Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker
Runtime: 133 min
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tells us the adventures of the team that stole the Death Star plans from the Empire, something that we knew for a fact since Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but never had the experience of actually watching it being done.
This is the first anthology movie of the series so there has been a lot of expectation since the beginning of the year. Did it reach last year's Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens amazing level or did it crumble?
I'm a huge Star Wars fan, I love the original trilogy, I mostly hate the prequels and last year's film was my number one pick for the best movie of 2015, so this is the movie I was definitely waiting desperately for since the start of 2016 ... And it did great! Well, maybe not that great, but it's for sure an entertaining movie and far better than all the three prequels.
I'll start with my issues with this film because there are some major problems that need to be discussed. The one that's bothering me the most is the lack of emotional attachment that I had with the characters. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the protagonist and the only character with a backstory supporting her, so I did care about her and I always wanted her to be on the screen. The same can't be said for the others!
Captain Andor (Diego Luna) only gets a few seconds to express his feelings from his past, Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) have a beautiful and super funny friendship, but I never got a single scene that explained why they were like that and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) is the usual audience's favorite character due to his one liners and super funny scenes. However, when the character that you cared the most, besides the main one, of course, is a robot ... Something's not right. The emotional ending the director tried to achieve didn't quite have the desired effect.
Governor Tarkin appears a lot in this film and, if you don't know, he was also a major character in the previous films of this franchise. The actor who portrayed him at the time was Peter Cushing (died in 1994) and here comes the issue: he portrayed him again. His CGI face is amazing, almost perfect like CGI is in the rest of the movie, but it's still a manipulated face and I can totally see it. I could never get used to it and I doubt that anyone can, it's too obvious and it takes away all the focus of his scenes. I'm not saying "it's a lack of respect" like some critics' opinions, I actually think it was a great idea, but it should have been more subtle (like they perfectly did in the first scene he was in, with a mirror reflection).
Since I'm in the dark side now, I should talk about Darth Vader. Hum, this one's hard to discuss. The Star Wars fan in me wanted one of the biggest villains ever to show up constantly and kill a whole bunch of Rebels, but the critic in me knows that it's not something I should've expected since I knew that he wouldn't have a big part. With this in mind, I find myself in between something that is a problem with the movie and something that is a problem for me. Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) is the main villain of the film and he's as good as I could wish for, as well as the actor who did a great job. However, I did feel a little bit disappointed with so little Vader. He has an AWESOME scene near the end that totally gave me goosebumps and it's the scene that I'll watch time and time again, but I wanted more from him.
The first act doesn't flow really well since there needs to be an introduction to all the characters and to all the places they are, which slows down the pacing. Jumping from place to place usually doesn't work, but it didn't last that long.
You must be thinking I hated the movie with so many issues ... Don't worry, I really enjoyed this film and I think it's a great one! The visual effects are the best I've seen in the whole franchise, with action sequences unbelievably awesome. The space battle is as entertaining as one can imagine and the CGI incorporated in the film is near perfection.
I loved how they made this movie different from the others. The score is slightly different (great job, Michael Giacchino), the tone is also different: it's a time of war, the Stormtroopers are not as white-clean as before, not all of the Rebels are "good" and there are a lot of people injured from the battles and constant attacks on the cities. After the first act, the pacing picks up and I'm in a fast, entertaining movie with great performances and characters.
It's true that I didn't care that much about the characters by the end, but they're still entertaining. K-2So is super funny and I liked him very much, the friendship between Baze and Chirrut is compelling and funny as well, Andor and Jyn have the most serious parts and they're interesting and charming. All of the performances are good with Felicity Jones and Diego Luna having really great moments. Krennic is a good villain and Vader is awesome in every scene he's in (which are not that many).
My main praise for this anthology film is something that I can't really explain, but Stars Wars Episode IV: A New Hope just got its decade-long complaint solved in the most amazing way possible. So many memes and gags around this one thing just got completely deleted from history ... Thank you! This is a movie that stands on its one, it can't really be compared with the others since it's so unique and I can't express myself through words how pleased I am with Gareth Edwards' work. Great job directing this film, amazing action scenes, either with ground combat and space battles, and a breathtaking last act.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Storyis an action-packed film, with amazing visuals, great humor and funny characters. It does have some problems, it's not perfect, but it's not a bad movie at all. With my major issue being the lack of character's depth, this movie actually gives an entertaining two-hour runtime and a great time at the theater.