When it was first announced that we would be getting new Star Wars Stories between the main movies, it seemed like it might spread the magic too thinly. Seems that these worries were unwarranted, as Rogue One, despite not featuring the iconic opening crawl or the John Williams soundtrack, is as Star Wars as Star Wars can be and we cannot ask for more, can we?
I might have actually squealed with delight in the cinema when Mads Mikkelsen first hit the screen – the brilliant Hannibal actor plays the father of the young heroine of the film and he is also revealed as the designer of the Death Star. (This is not a spoiler, we learn it almost as soon as we meet Galen Erso, as the slimy General Merrick comes to visit)
Mikkelsen is not the only iconic actor here, it is also a joy to see Donnie Yen, playing a blind warrior who is at one with the Force and provides some of the movies best fighting scenes.
The film revisits some historic moments in the saga, I say revisits, but technically this is the first time we see them, providing many joyous moments for major fans that might pass others by. My favourite of these was hearing the infamous Mouse Droid from Episode IV. Just a few beeps increased the smile on my face!
I’ve talked about the joy of characters/moments, but Rogue One is mostly a serious war movie, what we are seeing is not the Solo and Skywalker epic feats, but the grunts on the ground ensuring that the bigger plans can be pulled off. The world they live in is dirty and grimy and they are not going up against Vader or The Emperor, it is simply them against your run of the mill stormtroopers, or fighter pilots being the first to go into battle, to take down shields, or lead the Empire away from bigger plans. This does not give you much time to spend with many of these characters before you see their X-Wings spinning out of control and crashing out of the story.
Alan Tudyk should get a special mention, playing the former Empiric droid K-2SO, who plays it far less camp and humourous than C3PO, when he is giving out the odds, which always seem to be against our heroes.
Rogue One’s biggest strength is probably that as soon as you have seen it, you’ll want to go straight on and watch Episode IV for the millionth time, as the two films will now tie seemlessly together like an space epic centipede.
Rogue One is a blast throughout and it seems that the Star Wars saga is in safe hands. See you for Episode VIII, sooner than you can blink! 🙂