Rogue One- A Star Wars Story…
Welcome to the spin-off era! The age where every studio is either trying to re-imagine old classics, reviving old franchises or milking the cow by generating solo movies. The era of spin-offs has begun!
Joining Marvel (although this began with spin-offs; culminated into Avenger and MCU), Mummy, Jurassic World, Terminators; we have now, The Franchise! Star wars back in the day (the 70’s ppl) started something beautiful. People’s lives were changed forever. Star wars was the reason we now have comic-cons!!
Star wars gave us the coolest characters, the new catchphrase- ‘May the force be with you!’ It also divided or should I say, created a new class of audience. These people were not well-known in school, they weren’t good in sports but hey, they can name every planet and culture norms in this galaxy far far away. George Lucas inspired an entire generation. We had one of the best movie trilogy that had people (jocks and geeks alike) lining up for its release. Such is the beauty of this franchise!
We had three good movies (I know the second installment is the best!) and we had three not-so-good prequels. But, nearly a decade later, under a new studio, things started to look up.
It began with a humble attempt to bring new age jocks and geeks to relive their parent’s wonder of Star Wars. The Force Awakens rekindled that fire from the 70’s for the Gen Y! It was merry time. All we wanted was the next chapter. Or so we thought. We forgot this is the spin-off era!
Rogue One. A Star Wars Story.
The best part about this prequel-to the sequel-to…I don’t know what this is anymore…
It takes place before A New Hope and after the Revenge of the Sith. So, basically the entire film is the starting credits of Episode 4!
The pressure was immense! The audience know the story since the 70’s! And with Star Wars, there is no escape! You can’t make a silly movie. J.J. Abrams revived the franchise in a spectacular fashion. The stage was set. Disney worked very hard on this. They have to keep their Multiplex, SMS audience hooked to this Multiverse! How will backing a spin-off without any Jedi, no original cast, no cool Hans Solo (although he will have his own spin-off (Oh, come on! Enough already!)).
Instead, we get a gritty, down-to-earth story about the rebels. The same guys who were fighting against the Empire before Luke and Solo. The everyday rebels finally get voice, in this case, a film!
The film comes through.
The film is very small in comparison to other films in the franchise. There is world ending scenarios per se. The Empire has built a Death Star, the rebels come to know about the flaw in this humongous monster of a machine and they have to steal the plans and make counter attack.
Honestly, this film answers a lot of questions from New Hope! How did they come to know about Death Star? Why did it blow off with one blast from Luke’s ship? How did Lea know where to find Obi-Wan?
The Universe made sense again. The joke has been shut.
Galen Erso, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is the engineer who designed the Death Star! Fearing the capture of his daughter Jyn, he agrees to play heed to Imperial Empire’s wishes and includes a trap door in the Star. This is the reactor engine which Luke blasts in New Hope.
Mads Mikkelsen as always is good in portraying this layered character. Watch the opening scene of his planet, beautiful location and cinematography.
Jyn Erso is played by Felicity Jones. She is the principal character of the film. The film centres on her. She has to steal plans from her father, confirm its authenticity and lead the rebellion. Felicity Jones was pretty good as
Jyn Erso. Her angst, her struggle, her motivation makes her an engaging character. You care for her, you stand by her. That’s a big win for the movie.
Cassian Andor is played by Diego Luna. I haven’t seen much of Diego’s films so can’t comment on his prowess as an actor. As Cassian, he too was a good side kick although he was overshadowed by his droid- K2SO! The imperial droid was the scene stealer in the movie. Every scene he was in, Alan Tudyk owned it!
Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe and Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus.. By far, the most charismatic and bad-ass characters in the film. They both kicked Storm-troopers’ asses. They were so cool!! Donnie Yen was so slick, your face would light up with his every line.
Special Shout out
The main villain of the movie- Director Krennic.
Ben Mendelsohn was necessarily over the top villain of the good ol’ cinema. He was menacing, he was the baddie through and through, although he had some good moments in the film. He was the regular guy at work who was often not credited for his work. His plans, his Death Star plan were credited to Grand Moff Tarkin.
His character was relatable. He also gives a super awesome revealing scene for Dearth Vader.
Darth Vader- The only reason I haven’t spoken much about him is because we know everything about him. He is only present for two scenes..(Both Scene Stealers!!! The best!) 😀
Director- Gareth Edwards.
The Godzilla man returns! In this film too, he treats Darth Vader as the creature, very less, building up the anticipation! His grip is very visible. He has a background of visual effects and that helped in recreating Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia as complete CGI. Initially, the setup to introducing the characters was a little choppy. The set pieces didn’t gel together but after the first hour, the film is non-stop adrenaline. The actions sequences are so brilliantly pulled off! The best sky fight in Star Wars!
Cinematographer- Greig Fraser.
The heavy weight in the team, Greig Fraser has beautifully shot this movie. The tone feels like this movie happened before New Hope! The colors, the locations, the visual effects, the lighting, everything was grade A! Special mention to the reveal of Darth Vader! Kudos!!! Amazing, amazing, amazing.
With the exceptions of the character introductions, the editing is fluid. The second half particularly shines.
The CGI characters, the Star Destroyers, the Death Star, the creatures, the action, the planets, etc.. Everything shines in this department! Visually, this film arrests you from the beginning.
The music and sound recording is very good also. The introductory scene with Galen Erso could’ve done more realistically. The wind was blowing at a much higher speed still we could hear the voice crispy clear. A little hum introduced would have given a realism of talking on that beautiful location.
The film promises to leave behind a legacy of spin-offs! Hopefully, they will be as good as this film. The film has its flaws, which movie doesn’t! The film shines in terms of character development, the action sequences and the nostalgia! Darth Vader baby!!
Go check out this film. It is definitely a good Holiday starter for 2016!!
My rating 4/5.