Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Star Wars: Rogue One ★★★★☆


The first of the next anthology series of Star Wars spin offs, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” shares the tale of the original rebel spies who managed to steal the plans for the Death Star in a bid to save the galaxy. The movie is a sort-of prequel to “Episode IV: A New Hope,” and focuses on the events surrounding the innovative weapon. Gareth Edwards manages to fuse the essence of the original trilogy with this modern CGI extravaganza that impresses devoted fans and lure the newest generation to the cult following.


Darth Vader is back. Young Princess Leia makes an appearance. And a brand-new squad of heroes fight to save the galaxy. But there are no tauntauns or ewoks to appeal to the younger audience. The plot is designed particularly for adults, progressing similarly to a WWII film. And the final act is one of the most heart-wrenching ground assault space battle scenes to date. So expect plenty of violence, explosions, and heroic sacrifices. Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) plays Galen Erso, a former Imperial-scientist who flees the Empire after assisting in the design and construction of the Death Star. After his wife’s murder, he is taken into custody, leaving their daughter Jyn is left horrified and presumably orphaned. Fast forward twenty years, Jyn is a blaster-wielding young woman played by Felicity Jones. (The Theory of Everything) 

Peripheral characters bring some light-hearted humour to the narrative.  Diego Luna (Casa de mi Padre) plays Cassian Andor, the shifty rebel spy. Donnie Yen (IP Man) and Wen Jiang (Let the Bullets Fly) play the comedy duo Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus, the blind rebel with combat skills to outmatch every foe and his former freelance assassin bodyguard. But the most popular character is K2SO, the candid, reprogrammed Imperial droid, part-time protector and part-time getaway driver, who provides brilliant one-liners of his confusion, brilliance, and the least reassuring statistics as he tries to assimilate the rebel world. The diverse misfits create a strong foundation for the narrative to build upon.


Gareth Edwards, the man behind the “Gozilla” reboot, manages to conjure the spiritual motif that has weaved through the franchise in the form of astounding moments. However, Gareth implements the notion of faith more consistently than any of the collection. The characters are continually faced with choices of physical and mental danger from jumping across a metal abyss to trusting possible Imperial spies. Chirrut’s favourite incantation, “I am the force, the force is with me,” shows the importance of belief during moments of jeopardy and uncertainty. Ironically, Chirrut cannot see but everyone else is blind to the higher powers he devotes himself to.


As impressive as “Rogue One” is, there is one crucial element the story lacks—character development. While the secondary characters thrive, Jyn and Diego fail to come across as genuine or as defined. Their emotional peak comes across as slightly forced rather than naturally moving. But the ending is still moving, and probably one of the most realistic and popular of the franchise. 

★★★★☆

Cayleigh Chan


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