'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Movie Review

Updated: Dec 31, 2016, 12:04 IST | Johnson Thomas

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' is a war film where aggression rules. There's far more action in this one than any of the other Star Wars entities and it all plays out as a precursor to the very first issue

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' - Movie Review
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'. Pic/YouTube

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
U/A; Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk
Rating: 3/5

George Lucas’ 40-year-old ‘Star Wars’ universe gets a spanking new standalone entry pitched several light years before the events of the original 1977 issue. It’s a war film where aggression rules. There’s far more action in this one than any of the other Star Wars entities and it all plays out as a precursor to the very first issue.

Directed by Gareth Edwards with Felicity Jones who looks like an older version of Daisy Ridley ‘The Force Awakens,’ hogging the central focus, this film is a much anticipated one and therefore in all likelihood, will have a reciprocal turn at the opening weekend worldwide. Unfortunately, given the demonetisation affect, the Indian returns might not have that expected edge anymore.

The film is action heavy, interestingly paced and has a basic story comparable to several other Hollywood hits (‘Wild Bunch’, ‘Dirty Dozen’ etc) cutting across genres. It’s a time of conflict across the galaxy and militancy appears to be rampant. In the midst of all this aggression the Rulers of the Empire have developed a fearsome destroyer ‘the Death Star’ which has the power to decimate entire planets in one mushrooming blast. A group of unlikely heroes/interplanetary misfits led by Jyn (Felicity Jones) band together to wage war against the oppressive regime and in order to make it count have to destroy the very weapon that is being used to curb their opposition. Jyn is much sought after by the rebels/resistance because she happens to be the daughter of Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) the brilliant scientist who was coerced into creating Death Star - albeit with a minor flaw.

So ordinary people do extraordinary things to force an oppressive regime down on its knees. In addition to the rainbow coalition of actors with distinctive accents, picked up from all over the world, there’s also a 7-foot druid lightening up the action heavy display of interplanetary techno-craft. Chinese actor Jiang Wen is the lone warrior with a staff, Diego Luna is a rebel spy, Riz Ahmed is a pilot who's defected to the Alliance and Forest Whitaker turns up briefly as a lone wolf outlaw who raised Jyn in her father's absence.

The film has a rough and rugged temper, spans across several far flung planets and moons with varied costuming, extensive distinguishable detailing and distinctive looks for each character. The word ‘Stormtroopers’ has a deliberate negative connotation here -given the mindless use of such forces in war scenarios by aggressive and oppressive regimes of the real world.

‘Rogue One’ screenwriters Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy concentrate their mite on the female warrior destined to take on the powers in the hope that she can exonerate her father from the rebels charge of conspiring with the enemy. And it’s all in a scaled up sci-fi battle that makes outer space look like a futuristic facsimile of what populations, places and events of the future might look like. There’s so much happening with thickly populated chaos that things get a little haywire. But ensuing battle scenes shot in docu-footage style generate enough energy to sustain the action. The problem here rests largely with the inter-galactic expanse and the numerous crafts and characters jumping in and out of the frame. It’s quite difficult to keep track of who is fighting whom in this accumulated jamboree. The performances are decent enough - no glaring issues there. This is the first Star Wars film without a John Williams score. Michael Giacchino, his successor orchestrates a melodramatic tone making it ingratiating rather than free flowing. So all in all, this is a satisfactory outing and will keep the appetite of the fans whetted for the next in line.

Watch trailer of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

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