ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (PG-13)
Guest Reviewer: Indraneil Chakraborty
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker
Director: Gareth Edwards
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur, Simon Emanuel
Screenplay: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy
Story: John Knoll, Gary Whitta
Based on Characters by George Lucas
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: Greig Fraser
Editing: John Gilroy, Colin Goudi, Jabez Olssen
Production company: Lucasfilm Ltd.
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Budget: $200 million
Running time: 2 hours 13 minutes
NO SPOILERS !!!
Script, Screenplay & Direction
George Lucas’ epic space opera franchise has been recognised as a milestone franchise in cinema, with the Original Trilogy of Star Wars being praised universally.
Last year, Star Wars introduced a new generation of movie-goers to a new trilogy, beginning with The Force Awakens. Calling the movie a success would be an understatement, and I had high hopes with the franchise moving forward and the older protagonists passing the torch to a new generation of heroes. But I, like many, was surprised when the franchise took a step back with Rogue One. The movie, in its crux, arises from the now-signature opening crawl of the Original Star Wars (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). The first two paragraphs of the crawl talk of the Rebellion’s first victory against the Empire, wherein the former acquire the plans of the Empire’s new weapon, the Death Star. This first victory is highlighted here in the first Anthology Film of the Star Wars franchise.
Rogue One works as both- a standalone prequel to one of the best films of all time, and as a fan service, and ends up bringing the best of both to the table. It contradicts itself, with many of the standard Star Wars elements like lightsabers, the force and even the opening crawl discarded. Rogue One features a plot that never feels overblown or boring, bringing in just the right amount of new flair and old vibe to make a good movie. Therefore you can conclude that ‘there is no other series like Star Wars, and in this series, there is no movie like Rogue One’.
The movie’s strengths lie in various factors like its vast array of new and returning cast members. Gareth Edwards patiently establishes new characters good enough for you to root for them even in their success. We meet and love the new characters for the entirety of the movie.
Felicity Jones explores the complex emotions of her character, Jyn Erso, with spectacular ease. As Cassian, Diego Luna forms a great character who believes in even doing morally ambiguous actions for the greater good. It was pleasing to see Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen team up as warriors who fight together. And then there is Alan Tudyk’s K2SO, a cynical droid, who steals every scene he is in, with wit and sarcasm, feeling like a darker version of C3PO, and provide comic relief in a relatively dark movie.Ben Mendelsohn’s ambitious Director Crennic is a great villain. And of course, James Earl Jones’ menacing voice brings life to the ultimate Star Wars icon- Darth Vader! Vader is used here as a classic example of ‘Less Is More’ where although he appears in very few scenes, he is used to amazing effect.
VFX, BGM & Technical Aspects
The visuals of this movie are stunning. Modern technology is used to its maximum potential to create new elements like and recreate the older ones such as the Death Star, and characters like Grand MoffTarkin. Rogue One looks and feels beautiful, with familiar forms of battle changed for more grounded and believable sequence and action set pieces.
The cinematography is at its best, with great production value getting well utilised in creating some of the most memorable scenes in the entire series. Other than a few sequences here and there- specifically ones involving the digitally recreated characters, the movie is a visual treat.
Michael Giacchino’s musical score is excellent. He provides music that is different from the franchise staple John Williams, while also incorporating familiar elements such as the theme which gives the perfect feel for the series.
Rogue One stands out as both a standalone movie as well as a worthy prequel to one of the best trilogies of all times. This is the redeeming prequel Star Wars needed, bringing a fantastic cast together with a gripping plot and a good production value to keep you on the edge of your seat for the entirety of the film, leaving you craving for more.