Let’s face it, it’s emotional being a Star Wars film fan. For me, it was always my little sci-fi fantasy escape; a permanent resident on my DVD shelf. When the prequels were announced, it felt like we had ‘a new hope’ of reliving the joy of the original franchise. Insert your own views on that here _______ , however, it’s fair to say they weren’t shot in the same tone as their predecessors. What they certainly did do is spark intrigue into the rest of the Star Wars universe and timeline. What about all the other things going on in this huge ‘galaxy far, far away’.
Now, not only do we have a promising continuation of the main story line in Episode 7: The Force Awakens, but we also have Rogue One, which hit UK cinemas last week.
The film is set in the period sometime between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (probably closer to the latter) – a time when people are losing faith in the force and the Jedi are thought to be all but extinct. The Galactic Empire is gaining influence and power, and there are rumours of a doomsday super weapon that could give the Emperor absolute power. The Rebel Alliance are all that stand in their way; they need the plans to the Empire’s Death Star!
The backstory? TGalen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen – Casino Royal’s 007-whipping villain), is a reluctantly conscripted scientist tasked by the Orson Krennic (Ben Medelsohn) – Director of Advanced Weapons Research for the Imperial Military – to continue his ‘energy research’. He also happens to be the father of…
Jyn Erso (Oscar-nominated Felicity Jones), a troubled outlaw, recruited to lead a team of rebels to steal those plans. There are no cloaked, lightsaber-wielding Jedi to rely upon here. What we get is K-2SO, a reprogrammed but never-the-less intimidating imperial droid, who is their infiltration agent with a charming demeanour – ‘The captain says you are a friend, I will not kill you.’ Donnie Yen (who seems to be everywhere, lately) is the blind highly skilled warrior-monk, Chirrut Imwe, who, although he can’t wield the force himself, is a firm believer and advocate. A previous enemy, Imperial fighter pilot, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed – Nightcrawler in X-Men), does the flying. Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang – Let the Bullets Fly), a hardened solider from an Imperial-controlled world, does a lot of the blasting. And then we have Captain Cassian Andor (Deigo Lunda – Elysium), a pretty-faced Alliance Intelligence Officer.
It’s like the Italian Job, in space, with X-Wings and energy weapons. Nice!
There are spaceships ; X-Wings, TIE Fighters in spectacular CGI displays of green, blue and red blaster fire and digital choreography that leaves you buzzing with adrenaline. A lot of scenes focus around the planet ‘Jedha’, a place of high importance to the Jedi (Yes, all you hardcore Star Wars fans will know exactly why); now an Empire-controlled colony. What is the significance of this of planet to the building of the Death Star?
The alliance is clearly the very lowly underdog in the face of an overwhelmingly strong and near dominant force in the galaxy, with Rouge One tugging at the heartstrings, just like a film about a certain Philadelphia-born boxer did in the 1970’s (coincidently, the same decade A New Hope was released).
Rogue One has all the elements of a more memorable film for the franchise and, most likely, a spinoff platform for the Star Wars legacy. It’s an on-the-ground battlefront, and also behind the scenes (so to speak) first-person view of how big the Galactic Civil War was, and how crucial the acts of seemingly ordinary people were in bringing down an evil superpower close to penultimate dominance.
Star Wars without the Jedi? Amazingly, we think it works.
You will watch it. It is your destiny.
P.S. Geek fact – Rogue One is the name of the film but was also intended as a pun as it is the first live-action film that is not part of the original saga.
Written by Adam Lewis @Adawris