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Movie Review: "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Set before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is a runaway architect for the Empire. Fifteen years after being forced to create a super weapon for the Empire, Galen's daughter Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) joins a team of rebels tasked with finding her father and stealing the plans to the Death Star with the hopes of finding a weakness. The team must risk their lives to infiltrate a heavily fortified Imperial base to get the plans and send them to the rebellion fleet.
- WAR - As promised, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story delivers a war movie set in the Star Wars universe and it was awesome! By not following Jedi or Jedi in training, we see familiar baddies such as storm troopers and Imperial vehicles but we see them in a new and more threatening perspective. The movie really delivered the concept that our protagonists may not survive which added a war movie intensity to one of my favorite fictional universes.
- Rogue One - "Rogue! Rogue One!". I loved the team established in this movie. I thought all the actors did great, I loved their chemistry together and I thought the team formed in a fun and natural way. Each character had their time to shine and I really bought that all of them were willing too risk their lives for the rebellion.
- Darth Vader - One of my biggest concerns going into Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was that Darth Vader would be used too little. This is possibly one of the last chances we will get to see Vader in action and voiced by the great James Earl Jones. The trailers show him doing very little BUT fear not. We get some great Vader scenes and I left the movie very pleased with the usage of Vader. He is not focal point of the movie but they give us a few great Vader nuggets.
- Donnie Yen - Donnie Yen played what may have been my favorite protagonist in the movie. He is no Jedi, but he believes in the force religiously. Oh, and he's also blind! He was easily one of the standouts of the film, delivering some great comedic moments along with some epic action sequences (the force helps him see). This was a great character and I thought Donnie Yen played this character very well. He can't see with his eyes but at the same time can see with the force. That's a pretty complex concept to portray and I think Donnie Yen pulled it off convincingly.
- K-2SO - The next standout of the film, K-2SO was an absolute blast to watch. Similarly to C-3PO, he has no concept of sarcasm and throws out facts in a blunt and sometimes harsh fashion. However unlike C-3PO, K-2SO isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty. K-2SO has some great lines and had some truly memorable scenes.
- Slow & Choppy Start - After the intro scene, the movie is slow and kind of choppy for about 20-25 minutes if I had to guess. It sets up three or four different characters and cuts to and from these setup scenes in a kind of jarring and sloppy manner. I get that each character needed to be introduced but there had to be a better way to do it. That being said, once the movie gets going it more than makes up for the sloppy start.
- CGI Faces - There are characters in this movie in which the CGI de-aging technology is used and while I think this technology looks better than it ever had before, I still think it looks too awkward and too fake. In my opinion, any studio should avoid using this method until it is perfect. Again it looks awkward, and while it may look better than ever now, in five to ten years it is going to look ridiculous compared to how it looks now. Luckily the number of scenes this technology was used was fairly small so it didn't hurt the movie too bad. I just think other methods should have been used.
- Park Closer? - Ok this is such a tiny point that I am not counting it towards my rating, but during the intro scene of the movie, Orson Krennic's shuttle lands on a planet in an extremely large field of an area. Him and his troopers then proceed to walk and incredible distance to their target. Maybe Krennic just wanted to stretch his legs, maybe he's trying to get his daily Fitbit steps in or maybe he thinks he looks really cool when walking in formation with his troops. Whichever of these are true, I couldn't help but laugh at this scene and had to make note of it here.
- Marketing - While this has nothing to do with the movie itself (so is another thing that won't be counted towards the rating), I think the marketing team for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story failed miserably. The fact that there was anyone in the days leading up to the release date that thought that this was a sequel to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is an absolute failure. More than anything, this should have been the main priority marketing strategy. No one going into this movie should have thought it was episode 8.
While it took a little while for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to get going, once it did, it was an absolute joyride for anyone remotely interested in the Star Wars universe. It has some great laughs and some great, intense action. We get to see Darth Vader in all his glory and we get to see the turning point in the rebellion. Although it was a bit choppy in the beginning, the war feel to this movie more than made up for any issues I had. This is a great movie and I definitely recommend seeing it on the big screen.