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Star Wars Rogue One – Review

rogue-1Okay, I am gonna lay down all my cards on the table. Come clean. I saw this film in Japanese. Now, I do know Japanese (a bit, some, a little) but nowhere near enough to follow a film without English assistance. You might think, how can a guy who watched a film, couldn’t understand the film come out and review a film. Well you have a point, a very good point actually, but then you haven’t seen this film. If you had you would not ask such pointless questions, you would understand the need to write down my thoughts and feelings on this latest entry into the star wars saga.

Okay so before I continue I was going to do a non-spoiler review but I just cannot talk about this film without TALKING about this film. So therefore I am sorry but this is a spoiler zone. However in my good graces I am going to summarize of sorts in the final paragraph which I will make spoiler free. ONLY the final paragraph. SO if you want to know if the film is any good without any potential plot spoilers then scroll down.

Okay.

SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS.

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SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS.

First thing to admit was with the language difference the minutia of the relationships was sometimes lost on me. However the plot and general idea of the characters was not. As you are probably aware the film follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who is a strong female lead in the mold of Rey, which is what Disney seem to be going for these days. A good break away from the Disney princess stereotype that they basically created. She is a bit of a badass who suffers a personal tragedy pretty quickly in the film, her Dad ( Mads Mikkelsen) is part of the goddamn Empire and she has a very personal link with the mission she undertakes later in the film.

So the first part is quite heavy on cutting from one place to the next, as the film is setting up who the hell everyone is and what is happening we are constantly jumping from one planet to the next, from this guy to that guy. And in other words a little slow. Although not all the characters are introduced in this section of the film I want to point out that the film generally does a very good job of fleshing out characters and making you care about them. I mean if it wasn’t for BB-8 then K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) might have been the best robot in the new star wars films. He brings a lot of the comic relief and has an interesting relationship with Jyn. I love the dynamic between Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) who are at odds about the force. Baze basically has the best weapon in the whole damn solar system, which has an infinite ammo cheat enabled. Makes for some real good viewing and Chirrut Imwe (My man, Donnie Yen) is a God with his martial arts skills. My only grievance here is that the thought of Donnie Yen wielding a lightsaber is something I would have KILLED to see. Alas. The flip side is Captain Andor (Diego Luna) was not as exciting as the rest of the crew and the only guy who wasn’t fleshed out like everyone else was Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed).

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Donnie Yen) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

Also on the character front there has been some talk on the whole human characters being recreated in CGI. I personally don’t have a problem with it. It was noticeable, you could tell off the bat they were CGI but the quality is good enough that it doesn’t kill the film. I do think it was a bold choice though and one that in some ways does detract from the feel of the film. When I see a digital X-Wing flying through space I don’t bat an eyelid but when I see a digital human actor, of whom I am familiar with, then for a small part I am taken out of the experience as my mind contemplates this information.

As we know the film is all about the retrieval of the Death Star plans before Episode 4, and I have to give some credit to the writers for linking together the films so well, the film answers some major plot holes in later Star Wars films (ie. why did you build a massive super weapon with a purposeful weakness and then build a second one with the same goddamn weakness). Well that has been answered, and in a satisfying way. Actually I loved the way the movie tied into the universe more than I loved the story itself. Mads Mikkelsen’s role as traitor to the Empire serves as personal purpose to Jyn whilst also answering said question above.

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The reason I loved this film and I truly did love this film is because of the final act. Now I have seen people (video games), and even previous Star Wars films ( I am looking at you prequels) try to pull off epic set pieces, battles, in the star wars universe but most of them just don’t capture that Star Wars feel. This set piece (as actually all of the film) manages to capture some of the magic and a lot of the feel of what makes Star Wars what it is, all whilst delivering one of the most amazing on screen battles I have witnessed. If you wanted to know why I couldn’t not talk about this film without spoilers then this final act is it!

When the rag tag team of our beloved heroes go to retrieve the Death Star plans, the stage is set for the mother of all endings, it is all pretty standard stuff, lasers, Chirrut kicking ass, some stealth infiltration that sort of thing but the moment the AT-AT Walkers come out to play things take a drastic turn for the EPIC. I mean seriously everything changes. We see X-Wing/Tie Fighter dog fights (the X-Wing cam my personal fave), and everyone starts dying, i mean EVERYONE! We knew before the film that nobody was supposed to survive this mission but it’s Disney, it’s Hollywood, it’s Star Wars (Franchises man!) but they stuck to it and just killed them all and my god was it great. Now i don’t mean it was like joyful because it was actually really sad, but it was deep. You know like in Game of Thrones where (SPOILER) Ned Stark is beheaded and you are sat there thinking no, there is a mistake, he’s not dead, next episode he will be alive, he was saved at the last second…..surely? It is like that. Star Wars doesn’t just kill off likeable heroes very often but here we got the whole gang. It was fresh, and a little dark and it was really good. In terms of the story and in terms of impact it just felt right!
To cap off this momentous and amazing set piece we are treated to Darth Vader literally kicking some serious mother f*****g s**t out of a whole bunch of rebels. Again it is so dark, it is devastating. But it is great to just see that incredible power that Darth Vader holds, it is great to see why he is legend and why he is feared throughout the galaxies. The very last point I want to make is just how cool it is that Rogue One literally sets up the events of Episode 4 , I mean literally seconds before the original starts this one ends. I tip my hat.

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Final Paragraph

Wow, what to say. Rogue One for me is a better Star Wars film than Episode 7. It captures the feel and magic of the originals, it showcases some amazing scenes and makes you really care about the heroes of this movie. Seriously go watch this movie, you will thank me later.

2929453094852845 out of 10

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