By Cynthia Ayala
“The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.”
Rogue One is the latest film in the Star Wars franchise that bridges the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. That doesn’t mean it follows directly after Episode III though. Instead, this film serves as a direct precursor to the original trilogy that launched Star Wars into fandom. Just a little back story for you there to familiarize yourself with the setting of the film.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s get down to it. Here’s something this film has: originality (something The Force Awakens seriously lacked – and I like that movie!) The story offers some expansion on the world that already exists, a story to go around. A New Hope that doesn’t take anything everyone knows and loves about Star Wars and warps it. It adds to it, in the best ways possible. The story here is grounded, and like all Star Wars films, centers around an orphan (because that just seems to be the formula here and we’re just gonna roll with it), who is leading a life of rebellion on her own, outside of rules and restrictions. Jyn (Felicity Jones) is a strong female protagonist who carries the film and the story about her father, about the Empire, and about the Death Star. There’s a lot of backstory abt the rebellion and the empire going on here and that’s what makes it such a strong film, that it pulled from everything that already existed and created new characters and a new story from that. It built up, so to speak, rather than just spread out on the same level. It’s cohesive, it has the tension, it has the character growth, the flaws, the hubris to allow for the characters to all function so well together and grow off of one another. They made the film, each of them, and brought something unique to the perspective of the film.
Moreover, there wasn’t just drama and seriousness. Like most of the Star Wars films, the writers balanced comedy and seriousness together sensationally. The light moments make those powerful and serious moments even more powerful, and it also works vice versa. With one, the movie would have lacked substance, it would have lacked authenticity, it would not have been a Star Wars story.
It’s also not a complex story. There’s an objective that the heroes must reach. They need to steal the plans for the Death Star, but of course, that’s not going to be an easy feat. There are twists and turns and complications that don’t make it easy, but it also doesn’t complicate the story. It’s a solid, well-rounded story that is easy to enjoy.
Then there are the characters. The actors were great, they gave such like to their parts and made them lovable. These are lovable characters, and memorable. These are characters that make an impact on the audience, that achieve notability in such a small frame of time. These characters have this film to make an impact, to suck in the viewer and make them clap and feel a plethora of emotions, and the actors, to be able to do all that, are remarkable. It’s not just the lines or the story, it’s the actors who deliver the lines, who play the parts with such heart that they strike a powerful chord with the viewer. And the addition of classic characters brought to life with actors and CGI enhancement (which is pulled off with perfection – you can’t even tell) allowed so much of the originals to build a strong foundation for the story and the character dynamics of the film. Strong female protagonist aside, we get to see Darth Vader, we get to see the Rebellion fight, we get to know the heart of the Rebellion and see Vader once again for the strong force (pun intended) that he is.
All in all, this film was great and is a great film to see to find hope in a franchise that has put out some lackluster films. This film is hope. (★★★★ | A+)
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Based on Characters by George Lucas
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures