Movie Review-Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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by Clayton Gallagher

It’s time that I broke the ice with you; I am a HUGE Star Wars fan. Ever since I watched Episode III with my cousin, I have enjoyed every media of the tales a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away as possible. When I heard that its creator George Lucas was selling his franchise to Disney in late 2012, I was torn between being scared and joyful. After reading tons of books, watching hours of cartoon and movies, and building LEGO sets with my favorite Force-wielding characters, I was shocked to see that Disney would be getting rid of many of the stories told outside the 6 films. They provided elaborate backstories for background characters and told epic tales of the struggle between light and darkness. However, joy soon overcame me as I realized that not only could these legends be brought back to life, but new stories(including movies) would spin from this transfer.

That was 2014, and The Force Awakens brought me a small sigh of relief. It was a good movie in my opinion, but something was missing. A void in my….somewhere in my body. There was a crave for something more. Sure, I was satisfied by the sequel, but I wasn’t entertained enough. Then I heard that spin off movies were coming for the years that the main series films were not on. These anthology films(no order to them, with each movie on a different part of the timeline) caught my attention, and after several trailers and a birthday party, I got to see how the Rebels got the plan to the terrifying Death Star…..

….and I can say that I have never been as awestruck as I was when I saw it. It took something I cherished in my childhood and raised it up to something greater. An article like this can only scratch the surface of my newfound love for this movie. The movie tells of an orphan named Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and how she was recruited by the Rebel Alliance to steal the plans for the Empire’s newest technological terror: The Death Star. While she is doing this, she has her own goal as well, which is to find her father Galen (Mads Mikkelson) who disappeared when she was very young. By doing so she meets up with her “foster father”, the short-tempered Saw Gerrera (Forrest Whitaker). By the end, she is able to inspire her fellow Rebels into stepping out of the shadows to stand up for the unfortunate, by attacking the Empire and getting the plans. A simple story of “Have’s vs. Have Not’s” elaborated to fit the big screen.

Gareth Edwards does a beautiful job at directing it, and morphs 2 sides of the Star Wars franchise into one film. It takes the discipline, humor and character development of the OT with the action and morals of the PT. Every character felt unique and had a purpose, and they had many great moments (My favorite is without a doubt K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, the apathetic and comedic droid courier of the group). It also does a great job at outlining the contrasts at the Rebels by including Saw Gerrera and his band of fighters, known as the Partisans. It shows how the Alliance’s disciplined and diplomatic form of rebellion contrasts with Gerrera’s harsh and downright terroristic ways. The action in the movie doesn’t fall short either, as duels of laser rifles meet with dogfights of starfighters and clashes between the small corvettes and frigates of the Alliance and the gigantic and terrifying Star Destroyers of the Empire. Gareth does a great job at telling a story about people and keeping the action going.

On a personal note, here are a few Easter Eggs and Trivia to know. A couple characters have their roots in other media aside from fresh starts or main series. Saw Gerrera himself began in the TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars.His rebellious nature goes back to his youth, where he, his late sister Steela, a band of rebels, and Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano must overthrow the newly crowned king, who has aligned himself with the Confederacy of Independent Systems (the droids)-and reappoint the old king. It’s great to see how we can incorporate minor characters from other media and make them big screen stars. Speaking of cartoons, Rogue One has some tie ins to the current kids animated series Star Wars Rebels. The show’s jack of all trades freighter The Ghost appears in the space battle over Scarif, along with several Hammerhead Corvettes introduced in the show’s second season (which originally came from a non-canon source!). The phrase “General Syndulla” is mentioned in the film, which is a reference to the freighter’s pilot Hera Syndulla. And most importantly the astromech Chopper himself appears in the background of one scene. Again, these aren’t Earth-stopping things, just some things I noticed and appreciated.

Overall, I really loved this movie. The action brought me to the edge of my seat, each character felt like a real person, the comedy kept me and my friends joking around for days, and the plot was simple yet deep. But one thing stood out to me above all: hope. Hope that I could continue to enjoy this series. Hope that I could pass that love down to my kids, nieces, nephews…whoever! And hope that this franchise will never grow dull, no matter how far long ago and no matter how far away that galaxy is. I have hope for Star Wars

….and rebellions are built on hope.

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