by masterfully giving a select original characters’ new life, and yes people, some original trilogy characters manage to sneak their way into Rogue One.
Rogue One is a Star Wars film made as a love letter to the fans whilst retaining interest for a vast number of new fans filled with awe inspiring action sequences from beginning to end. Rogue One ticks all the boxes on how to ensure the positivity of CGI by not shoving it in front of our faces but to carefully display it, much like a nice bouquet of flowers. It left me with a great feeling and a positive outlook on the next anthology film. May the force be with them.
Final Result: 9/10 – Excellent
Have you seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: The Sean McConville Reviews 2016 Awards (Nominations)