Ever since George Lucas made the disappointing Star Wars prequel trilogy, it didn’t seem like the franchise would make a return to its glorious form. But JJ Abram-directed follow up to the culminating chapter of the original trilogy The Force Awakens last year, brought the almost sunken ship back to life and how! The movie event of the decade grossed over two billion dollars worldwide making its significance even more historic. Now, exactly a year after, a first-of-a-kind Star Wars movie has hit the screens. Rogue One is a spin-off that perfectly fills the gap between both the trilogies. And to a certain extent, even makes the first chapter seem more awesome.
The film introduces us to Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), a man of a concealed identity, as it opens. He is living somewhere on a distant planet with his wife and daughter. And is on the hunt by an evil weapon researcher Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn).
Very soon, he is captured and killed along with his wife for revolting, but his daughter survives. Years later, we see the same girl aka Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) transform into an insurgent who gets involved in a mission to safeguard the plans that lead to the creation of a weapon called the Death Star. The team accompanying her on the mission includes a Rebel officer (Diego Luna), a blind warrior (Donnie Yen), a rookie pilot (Riz Ahmed) and a robot named K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk).
While there aren’t jaw-dropping twists like in The Empire Strikes Back and The Force Awakens, they are enough to keep you invested. But, there are some serious issues with the writing.
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The pace is brisk, which makes the first act feel extremely rushed. Director Gareth Edwards tries his best to keep in symmetry the character development with stupendous action sequences, like in his previous Monster outing Godzilla. But the film still feels sorely incoherent.
But once we’ve explored the new domain and characters, things take a complete U-turn. One exhilarating set-piece after another, from the midpoint till the climax, kept me hooked. The final act, in particular, is commendable. And arguably, the most memorable in recent years.
Rogue One successfully ties a lot of loose ends found in transition from episode three to four — Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope as the master of all villains is adeptly deployed in the core plot.
The much-awaited cameo appearance completely steals the show and makes every other actor look puny in comparison.
This by no means signifies that the lead cast fails to impress. Sure, there aren’t characters to take home, like — Rey, Finn, Poe from last year. But Felicity Jones, Donnie Yen and Alan Tudyk as K-2SO win you with sincere performances. Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack is terrific as well as it keeps the adrenaline pumping throughout the runtime.
Overall, Rogue One is an entertaining and worthy Star Wars outing. It sails into a different direction from the first scene itself (no opening crawl) without exploiting the quintessential franchise elements (no lightsaber duels) and capitalizing on its director’s explosive vision, making it the most darkest and action-driven chapter till date.
P.S: The 3D is absolutely unnecessary. Enjoy it without the glasses.
By Mayank Nailwal
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