When I first saw the trailer for Rogue One, I thought it would be an easy cash cow from the already established and money-making Star Wars franchise. However, its 84% review on Rotten Tomatoes and fast ticket sales prompted me to see what all of the fuss was about.
The movie features new characters like apathetic ex-criminal Jyn Erso, daughter of a weapons scientist, Captain Cassian Andor, a rebel ship captain, and a duo of a blind martial artist and his machine-gun toting friend. Although these characters have never been seen before in the Star Wars universe, they are compelling, fun, and developed. For those who want to see their favorite characters again, fear not. Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and even Grand Moff Tarkin (reanimated with CGI as Peter Cushing is deceased) show up along the way to cleanly tie the story in with the original trilogy.
The script is a mix of action, suspense, and humor, cleverly interwoven to create a believable and continuous narrative. It begins with Jyn’s father reluctantly yielding to the Empire to save his family, and Jyn running away terrified. It picks up about twenty years later, with the Death Star nearly complete. When Rebellion leaders find out about the Empire’s newest superweapon, they recruit Jyn, who had become jaded to the Empire’s cruelty, to assist. Although she is reluctant, Jyn agrees to join the mission because of the promise of a reduced prison sentence. Epic battles, clever one-liners, and inspirational monologues ensue as Jyn assembles her team to help destroy the Death Star.
As someone who can almost always guess the endings to stories, I am pleased to say that I did not anticipate the conclusion of Rogue One, and I would highly encourage any fans of Star Wars, science fiction, or action movies to see it. While you can continue to groan “not another Star Wars prequel,” watching it is a much better idea. I guarantee that Rogue One will far exceed your expectations.
Movie Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
Review by Vanessa Woo