We are now halfway through my marathon of the Star Wars saga leading up to the release of Rise of Skywalker. This was the second Disney-produced Star Wars movie and it is the first Star Wars live-action theatrical release that was not part of any trilogy. The movie provided a very satisfying experience in theaters and upon revisit, I found it to be just as entertaining as when I saw it in theaters.
Rogue One takes place right before the events of A New Hope, and it’s about a research scientist, Galen Erso, being captured by the Galatic Empire, and he is forced to develop a weapon that is capable of destroying planets. While he builds it, he places a weakness in the newly created Death Star and sends a hologram to his daughter, Jyn, and rebel Saw Gerrera. In the hologram, he sends her on a mission to retrieve the plans so the Rebel Alliance can use them to destroy the station.
The movie stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, a rebel intelligence officer, and Alan Tudyk as K-2SO, a reprogrammed imperial enforcer droid, who now serves the rebellion. Felicity Jones does a good job portraying Jyn, but she isn’t exceptional as some of the line delivery comes across unnatural and very awkward, with some of the emotional moments fall flat.
Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk were great in the movie as Andor and K-2SO. Luna does a great job of portraying a character with the weight of the world on his shoulders, along with a more complex character. His character arc in the movie was satisfying and well-written. Unlike Phantom Menace, the comic relief character in the movie is hilarious. Rogue One utilizes blunt and sarcastic humor that works with the situations used and it is relatable. But, he also delivers some emotional moments in the movie, which adds substance to his character.
Like all Disney-produced Star Wars movies, the cinematography is amazing in this movie as it combines elements of CGI and practical effects. The space battle in the third act of the movie was tremendous and every action scene was thrilling with the fluid camera work and limited editing, combined with a great score. One controversial aspect of the movie is the use of CGI characters from A New Hope, Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia. While they could have looked better, using the characters that resemble their original appearance makes sense from a thematic and story perspective. My one problem with the look of the movie is Jedha, the planet where Jyn meets with Saw Gerrera. It looks too much like Tatooine, and the time on the planet would have more impact if the setting was unique.
Rogue One is a slow burn as the first two acts of the movie are build-up to the third act. My main issue was the first act as they should have developed Saw Gerrera a lot more as he is an important character in the story. They should have developed him more instead of throwing in a random tentacle monster in the movie for no reason. However, it is worth it as the third act is incredible and an unforgettable ride. There is a scene where Darth Vader, who is once again voiced by James Earl Jones, goes on a rampage against a group of rebels and it is absolutely glorious and possibly the best scene in the Disney Star Wars era.
Overall, while the movie takes a while to get going, and the main protagonist isn’t spectacular, it is a very fun and satisfying movie that delivers with a strong final act. It is a great prequel to A New Hope and it helps make that legendary movie even better. If you want a fun movie that delivers and satisfies, this movie is for you.