I was able to see an early screening of Rogue One on Monday, but travel expenses and all the popcorn and soda I bought came out of my own wallet, gladly. I promise that this review is spoiler-free and safe to read before you see the movie. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.
“Rebellions are built on hope.” -Jyn Erso
About Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, with Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are producing, with John Knoll and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The story is by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, and the screenplay is by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy.
The idea for this series of Star Wars stories came from George Lucas himself. When Lucasfilm president and Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy sat down with George Lucas, he told her his plans to continue the Star Wars saga but also mentioned another idea.
“George was excited, not only about doing more saga films, but also about the potential of doing standalone stories that lived and breathed inside the Star Wars universe,” explains producer Kathleen Kennedy. “The Star Wars episodes (I-VII) follow the Skywalker family and tell a continuing story. The standalone movies, which can occur anyplace on the timeline, will introduce new characters and explore a wide variety of genres.”
I was immediately impressed that Rogue One felt like a smaller scale film compared to the Star Wars saga. It felt familiar but more like a sneak peek into the “real” world of Star Wars versus a big Hollywood production. I think my favorite part of Rogue One was that it felt more old school and stripped down. I know my husband is going to love the fact that they had real people in physical costumes – instead of a ton of CGI and special effects.
Without giving anything away, I can say that Star Wars fans will love this new look into the story that they have known and loved. I do think that the story can stand on its own for people who don’t know the Star Wars saga well, but it certainly has a deeper meaning and will be appreciated to a greater level by long-time Star Wars fans. Theres quite a bit of action, which would be expected, but Id say that kids who love the other Star Wars films will love this movie, too. I wouldnt hesitate to bring mine.
Rogue One: the Background
In Star Wars Episode IV, A NEW HOPE, we learned that Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Death Star, an armored space station with the capability to destroy and entire planet. It was this idea that inspired the Rogue One story, as filmmakers explored the question of who those Rebels were and how they were able to steal the plans to the Death Star.
Veteran ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll said, “This is a time after Episode III and the purge of the Jedi where all the remaining Jedi have gone into hiding. It’s before Obi-Wan comes back and Yoda reappears. Ordinary citizens are the ones who have to step up and show their heroism.”
It is “ordinary citizens” like Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor and others they gather along the way that take on the great task of finding and stealing those plans.
Who’s Who in Rogue One
JYN ERSO (Felicity Jones) is an impetuous, defiant young woman who lends her skills to the Rebel Alliance and undertakes a desperate mission.
CASSIAN ANDOR (Diego Luna) is a respected Alliance intelligence officer, and the person who seeks Jyn out for the mission.
CHIRRUT ÎMWE (Donnie Yen) is the blind monk whom Jyn first encounters when she and Cassian arrive in Jedha. Although without sight, Chirrut is anything but unseeing. He is a skilled and artful warrior who can see into the hearts of all those around.
BAZE MALBUS (Jiang Wen) is a pragmatic soldier and a crack shot, and has grown up with Chirrut and will follow his closest friend to the ends of the universe.
BODHI ROOK (Riz Ahmed) is a cargo pilot who works for the Empire but changes course when faced with a harsh truth. Everyone on the team is a soldier or warrior in some way and there’s this guy who is there by accident but realizes he has to step up and make himself valuable. He’s an everyman, someone audiences can relate to.
K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) is a reprogrammed Imperial security guard now loyal to the Alliance. Tudyk brings his sense of comedic timing and presence to the task of bringing the droid to life via motion capture.
SAW GERRERA (Forest Whitaker) is an outlaw rebel, a man who believes that the Empire must be defeated. He has a close relationship with Jyn from her childhood.
K-2SO was my favorite character by far, providing some light-hearted humor throughout the movie.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th in 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX 3D
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