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Review: Rogue One A Star Wars Story

star-wars-rogue-one-poster-691x1024There’s been no doubt that this movie would be a success, so in order to avoid seeing spoilers I rushed out with my son this morning and saw Rogue One.  We found this one to be a good stand alone movie that fills in some back story, and introduces new characters that fit in well to the canon.  But does Rogue One live up to the hype?  If you don’t want spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating, otherwise here is the breakdown of what I thought per character:

Jyn Erso: Felicity Jones’ character didn’t need to have more than ten minutes of back story to understand why she is who she is.  They did a great job of explaining a lot in a little bit of time, and it feels as if she’s been key to the main episodes all along.  (In truth she has).  The fact that she dies in the end (along with every other member of this main cast) quells any fan boy theories about her being Rey’s mom.  This was the biggest shocker (the death of everyone), that didn’t really shock me after I thought about it.  It explains why we never see or hear of these characters again.  It also was a great thing, as we know they won’t try to pump out useless sequels to something that’s supposed to be a spinoff one shot.

Cassian Andor: Diego Luna had me thinking he was going to be a real prick from the moment he was on screen, but his rough exterior and approach was a façade.  Jyn and he made the perfect team.  His motives are clear, and despite anything he’d done wrong in the past, he has a reason to back Jyn up on her mission in order to right those wrongs.  I loved this angle.

Krennic: Was a completely unlikeable villain.  This is good for story telling.  He reminded me of a teenager not getting his way and throwing temper tantrums.  Adolescent demeanor aside he provided a big threat to Erso and Andor’s plans, but got his karma paid back in the end.

Chirrut Îmwe: He was perhaps my favorite new character.  A blind monk who lives by the Force, and provided a bit of comic relief.  I like how there was a brief mention that he was a guardian of the Force Temple. (That’s the place we see Luke at at the end of episode 7.)  So we get a bit of what those people were like.

Baze Malbus: was an equally badass partner to Chirrut.  Although he didn’t believe so much in the Force, he stood by his friend’s side til the end.  His heavy weapon pack was one of the coolest Star Wars weapons to date.

Galen Erso: Mads Mikkelsen is one of my favorite actors of today, so you can already see where I’m going with his assessment.  It’s odd to see him in the role of a good guy lately, but he plays the part of father well, and this now makes A New Hope that much better.  One of my all time complaints with episode 4 was that the Death Star was too easily destroyed for such a massive and seemingly impervious machine.  Galen building the exhaust port as a way to access the main core is a genius way of making that which happens next make more sense.

K-2SO: As always with these films, the droids are a highlight, and he’s no exception.  Finally we get to see a droid in action and with no filter on his mouth he seems more relatable than any of the previous droids we’ve met.

Bodhi Rook: seemed unstable to me, even before that creepy squid leech thing latched onto his mind.  Despite that concern, he proved to be a reliable character that fleshed out well.  I only wish we’d have gotten to understand a little more about his motives.  He betrayed the empire.  We get Galen’s reason, but why did Bodhi?

Saw Gerrera: was in the Clone Wars, so this is the first character we actually get to see from that era who was key to the plot.  Unfortunately for us we don’t know (without watching the cartoon) how he got so damaged physically.  He needed oxygen not so differently than Vader does.  He’s a heaping mess of bio and mechanical parts.  His demise so soon was unexpected as I thought Forest Whittaker would have been in it longer, but I think how he was utilized was done so with a smart approach.

Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, C-3PO, and R2-D2 – all had good placement in their cameos/small roles.  It connected this movie to the others in a way to show continuity, without using them as the driving force (pun intended) behind the new characters.  We also get a few other nods and cameos in the background or in quick passing that made me smile.

Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia – And here’s what left a bad taste in my mouth.  The special effects here were off with Tarkin in a way that made him uncomfortable to watch.  I think it’s awesome that they brought back the character, as he is crucial to the next chapter in the main story.  He had to be there, but the digital recreation of the face didn’t work when he was speaking.  It was almost as if his face was moving too much, yet not at all in some spots.  I understand this is nitpicky, but then we get the cameo from Princess Leia at the end, and she looked flawless.  I mean it was like she was pulled right from episode 4.  Aside from the looks the presence of these two was perfect.  This shows how Tarkin gained control of the Death Star, as well as how Leia got the plans.  Even my son’s eyes went wide with Leia’s cameo at the end.

Storm Troopers: My son always loves the storm troopers, as do I.  I found that the addition of the Sand troopers was a bit much.  They didn’t really need them as there were standard troopers everywhere.  It’s not like they were trying to blend in.  This was a pure merchandising move, but one I won’t argue with.  The same can be said for the newly added ships.  Not necessary, but a welcome addition.

Darth Vader:  I have to say that by the end of the movie I was a little upset at his lack of use, but then the second I thought that he came on screen and went on a rampage.  This was the best Vader scene we get to see in full attire.  It shows him at the peak of his rage, and connects him more to his former Annakin self than the other movies do.  I love how we also get to see how he takes a bath.  A Sith Lord must keep clean after all.  My complaint may be picky, but I’ve two here.  1) The lightsaber looked out of proportion.  It looked entirely too short in the final shot of him, and I feel it didn’t match up with what we’ve seen of the weapon in all its other appearances.  It was more a short sword than anything else here.  2) James Earl Jones was a welcome return to the voice, but something about his portrayal didn’t feel energetic or convincing enough.  It could be that he’s quite a bit older now, but I feel he lacked some emotion that could have made Vader much more menacing than he already was.

Time period wise I was a little off in my assumptions of when this took place.  I thought this happened a few years before episode IV, but I was mistaken as it leads directly into A New Hope.  Either way it was a great interpretation with lots of surprises that caught me off guard.  With the exception of some special effects irregularities, this stands well with the franchise, but does not exceed the greatness of a couple of the other entries in the series.  All in all I’d give it a solid 4 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.

What do you think?  Did you like Rogue One?  Comment below.

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