ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY – A Review by John Strange

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story L to R: (Felicity Jones) & (Diego Luna) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL
Ph: Film Frame
©Lucasfilm LFL
By: John ‘Doc’ Strange
The arrival of the Imperial ship carrying Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), Director of the Death Star Project, signals the end of the Erso family farm off in the back of nowhee.  Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is a scientist that is required to complete the project.  He knows how the imperials work so he tries to get his wife, Lyra (Valene Kane), and daughter, Jyn (Dolly Gadsdon), to run to their hideout in the nearby hills.
This is one scene that follows the generic path to put our protagonist on her ordained future but it is well written.  Young Jyn does an excellent job as a she faces the worst possible situation imaginable and, taking command of her fears, does what is necessary rather than give in to her desire to run to her parents.
On her journey Jyn (Felicity Jones) is assisted by elders such as Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) the man who raised her.  Along the path fate has written for her, she acquires some companions that could only happen in a Star Wars-related film.  We have Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a member of the rebellion pretty much all of his life; K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), a flippant Imperial droid turned to the side of the rebels; Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), a blind monk who has much of the force in him; Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), devoted friend of the monk; and Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), an Imperial pilot who risks his life to switch sides to deliver Galen Erso’s message to the rebellion.
We also have the members of the council highlighted by Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and the rebel military leaders like Admiral Raddus (Paul Kasey but voiced by Stephen Stanton).  We also see the fighter squadrons of fighters we came to know in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Against her are arrayed an impressive cast of blackguards.  We have the aforementioned Director Krennic, Governor Tarkin (the late Peter Cushing OBE via the use of computer magic that only digital editing of old footage can do), and our favorite Sith Lord, Darth Vader (voiced by the incomparable James Earl Jones).
This is not a film full of Jedi Masters but rather an action film set in that universe.  It is a story of a young girl growing up to be a strong young woman who sees what is necessary and doing whatever it takes to accomplish that mission.
This film is important to the series.  It is a backstory that we (okay, I) have wanted to know since the day we first watched Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.  Are you going to love it?  I can’t guarantee it but you will definitely enjoy it, even more so if you know the series and recognize the various homages.
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Ben Mendelsohn, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, James Earl Jones, Jimmy Smits, Warwick Davis, Donnie Yen
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action)
Selig Rating: A
Runtime: 133 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
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