Movie Review: Rogue One (2016)

Directed by Gareth Edwards, Rogue One is a 2016 space-opera-heist film, the first in the Star Wars Anthology series. Separate from the main series (Episodes I – VII), Rogue One tells of a group of rebels who steal the plans for the Death Star, as alluded to in the opening crawl of Episode IV, making this film both a sequel and a prequel. Leading an ensemble cast, Felicity Jones is Jyn Erso, daughter of lead designer of the Death Star Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), living constantly on the run from the Empire. Among the rebels Jyn teams up with are former rebel captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), blind warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), mercenary Baze Melbus (Jiang Wen) and the robot K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, as this ragtag bunch of misfits attempt to find a weakness in the Death Star in order to aid the newly formed rebel alliance.

+ the action is very enjoyable. Whether its a beach-front shoot-out or a massive space battle, the action scenes are well done, with that really satisfying “pew” sound from the blasters and particularly guttural explosions
+ none of the acting was particularly good or bad. Donnie Yen as Imwe was my personal favourite character, thanks to his subtle sarcasm, followed by Tudyk’s K-S20 (which reminded me, positively, of Alan Rickman’s Marvin, from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Basically, this checkbox list of various races (and a robot) will fill out any diversity critics, but none of them were particular standouts

– the entire film falls into the same pitfall that any prequel does: we already know how it is going to end. It is not a spoiler to say they get the plans, because that is literally what the movie is about. There is little drama on who may live or die, because we know for a fact they can’t be important characters in the sequels. Any drama is meant to come from the HOW something happens, but for the most part that is not enough to make me care
– I hate this new trend in action movies to have protagonists crack little quips mid-battle. Is it too much to ask that the protagonists treat things as seriously as we are meant to treat them as the audience?

Should you see this film: I admit freely, I am not a Star Wars fan. I found Episode VII to be incredibly worthless, and this was only marginally better. Hopefully the upcoming Star Wars Anthology films can offer something more, because as it stands this was a waste of my time.

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