Review of the first Star Wars Anthology film about the brave team that stole the plans for the Death Star
By Carter Bagley
Disney and Lucasfilm announced “Rogue One” a couple years ago now and despite being the massive “Star Wars” fan that I am I was never as excited for this as I was for “The Force Awakens”. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that the idea of another prequel didn’t sit well with me but there was never any doubt that I would end up seeing the film on opening night. The director of 2014’s “Godzilla” remake was recruited to direct it and I am still not sure if he was the best choice but I have to say that he did a fantastic job at directing this story and the many mind-blowing battle sequences throughout the film. Felicity Jones plays the brand new character of Jyn Erso, the daughter of an imperial scientist who is responsible for designing and constructing the death star for the Empire. The film takes place just before “A New Hope” and tells the story of the crew of rebels who stole the blueprints for the death star that were used to destroy it in the original film. Jones’ performance and charisma is most definitely the factor that brought this film together in my opinion because many of the other characters didn’t grab you all that much. Mads Mikkelsen absolutely blew me away despite how little screen time he actually had and that just shows how capable he is as a performer. Despite those two I really can’t say I resonated that much with any of the characters on a personal level rather than just thought they were cool to watch. Diego Luna tries his best and brings charm to his character as a loyal rebel soldier though he never gets fleshed out as a character the way he deserves to. Other actors like Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen were fun to watch and had some great lines but their characters just unfortunately had little to no depth to them. This is disappointing to me because my favorite part of “Star Wars” was always the characters and these just didn’t grow on me like Rey and Finn did in “The Force Awakens”. All these flaws didn’t nearly stop this film from being extremely entertaining though and I was pretty much hooked the entire time. Michael Giacchino handled the score on this one too and I have to say the music was very noticeable and I think he even did a better job than John Williams did on “The Force Awakens”. It certainly still retained the magic that all the other films in the saga have and the things that tie this film with the original trilogy is what excited me the most. It also fixes a major plot hole in “A New Hope” that fans have been complaining about for years and I won’t spoil it but it was very satisfying as a lifelong fan of the movies. The visuals are absolutely stunning and the cinematography was breathtaking and absolutely gorgeous but there was one completely CGI character that was really distracting and I’m not going going to spoil any details but you will definitely notice it immediately. The thing that brought this movie to new heights though was the final act of the film. This is the part where you see the battle on the beach that was shown in the trailers and it’s everything you want it to be and more. It’s truly some of the best action the series has ever given us and if this represents what we’ll see from the series in the future then I am beyond excited. Darth Vader himself even shows up in a few scenes throughout the film and he has two incredible scenes that show how scary he is as a villain and how badass he truly can be. I have seen a lot of excitement flowing around this film and from an audience point of view it’s fun and adventurous and exciting but from a critical standpoint there’s some definite gaping flaws that take away some of the quality but not necessarily the excitement. I will say that if you enjoy “Star Wars” you will definitely enjoy the film and I would also recommend it to anyone just don’t go in expecting a film on the same caliber as “The Empire Strikes Back”. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” wasn’t exactly everything I think it was capable of being but it made up for that in memorable scenes and an ending that can rival any in the entire series.