(DM) – Thursday December 15, 2016 This is a true spoiler free review!
Rogue One doesn't follow the standard Star Wars formula and for this the film goers are rewarded with a perfect 10 of a film. So many Star Wars questions get answered! Does it fill in the gap between Episode three and four? No. Does it lead into Episode four of Star Wars, A New Hope? Absolutely. Rogue One even answers the question how the film gets its name. In many ways Rogue One is the byproduct of 40 years of questions people begun to ask after the very first Star Wars, A New Hope (a.k.a. Episode four) hit theaters in 1977.
Has it been 40 years since the first Star Wars? That question is important because beyond Darth Vader being under a mask, a number of other players did in fact require some movie magic which almost works perfectly. Despite technology falling short of replicating a human in cinema it has come far enough to assist in bringing back some of your favorite and obscure Star Wars characters. While the social justice warriors of the world will claim victory with a truly diverse cast of characters, the truth is the storied world of Star Wars has always had a diverse character list by default. The manner in which Rogue One plays on the Star Wars formula is no more than a nod to how it works in Star Wars! For any cosplay fan out there we do have a huge list of new characters that won't require too much effort to replicate and to that end many real life fans in diverse cultures will find someone that looks like them in Rogue One. Despite the lead character Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) being somewhat unrelatable as she is never truly fleshed out as a character, she and others are enjoyable to watch as they come together in a common cause.
Part of Rogue One's challenge was not only to deliver a quality Star Wars story, it was tasked with feeling Star Wars 1977. It at least needed to feel as if it belongs in the era of Luke and Han. Let's just say that had A New Hope had special effects this fun in 1977 there may never be a better Star Wars in history. The lighting and quality camera work is one area Rogue One can't help but eclipse the original, to this end you are constantly reminded this is a new film and only there do you feel the constant reminder this story is new.
One fresh idea in Rogue One was the departure of a huge opening. It's not just the absence of the text crawl in Rogue One's opening, it's the subtle and peaceful beginning that is tinged by an ominous presence that establishes quickly this isn't your typical Star Wars story. And yet every bit of it answers all the fanboy questions so many have had since A New Hope was released in 1977. Remember Darth Vader entering the rebel ship stating several transmissions were sent to it? Those types of questions fans have asked for years are addressed. The more obvious questions won't be mentioned in this review to keep it genuinely spoiler free.
Star Wars, Rogue One is a can't miss. The action builds – and when it delivers it has purpose unlike what was delivered in the prequel trilogy. The use of practical special effects paid off too. No longer do you think you are looking at actors against green screen. There is authentic feel in all the action scenes which cross from space to terra firma exceptionally well.
Another huge bonus of Rogue One is the placement of new actors in key roles. It doesn't suffer from Tom Cruise like characters assuming the best roles simply because they have star power. With fresh new faces we feel the story is yet more real. You are not looking at a big name actor in a scene, you're seeing at the character.
You'll find the first twenty minutes bouncing about new locations asking yourself if there are going to be this many locations to keep up with, who can keep up? It settles in quickly without overwhelming even the most inept movie-goer. What you may find yourself doing is reminding yourself what timeline you are in. You are entering a time that immediately precedes episode 4, A New Hope.
While that is easy you'll find yourself also playing a game of asking yourself, how close in age are these players to Luke Skywalker in age? Were their parents around when Obi Wan witnessed Darth Vader's jump to the dark side of the force?
What's best is you can stand up in the audience before the film rolls, announce, "Sorry folks, but just want to ruin this for you all! The Death Star does get blown up in the end!" And unless everyone has been under a rock you can't spoil the ultimate outcome. What you do ask yourself is what is the fate of each character I'm meeting in this film. That is the tension you come to terms with as you watch Rogue One.
Don't miss this film if you've been aggravated by the last four Star Wars films lack of originality. This one is the ultimate irony in action. We know what happens but the journey is the ride we've all been waiting for.