‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

By on December 21, 2016
Felicity Jones portrays Jyn Erso, the heroine of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” (Image from bustle.com)

Felicity Jones portrays Jyn Erso, the heroine of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” (Image from bustle.com)

The war outside Star Wars

Let it be known … this Reel Reviews will be full of spoilers. So, tread lightly if you have yet to see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” During its opening weekend Disney’s Star Wars spinoff raked in $155 Million making it on par with other big releases like “The Dark Knight” ($158 million) and “Hunger Games” ($152 million). Worldwide the story-within-a-story brought in more than $290 million as it stole seats from “Collateral Beauty,” making the drama the worst-opening Will Smith-featured film of all time. (With actors like Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Peña, Helen Mirren, and Keira Knightley, I’m sure “Collateral Beauty” will make up some ground once all the sci-fi geeks &tstr; myself included &tstr; get their intergalactic fill.)

To end all debate, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” stands apart from the seven movies we’ve lived with since 1977. Even though the story takes place in the same time and dimension (and features some of our favorite characters (Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2) “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is its own story that fits into the timeline of events leading up to the destruction of the Death Star.

Meet Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”), our heroine. Led into the life of an outcast, Erso runs from the memory of her slain mother and enslaved father only to find herself rescued by the rebel alliance. Here we meet Cassian Andor (Diego Luna, “Elysium”), the hero rebel whose task is to kill Erso’s father, a scientist working on a new super weapon. We quickly learn Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen, “Casino Royale”) is the unwilling mastermind behind the Death Star and he has sent a message to his daughter (via Saw Gerrera, played by Forest Whitaker) telling of a secret weakness in the super weapon’s defenses.

Going against rebel plans, the heroine heads to a remote land to try and steal the plans to the Death Star. This is about the time viewers start to notice the word hope being repeated in allusion to “Star Wars: A New Hope.” Erso is joined by Cassian and his droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk, “I, Robot” oddly enough), and enlists the skills of Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), and other mercenary tough guys. They are successful, but at a cost. Ultimately, the plans to the Death Star are handed over to Princess Leia (played by Norweigan actress Ingvild Deila). Yes, that is right; the princess makes an awkward, cgi-rrific appearance.

As stated, there will be no sequel to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Everyone dies. Well, not everyone, but every character central to this story. If not killed in action the main characters ultimately fall victim to the power of the Death Star. The snarky K-2SO is the first to go (other than Erso’s mother and father); he was probably my favorite character in this film. I couldn’t buy into Cassian, but I loved what Whitaker did with Gerrera.

Aside from its catastrophic ending, the thing that stood out the most to me was the film’s score. Step aside, John Williams, and make way for Michael Giacchino. The composer is nowhere near a household name, but maybe he should be. He was an Oscar winner in 2010 for “Up” and has put the music behind such animated greats as “Cars 2” and “Ratatouille.” I loved how he created new music in the classic Star Wars vein and pulled bits from previous movies when original characters &tstr; Darth Vader, Bail Organa, etc. &tstr; made appearances.

My buddy Mike says, “I highly recommend seeing Rogue One at least three times.”

I think that is a fair recommendation.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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