Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story- Official Review & Star Wars Historical Overview

By

Brian Wallinger 

First off I am just going to say: " That if you did not see Rogue One in Imax 3d, then you did not see it."

About 40 years ago, a young film maker by the name of George Lucas, set out to write and produce a sci-fi saga by the name of "Star Wars". A film about a distant galaxy filled with alien lifeforms, a galactic imperial army bent on domination of the universe and most importantly a group of projectors known only as "Jedi Knights" who have the ability to use what is known as "The Force". In the beginning this all sounds like a big expensive joke that would never see the light of day.

After making a distribution deal with Twentieth Century Fox, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was greenlit into production, becoming an instant sci-fi classic. Bringing ground breaking special effects, as well as giving the world of cinema one of its most iconic villains: Darth Vader. In 1980 Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and in 1983 Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi were subsequently released. Empire did more than its predecessor on both technical and financial levels,  while Episode VI did not quite fully reach the glory of the previous two films.

In 1999,  Episode One was released to mixed review's from both fans and critics alike. Providing major setbacks to the series as well as minor positives, such as the performance of Liam Neeson, the Pod Racing sequence, and Darth Maul, another iconic villain who wields a double bladed lightsaber. In 2002 Episode II: Attack Of The Clones was released with mixed to negative reception. Offering choppy effects and providing hardly any substance, it has been labeled as the weakest in the entire series.

In 2005:Episode III Revenge Of The Sith was released, bringing a wraparound conclusion to the series,  thus completing the transformation of Darth Vader and an end to the Jedi Order. It received slightly more positive reviews than Episode II. As a child I remember owning the original VHS special edition series of episode's IV through VI. I remember loving them all. I remember watching an interview film critic Leonard Maltin gave George Lucas discussing the variations of technique into each production of every film. As a child, there was nothing like that and to this day there still isn't.

In 2015, Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released, directed by J.J Abrams, bringing back the original core cast of episodes IV To VI, as well as introducing new characters and new stories. Disney bought the series and took control from Lucas in a four billion dollar settlement. The film went on to gross over a billion dollars,  however it received polarizing reviews from fans and critics.

A year later and Disney has released Rogue One. Is it better than Episode VII? I certainly think so. Bringing in a much needed diverse cast accompanied by a dark story that takes place between episode's III and IV,  the nostalgia factor alone is worth the price of admission.  Filled with masterful special effects and a solid execution from its cast proves that this is the Star Wars film we have been waiting for.

Focusing on a lost cause to steal the plans for the Death Star (destroyed in episode IV), Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and international martial arts star Donny Yen, set out on a would be "Dirty Dozen offensive" for the republic to take a chance against all odds to secure the plans and destroy the super weapon. There are times of comic relief found through a reprogrammed imperial droid who helps the core cast along the way. The Final act however is when it truly becomes a fully blown Star Wars experience. Darth Vader, once again voiced by the legendary James Earl Jones, proves once more why he is cinema's perfect villain. The conclusion ends on an even higher note finally connecting the bridge for The prequeland original series, aligning perfectly as the definitive space opera that it is. Not only is Rogue one a great film, as well as possibly being the best Star Wars film since "Empire", but the ending of Rogue One makes Episode IV's importance even greater. For fans of the original trilogy, it will not disappoint.  Filled with Easter eggs and cameo appearances, one if which involves controversial CGI, there is something for every fan to enjoy or at the least, debate. 

However, this film does have its flaws. The score does not quite live up to John William's acclaimed original composition and at times it feels out of place. To a degree there are times when the story itself feels rushed. The script feels generic and straight to the point. Despite that observation the film itself is filled with intense action and intimate cinematic visuals that may prove to be award worthy.

 ☆☆☆☆

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