Last week I got to see the pre-screening for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I had to take the weekend to catch my breath and get caught up on some much needed Christmas shopping. But not to worry, my review is below! PS, major spoilers!
First things first, I absolutely loved this movie! There’s no denying that. Anything Star Wars has me there in a heart beat, and while I loved The Force Awakens (even though it was the exact same storyline as A New Hope), I equally loved this movie just as much. To be honest, I can’t decide which I found better.
But, not every film is perfect, and while I enjoyed this one, it did have it’s flaws. To begin with, the first few scenes seemed a little choppy. It would cut from scene to scene and from location to location. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when transition scenes aren’t smooth.
I was excited for Forest Whitaker’s character Saw Gerrera. I thought he would act as an Obi-Wan like character for Jyn Erso. I assumed he’d play an important father figure before dying/sacrificing himself. His death and his character seemed un-important and lacking. I definitely think it was a waste of an Academy Award winner. And what was the point of that mind reading alien thing with the pilot? Completely useless.
Now, onto the good stuff! I enjoyed that the rebellion wasn’t some squeaky clean good guys versus bad guys situation. In a rebellion, both sides have to do things that are morally grey. And I loved that Diego Luna’s character, Cassian Andor portrayed that. He represented a morally conflicted man that was part assassin part good guy. You could tell he felt bad about some of the things he had to do – making him question where the line needed to be drawn on doing things for the greater good.
Ben Mendelsohn killed it as Orson Krennic, you could tell when he was freaking out, when he was disappointed and when shit was about to hit the fan with his character. Like the rebellion had grey areas, Orson Krennic was a character you could understand and feel his frustration. We can all relate to having your boss breathing down your neck, or trying to steal your accomplishments (although our bosses are Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin, so there’s that).
Speaking of Grand Moff Tarkin, let’s get into the CGI aspect of the film. Many people had issues with the CGI Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin, arguing that it was disrespectful to Cushing’s memory. However, I have to respectfully disagree, I think they paid homage to him wonderfully and played true to the character. I believe Cushing would have been proud to be apart of another Star Wars story.
Now, excuse me while I nerd out a bit here, because I just about lost it when the pilots from the rebellion breached the force field! Why you ask? Because they were the same pilots from A New Hope! The ones that attacked the Death Star at the end of the film; they had the same call signs, for example Gold Leader. But the best thing was when the Red 5 pilot got killed, thus leaving room for a new Red 5 pilot in A New Hope, who we all know ends up being Luke! It’s the little things guys. I also loved that the ship was Rogue One, it just brought me back to The Empire Strikes Back when Rogue Two was looking for Han and Luke on the winter planet Hoth.
All the characters were perfectly cast! I especially enjoyed Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of the character Galen Erso. He did all he could to sabotage the Death Star, which was pure genius in the grand scheme of all things Star Wars. Having that one small vent in A New Hope be the downfall of the Death Star was always a running joke in the film, but now we see that it was intentionally created by Erso. That was pure genius and makes total sense in the Star Wars universe. I loved it!
Alan Tudyk as K-2SO killed it! He’s like the voice actor go-to for robots in films. Much like Andy Serkis is for CGI Apes. Him dying was the saddest thing ever, buuut we all knew that they were all going to die, so there’s that. This mission was a suicide one from the start, and I liked that they didn’t shy away from that, allowing all the characters to have the heroic (albeit sad) deaths they deserve.
Shall we talk about Vader now? Okay, so the first scene with Darth Vader was cheesy, and his suit looked like a toy. Him cracking a joke about “choking on ambition” was so lame and so out of character. But I enjoyed the fear that he invoked in the characters just by walking into a room. That vibe was the very essence of the original series, and it was executed perfectly. I also enjoyed that he was chilling on Mustafar, the planet he and Obi-Wan had their epic fight in Episode 3. It was a nice call back to the prequel series.
And with the prequel in mind, let’s talk about Bail Prestor Organa played by Jimmy Smits. I enjoyed having him in the film as it also managed to pay homage to the prequel series. And I loved how he referenced Obi-Wan Kenobi and Leia, by saying he trusts her with his life and that he sent her to Tatooine to get Obi-Wan. While having CGI Leia in the end was a tad cheesy, I enjoyed how it wrapped up the missing pieces from the original film.
And speaking of the end. The scene at the end with Darth Vader was LIFE. It was epic, it was dark, and it was everything I wanted to see with Darth Vader. You could tell that no one stood a chance next to him! I loved how it was straight darkness, and then all of a sudden you hear he’s breathing and the red lightsaber. Sweet. Baby. Jesus.
This ending (with CGI Leia) also explains the beginning of A New Hope that saw Vader chasing Leia’s ship and capturing her, but not before she sent C3PO and R2D2 to Tatooine to get Obi-Wan.
All in, this was a great Star Wars film! I look forward to the many others to come (including the Han Solo spin off film). What did you think of Rouge One: A Star Wars Story? Which film did you prefer, between this and The Force Awakens?