Written by: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll, Gary Whitta
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen
Running Time: 133 minutes
A group of misfit rebels, led by Jyn Erso, try to steal plans to the Death Star in order to help the Rebel Alliance.
The Path of Resistance
Almost a year after the release of The Force Awakens, another eagerly awaited Star Wars film is out. Rogue One is a prequel of sorts and the build-up to the franchise. While we all know what happened back then, Rogue One tells us how it happened.
The film is centered on Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of Engineer Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), who was coerced into designing the Death Star. Years after being separated from her parents, Jyn is captured by the Rebel Alliance in the hopes of finding Galen.
Jyn is accompanied by Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who has secret orders to carry out a mission of his own. Along with his facetious droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), they embark on a mission to find the man who raised Jyn – Saw Gerrera (Forest Whittaker); only Saw would know the exact location of Galen.
Jyn must now try and re-unite the Alliance to steal the plans to the Death Star before the Empire attains universal supremacy.
The One with the Force
We haven’t quite seen a War in Star Wars like in this flick. Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) packs a powerful punch with the right amalgam of humor, action and drama. For someone who cites ‘A New Hope’ as the reason behind his career choice, this must be a proud moment.
We all knew that the Alliance had obtained the plans to the Death Star, which is what Skywalker & co. had effectively used. But how they obtained them was a mystery – until now. Writers Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy returned to give us another powerhouse female lead character, along with plenty of stellar characters to support.
Some may argue that certain characters were underwritten. But that’s exactly what worked. Only the core characters were given attention. The lines they were given could have used some help though.
Edwards executed a Herculean task with simplicity – he successfully managed to ease the new characters into the universe, made an existing story sound like an untold epic & he hit all the right nostalgic notes. The fact that the makers decided to release this film as a stand-alone movie rather than a prequel did them a lot of favors.
The awe-inspiring production design really seasoned this franchise for audiences of today. The VFX team also reached new heights with introduction of certain characters from the original trilogy. That, in my opinion, was the best move from Edwards. Some of the returning characters hit the right spots. Clarify that by asking any Star Wars fan about ‘’That one scene’’.
Michael Giacchino continues the job handed over to him by John Williams. He takes some of Williams’s work and adds some hair-raising twists of his own.
Felicity Jones (Inferno, The Theory of Everything) does solid work as Jyn Erso. Some would argue that hers is the best female character in the SW universe thus far. Hers wasn’t a character that had Jedi powers or advanced tech skills. It’s pure determination that made her a hero and Jones displays that with ease.
Diego Luna (Milk, The Terminal) supports well as the conflicted Cassian. There were some scenes where he even outplayed his counterpart. He was assisted by Alan Tudyk (I-Robot, Frozen) who played the faithful droid K-2SO and the duo easily won audiences over.
The casting team deserve an applause for the inclusion of Donnie Yen (IP Man, Blade II) and Wen Jiang (Let The Bullets Fly, Devils On The Doorstep). Most of Asia are fans of these two actors – especially Yen, who is known for his martial arts.
Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange, Hannibal) was another strong inclusion into the cast. Galen Erso wasn’t a character one would’ve expected to see him as, but he does a fair job. Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, The Dark Knight Rises), who plays the immoral Orson Krennic, also puts in a good shift.
Forest Whittaker (The Butler, Arrival) is someone fans would’ve liked to see more of. He turned in some good work for the limited role he was given. Also noteworthy, was the performance by Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, Jason Bourne) as Bodhi.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a fantastic entry into the universe that George Lucas created almost four decades ago. Gareth Edwards brings to us a different perspective on the story, packed with thrilling action and moments of magic that would bring out the little one in you. As just a film, it may not be the best one this year. But if you’re a fan, one thing is for sure – the Force is strong with this one.
PS What do you think the new order should be? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Watch it if you: A Fan of Star Wars OR In the mood for good Sci-Fi Action.