Saturday, December 17, 2016

Movie Review: Rogue One

The question is...
Is the best Star Wars film 
of all time??

Holy crap, people! Rogue One is incredible. Its better than the prequels, the original trilogy, and it blows The Force Awakens out of the water. Is it better than The Empire Strikes Back? I haven't decided yet, but I am leaning that way. Truth be told, it is amazing, and you need to see it in the theater. Now, that's done, let's get down to the review. Ready? Here we go!!

                                         Warning: Spoilers!

The movie starts slow. For about 20-25 minutes, its giving a back story, which is necessary because the film is introducing you to characters that you've never seen before. But the remaining 90+ minutes is nothing but gripping action.

There is no text crawl at the beginning of the movie, and I was ok with that for a couple reasons. One, it is a Star Wars story, not an actual Star Wars movie. Two, you already know what was going on, especially if you've been watching Star Wars: Rebels, and The Clone Wars. The word gets out that the Empire is building a doomsday weapon, and they have to find a way to stop it.

Rogue One answers several questions that Star Wars fans have had for years. One, How did the design flaw in the Death Star get there? Two, Does the Death Star have a hyper drive? And, Three, Can Darth Vader fight as well in the suit? Well, the design flaw was put there by a scientist, Galen Erso who was forced to work on the project. He put it there as revenge on the Empire for forcing him to work on the weapon, which does have a hyper drive. And, yes Vader can fight in the suit. He is absolutely brutal. So brutal and deadly that it is now obvious that he was just toying with Obi Wan in Episode 4, and with Luke in Empire. Not so much in Return of the Jedi though.

Years after Erso was kidnapped, his daughter, Jyn Erso is liberated from an Imperial work camp by Cassian Andor, a rebel captain, and taken to Saw Gerrera, a rebel that even the rebellion doesn't like because of his crazy ways. You may remember him from The Clone Wars.

Jyn Erso in the final battle

He has a message for Jyn from her father. The message states that he did in fact put the design flaw in the Death Star plans, but before he could explain exactly how to exploit it, the Empire arrives with the Death Star, and obliterates the city. Gerrera stays and meets his fate, but the others are able to escape to Yavin 4, where the rebel base is. The rebels actually decide to surrender because of the power of the weapon, but Jyn, Andor, and a group of rebels, including an Imperial pilot who has defected take a captured freighter to go and infiltrate an imperial base to steal the Death Star Plans. When they arrive at the base, and are able to get in, the rest of the rebellion shows up and the fight begins. The rebels ultimately get the plans, and a familiar ship blasts its way out of the system in the nick of time.

Right off the bat, the Death Star in Rogue One is down right terrifying. You get a chill the first time you see it with its weapon being installed. And, its appearance at the end of the movie is spine tingling as well. 

That's no moon!

This movie is extremely well done. The characters are brilliantly developed, and you actually care about them, especially knowing they are on a suicide mission. The story is riveting, and you're on the edge of your seat the whole time. There is some comic relief, that comes from a droid, K-2SO, an imperial droid that has been reprogrammed to serve the Rebellion. His lines are pure sarcasm, yet genuinely funny. It isn't forced, annoying, and childish like another character who shall remain nameless. There is nothing for kids in this movie. 

K-2SO..Possibly my new favorite talking droid

The CGI is damn near perfection. In fact, there are 2 characters from Episode 4 that are in the film, and they are completely 100% CGI, and you'd never be able to tell the difference. The landscapes are spectacular, and everything looks dirty and gritty, as it did in Episode 4. The point of view is incredible as well. You see the AT-AT walkers as if you're on the ground, looking up at them. The battle scenes? Spectacular. The space battle scenes are not only the best in Star Wars, but likely the best in all of Sci-fi. And, the point of view from the Death Star? We see the blasts from the planet instead of space.

It also follows the theory that the Empire was using the Death Star in secret. After the first city was destroyed, they made mention that the propaganda story was that the city was destroyed as a result of a mining accident. Although, it won't be secret much longer!

Since the Jedi are gone, we also see a force user who isn't a Jedi, but he uses the force in other ways. He's blind, but can see. He's also a master at martial arts. There are so many great characters in this movie. 

Not a Jedi but can wield the Force as well as any

There are also plenty of Easter eggs in Rogue One, but they aren't out in the open and obvious like they are in Episode 7. You see the 2 jerks who were giving Luke a hard time in the Cantina. You see the Hoth monster, and come to the conclusion that the one on Hoth must be a hermit that chooses to live in seclusion. There are others, but they are used sparingly. Even Darth Vader is used sparingly. Everything is done just right.

Speaking of Vader, I have to tell you about Vader's fight scene. At the end, his star destroyer captures a Rebel cruiser. A captain gives an order to form a boarding party. We see the rebels from their side of the door, and as it is broken down, we do NOT see a bunch of storm troopers. We see Darth Vader in the doorway, and nobody else. He then activates his light saber and mows down about 20 rebel soldiers like they were nothing. Intense!

The movie ends literally where if it kept going, the very next scene would be the opening scene from Episode 4. This is the best movie I've seen in a very long time. Is it the best Star Wars movie? I don't know if its better than The Empire Strikes Back, but it is definitely better than Episodes 1,2,3,4,6, and 7. It blows Episode 7 out of the water.

So, Gareth Edwards, you hit a grand slam! Thank you! You owe it to yourself to go see this movie. And, if this is what we can expect from Disney owning Star Wars, and from Episodes 8,9 and the upcoming spinoff movies, then SIGN ME UP!

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