Friday, January 6, 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Release Date: Dec 16, 2016 
Runtime: 2 hr. 13 min. 
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk, Mads Mikkelsen,
Forest Whitaker.

It goes without saying there's always a palpable energy when it comes to anything "Star Wars:" the intro, the score, and of course, the conflict. And if "The Force Awakens" was any indication of renewed nostalgia, "Rogue One" is the next best thing in this ongoing saga. Being the first in a planned anthology series, the film has its advantages of being independent from the canon. While it is technically a prequel to "A New Hope," "Rogue One" delivers an untold narrative – ultimately feeling fresh and new as a solid stand-alone feature. Centering on the Rebels who led the first successful battle against the Galactic Empire, it is, in all essence, a war movie. Packed with action sequences and aerial combat, Director Gareth Edwards pulls out all the stops in this intergalactic adventure. Felicity Jones as the headstrong protagonist is another step forward in gender/diverse casting. Along with the addition of Diego Luna, Donnie Yen and Forest Whitaker, to name a few, "Rogue One" boasts and exceeds much needed diversification. As is such the case, however, the most interesting character is none other than a droid. K-2SO, played by Alan Tudyk, is as cynical and droll as C3PO is affable. His passive aggressive demeanor is a fun counter to Jyn's more defiant nature and, as a result, he receives some of the best lines of the film. A few familiar faces also make timely appearances, as obvious connections to linear storytelling. While the use of CGI is generally beneficial, some scenes can be unnerving and noticeably artificial. Still, "Rogue One" offers a gratifying experience, even if it's a filler before Episode 8. With plenty more stories coming down the pipeline, this will be one that's hard to beat.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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