Rogue One | Review (CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS)
Episode IV, A NEW HOPE It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….
Do you recognise the above text? It’s the opening yellow scroll synonymous with STAR WARS movies, oddly excluding ROGUE ONE. That scrolling text is the first party of STAR WARS canon and history ever viewed. The first three sentences of those historic words was the first plot every written for ROGUE ONE. Forty something years later we get the finished product, a wait well worth it.
ROGUE ONE SYNOPSIS:
ROGUE ONE is a historic war movie. It is like the great war movies; THE GREAT ESCAPE, PLATOON, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. It is a movie based on factual history. However unlike the other movies, ROGUE ONE is based on fictional factional history. A battle in the STAR WARS universe that allowed and commenced the events leading to the introduction to the Skywalker family. It is a side story about getting those bloo soaked death star plans that we see Leia place inside R2D2 when we first meet them.
In the Star Wars timeline – this could classified as Episode 3.5 but it’s a side story. And ROGUE ONE fits in like it was always meant to be.
THE GOOD GUYS:
There are many characters in ROGUE ONE you will know them all in no time. ROGUE ONE mostly centres around Jyn Orso (Feicity Jones), who’s father designed the Death Star. She is a lot like Rey in THE FORCE AWAKENS, albeit no visible force is present in her. She is a loner, she is ballsy and she doesn’t mind a good fight in the name of doing what is right.
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is the Rebel Captain and a true rebel – Han would be a good friend of his. He has a dark side and lives his life for the Rebel Alliance, I would trust this guy with my life. K-2SO is a reprogrammed Imperial droid and Cassian’s right hand man. Don’t fuck with this droid, he is pretty much a jovial Terminator who is also the comic relief for the movie. You will love him.
Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) is a blind martial arts master who, while not a Jedi, is truly embraced with the force. His best friend and partner, Baze Melbus (Wen Jiang0), is a walking gun machine. These guys are inseparable and you want them with you in a fight. Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) is a defected Imperial pilot who brings news of the plans to the death star to the Rebel Alliance.
THE BAD GUY:
It wouldn’t be right discussing all the good guys without the new bad guy. Ben Mendelson nails his character, Orson Krennic. The asshole that has overseen and administered the death star being built.
THE OTHER GUYS:
Let me tell you – there is some much loved other characters you need to see for yourself. You know Darth Vader makes an appearance but there are some more characters from the past movies that pop up and will make you go oooohhhhhhh. Speaking of Darth Vader, his final scene is possibly his best scene in all of the STAR WARS movies.
FITTING INTO THE STAR WARS UNIVERSE:
ROGUE ONE is seamless in fitting in to the universe. It doesn’t feel the need to scream at you that it belongs. Moments that link it to the past or future movies aren’t giant reveals that say ‘HOLY FRACK LOOK AT ME,” they just occur because it is necessary to the story. It is not homage, it is historical fact.
Visually this movie could be filmed on the sets of A NEW HOPE, it is sublime, all old tech. Making ROGUE ONE visually fit into the timeline is created with so much attention to detail there needs to be an Oscar for it.
THAT LAST HOUR THOUGH:
ROGUE ONE starts out quick and fast. The pace only really relented about 45mins in and I started to worry it was slowing down too much and was panicked as to where it would go. But it was a necessary breather, because the last hour of this movie is up there as one of the best hours in STAR WARS history. The battles are beyond epic, on ground and in space. The 3D, while post production 3D, is not gimmicky and the battle visuals gave me goosebumps.
Three things I missed, the opening text scroll, like I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Not having John Williams score the film, he should be the ONLY person to ever score a STAR WARS movie forever. Finally – no opening fanfare STAR WARS music – that one hurt – it, like the scrolling text, is synonymous with the commencement of a STAR WARS movie. Not the Fox Fanfare – the STAR WARS opening song – not present.
ROGUE ONE is a marvel. Gareth Edwards made a genius movie with MONSTERS. But followed it with his big budget piece of shit, GODZILLA. He is more than back for me with ROGUE ONE, his best movie to date. A movie that means the world to me to watch with my godson (of sorts). This is our third STAR WARS movie together – and now a tradition of STAR WARS love. He was ten when we watched our first one together and now he is turning sixteen. I swear blind he was the adult watching this and I was losing my shit like a kid in a lolly shop.
No movie franchise can ever come close to the emotional hold the STAR WARS universe has over me. Sure HARRY POTTER has my worship but I discovered POTTER as an already formed adult, STAR WARS is my childhood and now can be my eternal life. ROGUE ONE is out now and needs to be seen on the biggest and loudest cinema screen you can find.
Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movieindustry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan.
** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.