Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" Is Refreshing Yet Still Had Me Wanting More

This is the first of the Star Wars movie that isn't an episode. It also doesn't open with the famous theme or the typical opening crawl. Does the film itself still feel refreshing and new. Thankfully, it does yet interestingly, despite being one of the better blockbusters to come out this year, the film didn't have me completely mesmerized by the time it was over.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the prequel to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope that follows the story of Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, who joins a group of rebels (played by Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, and Jiang Wen) to steal the plans of a weapon base known as the Death Star that will threaten to destroy planets.

Since the film is a part of the Star "Wars" universe, I thought it was very interesting how this film felt like an actual war movie with characters entering unforgiving terrains and engaging in constant battle. So it was neat to see a film that lives up to the name of its saga.

I also want to give this film major points for not just its incredibly diverse cast but how it has people of different genders and races together without ever making a political statement or having any forced tokenism. However, in spite of its representative slate of actors, some of their characters weren't as fleshed out as I would've hoped they would be. They are given parts to play in the main conflict that takes places yet I never felt like I got to know any of their characters.

Felicity Jones and Diego Luna do fine jobs in their respective lead roles as Jyn Erso and Rebellion leader Cassian Andor, yet they didn't have much chemistry. One of the reasons Star Wars: The Force Awakens was so entertaining was because of the energy and charisma from stars John Boyega and Daisy Ridley.

However, Donnie Yen was a scene stealer as Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior who isn't a Jedi yet still tries to learn the ways of the Force. He had some of the best fight scenes and he even brought some much needed comic relief. Also, Ben Mendelsohn was reliably good as the main villain, Director Orson Krennic. He's slightly hammier than his usual performances but he was still in sync with the fantastical world the film is set in and you can tell he was having a blast with the role he was playing.

Another problem this film has is that in spite of its high octane action, it takes a while for things to pick up steam. It could because there were three editors on the picture and how there were re-writes and reshoots. So there were a bit too many cooks in the kitchen which could also explain the focus on some of the main characters.

Despite its flaws, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story does bring a refreshing uniqueness to its universe. It may not be as entertaining as The Force Awakens or have an instant iconic feel like its technical successor A New Hope. But I hope that the upcoming spinoffs they have in store have the same uniqueness as this one does.

Grade: B