A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a crew of small-time rogues and renegades banded together on a mission to steal the plans of the Empire’s super weapon known as the Death Star. Leading the endeavor is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a small-time criminal whose father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), is a science officer working on the construction of the Death Star. Rebels believe her father built in a weakness that will allow them to destroy this weapon of mass destruction. Jyn’s small, motley crew includes Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his hilariously unfiltered droid, K-2S0 (voiced by Alan Tudyk). The trio recruits a former imperial pilot, Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), along with force-strong monk Chirrut (Donnie Yen), and his big gun-wielding companion Baze (Wen Jiang).
“There is much to this movie that feels very familiar, yet vastly different. Composer Michael Giacchino creates a score that pulled elements from John Williams original and makes them into a new compilation that fits well with the movie and ties it into the Star Wars universe. New characters are introduced that do not stray from the look and feel of what you would expect from a galaxy far, far away. Old characters feel right at home in this new story. And all the sounds we have come to love from ships to blasters are there right along with new ones that will surely become iconic in their own right.” —Jeff
“Keeping on par with the original trilogy, there are tons of practical-effects creatures, huge sets, and brand new vehicles. The acting also matches the quality of the visuals. Felicity Jones is an amazing choice to carry the lead role. She’s one of the strongest heroes and most relatable characters in the Star Wars universe. Jones absolutely nails this part.” —Drew
“So much care was taken to make this movie blend with the story that comes after it, while still standing on its own, but that didn’t stop a few parts from feeling forced. On its own accord, Rogue One is an entertaining war movie that happens to be set in the Star Wars universe, coupled with small nods to the original movies. There are, however, moments and cameos that feel out of place. I’m sure it is to please the diehard fans and to make sure there is a connection between this movie and A New Hope, but it was completely unnecessary to hit us over the head with it. What works well is all of the mustaches taken from the original trilogy.” —Jeff
“The Dark Side shrouds over this film, making it feel like an old-fashioned World War II flick. Rogue One gives us a more expansive look at the brutality of evil and low-level corruption that keeps the Galactic Empire War Machine moving. We are introduced to Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), a flashy Empire general surrounded by fearsome, black-clad Deathtroopers. You immediately get a taste of his callous demeanor and ruthlessness in the first moments of the film when he orders his troopers to kill Jyn’s family. We also get a sense of a power struggle between Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin, which centers on credit and control of the Death Star.” —Drew
“Being an actual war movie makes this movie much darker than any of the others in the franchise. It still has its light-hearted moments and jokes, without becoming childish like Jar Jar did in the prequels, but it explores a much more somber and heartbreaking side to the galactic war and what it has done to the people. Unfortunately, it also plays it safe and feels formulaic. It hits all of the beats one would expect from an action movie.” —Jeff
“There are a few references to the original films and some surprise cameos; some of them work more than others. It was really cool to see CGI recreations of characters from A New Hope. There is one cameo at the end of the movie that felt jarring and out of place. But based on the reactions in the theater, I am definitely in the minority to feel that way. Rogue One is a darker and memorable addition to the franchise, the first of hopefully many more worthwhile, audience-friendly side stories to emerge.” —Drew
This movie is sure to please the Star Wars superfans while still being enjoyed by anyone who has managed to miss any of the past movies or shows. Rogue One is a compelling war movie that goes darker than any other installment of the franchise so far, yet keeps the humor and spirit of these beloved movies we are all used to.
Stars: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker
Score: 4 out of 5