And so we’re back, in outta’ space and most have you have still got that look upon your face. Yes, it’s December which now means a new Star Wars movie and this time it’s a spin off directed by our very own Brit Gareth Edwards, he of Monsters and Godzilla fame. With a screenplay by Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, About A Boy) and Tony Gilroy (The Bourne films, Proof of Life). I know you’ll watch it regardless of what I say but let’s see if it’s any good.
Rogue One tells the story of Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), who is a rebel and criminal. She is given a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star which her father Galen Erso, played by the wonderful Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange, Men & Chicken), has helped to build but has also put the weakness in it that we all know from the previous Star Wars films…that have yet to happen in this universe…
With the help from a group of Rebellion misfits including a blind stick-carrying Chirrut Imwe, played by Donnie Yen (IP Man, Hero), a Spanish assassin Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna (The Terminal, Elysium), a sarcastic robot K-2SO, voiced and motion captured by Alan Tudyk (I, Robot, Frozen), an asthmatic Saw Gerrera, played by Forest Whitaker (Platoon, The Last King of Scotland) and a rogue Alliance pilot Bodhi Rook, played by Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler, Four Lions), she’ll take on the universe.
Now that Disney have hold of the Star Wars franchise and announced that they’re going to milk it for all it’s worth, sorry I mean, they’re going to release some more films. The question has to be can they be any good? The original films, all six of them, are pretty poor when it comes to the actual story lines and the directing isn’t great either (how many screen-wipes can you get in one film George?).
Well, I’m pleased to say, that Rogue One has bucked that trend and then some. Writer Weitz and Gilroy may seem an odd pairing but what they’ve given us is, I guess, what you’d expect. From Gilroy we’ve got the action and fighting you’d expect from the writer of Bourne whilst Weitz has done what he does best and given us a story line. That’s right, this is a Star Wars film with a, I can hardly believe I’m going to say it, with a good story, a decent script.
Add to that the wonderful directing of Gareth Edwards, who allows the on-screen action to take centre stage and the stellar cast to do their thing, and it is clear why Rogue One has been receiving such good reviews.
Jones is very good as the rebellious, er, rebel, who doesn’t really care what’s happening until she thinks she can see her father again. Luna is great as the one who’s pushing her to help the good-guys, Yen is fantastic as the cool, calm but kick-ass master and Ahmed plays the “I’m not really sure about all this” pilot wonderfully. But, but, despite all of this there is one thing that confirms this is now a Disney movie and that is…an animated comedy side-kick.
K-2S0 has all the jokes, all the one-liners and provides many laughs throughout the film. I imagine some people may hate him for that (I don’t think it will quite be as bad as Jar Jar Binks) but personally I loved it. When he pops-up it tends to be at moments that are just about to get too serious or too self-involved and he disarms the whole thing instantly with a quip. As I said, probably not for everyone but it worked for me.
There’s nothing particularly bad to say about Rogue One, other than you know the outcome already, but then, that didn’t stop you watching Titanic did it? There are some things I really liked and found amusing and wish to point out though.
They do a really good job of bringing back Peter Cushing as General Tarkin using some computer trickery (it’s credited to Guy Henry (V for Vendetta, Harry Potter)). I mean, it’s really good. If you’ve seen any computer games you can see the technology at work but man it had me thinking for a split second.
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There’s a couple of shots/moments that had me chuckling to myself, I’m not sure if they’re intentional or not. Trying to not give anything away: they head for a planet to grab the plans for the Death Star to find the planet surrounded by a force-field with only one entry point…if you don’t think of Spaceballs when you see that, really, you haven’t lived!
Once they land they take a land-based shuttle-thing from the pad and that, plus the shots of the shuttle-thing moving away, look like they were ‘pinched’ from The Incredibles. There’s also the ship they use to land on said planet, think Thunderbird 4 or, alternatively, a giant turtle/tortoise, say Discworld from Terry Pratchett (who, incidentally, according to IMDB has books coming out in 2022…) and you won’t be far off.
These aren’t bad things, they seem like Mr Edwards having some fun and all credit to him for taking the opportunity. I can’t claim to be the greatest Star Wars fan but Rogue One is certainly a hit with me.