HOLLYWOOD—The biggest complaint that I have heard from most people who have ventured into the theater to see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is that the opening of the movie is quite slow, and drags a bit. And unfortunately, I would have to agree with that assessment, but if you can overlook those minor hiccups, the flick which is actually a prequel to the 1977 classic “Star Wars,” is absolutely a must-see!
Let’s discuss the elephant in the room first. Is the movie the best “Star Wars” flick in the franchise? No, not in my personal opinion, and it doesn’t outdo “The Force Awakens,” and there are specific reasons for that. Some being that the film has its high points and its low points, which is in part to the script. The opening which gives the audience a slice of the life of our heroine Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), and her father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), sets the stage for where things will go for our characters and the overall story.
I’m no “Star Wars” fan by all accounts; so my perspective on a franchise that is beloved by many I refuse to sugarcoat things to appease the masses. As pointed out earlier, “Rogue One” is a prequel, which sets the stage for the events that transpired in the first movie of the franchise nearly 40 years ago.
So as a spectator, one has to go into the movie with the acceptance that you ‘might’ have a sense how things will transpire or where they will lead up to. Jyn and her father go to extreme lengths to prevent Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) from getting his hands on the one man who can help The Rebels finish their completion of the Death Star, yes, many are aware of that term from previous flicks in the franchise. It’s a weapon that can lead to the exact devastation of the galaxy as we know it.
The next time we see Jyn, she is an adult, who has been in disputes with Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker); the man who rescued her from becoming a catalyst used by the Rebels to further their agenda. The rest of the movie plays out as a cat-and-mouse game where The Rebels and The Empire try to outwit one another. Of course we have the bevy of storm troopers who have become iconic characters in each of the “Star Wars” films, but there aren’t any characters in my personal opinion, who really pop. Jones does a stellar job carrying the film for the most part, but none of the characters have personalities that make me fall in love with them.
Whereas, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver delivered that extra spark to make their characters absolute standouts, many of the characters in “Rogue One” come across slightly flat, but I can forgive that major flaw because of the progression of the plot. The opening is so enthralling thanks to personal touches of genius by director Gareth Edwards; there is a wise balance between story, character development and action, and as the movie progresses it continues to peak.
Some of the fight sequences will just leave the audience in complete awe. It would be interesting to see where the next chapter in this saga might head, considering we have “Star Wars: Episode VIII” arriving in theaters in 2017. While, I am eager to spoil the epic climax, I will refrain because alerting mainstream America of the massive phenomenal moments that involve one of the great villains in movie history: Darth Vader. Yes, Vader has minor appearances in the movie, but the moments are so grand, every second on screen is worth it. Also, there is one epic cameo at the very end that will not only surprise “Star Wars” fans, but even those who are not fans of the series.
“Rogue One,” is not a perfect movie, but it is quite entertaining and a worthy installment in a franchise that is so beloved by many fans of the cinematic universe that should not be missed.