Set right between Episode 3 and Episode 4 of the Star Wars saga, Rogue One tells the story of the Rebel team that stole the plans for the Death Star. Directed by Gareth Edwards (who directed the 2014 Godzilla movie) and screenplay by Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy, Rogue One serves as a standalone film while taking a few key elements from the Star Wars franchise to make one of the most original films this year.
Rogue One tells the story of Jyn Erso, an orphaned criminal who is sent out on a mission by the Rebel Alliance to retrieve the plans for the Death Star. Accompanied by a few Rebels, a blind warrior, and other non-Imperial allies, Jyn Erso and her partners take on one of the most difficult missions the Rebellion ever had. Now if you had been a Star Wars fan or had at least watched Episode 4, you would know that Rogue One’s plot had already been *spoiled* 39 years ago in the first few seconds of Episode 4’s opening.
Despite its story and ending already being public knowledge, Rogue One manages to do more than tell the events that took place. The film does not focus on the Jedi or the Sith, and it should not. It gives its audience an inside look on the Rebel fighters–the characters we barely cared about– who took part in the battle; the sacrifices they had to make; and the fate of their lives.It shows that Star Wars is more than just the lightsabers and the people who wield them, but also about the background soldiers who risk their lives off-screen.
Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, who is just as talented as her fellow cast members. I personally could not pick my favorite characters from the film as I noticed that I basically listed down more than half of the main cast. Ben Mendelsohn, who stars as Orson Krennic, stands as the film’s main antagonist, who offers a refreshing point of view since he after all is no Sith, rather an Imperial officer who only wants to do his job excellently. Vader’s brief appearances were no short of powerful either, and his scenes are ones to watch out for.
The visual effects are absolutely gorgeous, while the animation to make some of the classic characters were somewhat off-putting. It was also quite refreshing to see the classic Stormtroopers, AT-AT, and other Imperial machinations in digital film.
Rogue One is essentially a war flick set in space and is as tragic and heartbreaking as any war movie should be. In 2 hours, I have grown to love and empathize with the main characters and have shared their courage, tragedy, and most especially, hope. Its brilliant 3rd act is quite possibly one of my most favorite 3rd acts in films. How the 3rd act presented the rebellion’s desperation to succeed in its mission puts me in awe just thinking about it. I am still debating with myself about it, but I am highly confident that this may be the 2nd best Star Wars film for me right next to Empire Strikes Back.
Surely, this is not a film that you can watch only once. I think Rogue One’s major flaw is that it may have been too good. This is a movie that people, both Star Wars fans and those who aren’t, can easily enjoy.
To those who have not watched the film: be amazed.
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