Movie Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

a movie made by a fan for the fans

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by Gareth Edwards

‘The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.’ (IMDb) (by Gareth Edwards, 133 min.)

This was the surprise of 2016 for me. I did not suspect I would like this as much as I did. I did go into it a bit reluctant, because I just didn’t know what to expect. Would I love it? Would I hate it? I heard it was a bit different and I didn’t know if I could handle it.

When the movie started, I kept waiting for the scroll and the Star Wars Theme to come, and then it didn’t. For the first 15-20 minutes I just couldn’t connect to it. It felt like Star Wars, but it wasn’t Star Wars. Don’t get me wrong. There were a lot of resemblances and little nods to the old movies (the blue milk, the back story of Jyn, Tarkin…). But the beginning felt like a completely different movie, and it bothered me until I thought why? Why am I making this into a Star Wars Movie? It’s Rogue One, and from the moment I let it go, I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

The story was so fun. Starting with introducing a lot of characters. (I mean, a lot) Setting up the story and the stakes and then the last third of the movie (when it really let go of all the different references to the other movies) just knocked everything else out of the park. It was so action-packed with an incredible ending (kuddos for that ending), great character-evolution and a perfect standalone film in the Star Wars Universe.

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Felicity Jones is great as fierless Jyn and it is refreshing to start the story with a character who already got into all the mess and fighting. When we meet her, she’s in jail and kicks ass from the start. K-2SO is so freaking funny. He’s a new favourite of mine and gives the rather dark story, a lighter touch. A lot of this is thanks to Alan Tudyk. You feel the passion for the character in his play and tone. Cassian was a little harder for me to warm up to though. From the start his character was portrayed as a sort of spy and assassin and some of his choices seemed a bit off to me. Also the way he treated Jyn in the beginning kept me with an odd feeling.

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Saw Gerrera was another character that was screaming with references to the other movies. The sound his machine makes sounds a lot like Darth Vader. The way the camera moves around him did make him a more important character than he actually was. I would have liked to see more of him and what drove him to his actions. Maybe learn a bit more of his background and his reasons.

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What surprised me most was the technical abilities that you can see in this movie. Tarkin is completely made with motion-capture and then they recreated his face. I didn’t see it at all in the movie. It wasn’t until afterwards that I looked up how they made it happen and it quite astonishing. When you know how they made it all possible, you notice it a little bit, but it doesn’t scream in your face (like in some other movies). And what also was a nice nod, and one I did notice, was that they used some unused footage from ‘A New Hope’. I recognized some characters from that movie and I did feel satisfied I noticed it.

In the end, it was a movie I really enjoyed. One that got really interesting from the moment it let it’s heritage loose and went its own way.

8/10 stars

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