Movie Review: Rogue One
It’s probably not shocking that Jonathan and I are huge Star Wars fans, so I suppose it should come as no surprise that we loved the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One. The first in a line of movies that will not fall in the traditional trilogy lineup, the events of Rogue One occur right before the Corellian corvette appears in the opening shot of A New Hope. It was released in December of 2016 and quickly gained the kind of revenues expected from a Star Wars flick. It quickly gained a top spot in mine and Jonathan’s favorite films of 2016, and with its release this week on DVD and Blu-Ray, it seemed appropriate to write a review for this space adventure.
For dedicated Star Wars fans who follow canon and read the various books released, then the character of Galen Erso was no stranger. The movie begins with Galen being taken by Orson Krennic, an Imperial officer, and Galen’s daughter, Jyn, hiding from the death troopers that accompany Krennic. The movie then catapults to 15 years later as the Rebel Alliance discover news of a pilot on Jedha who has defected from the Empire. It is said he carries news about a new weapon the Empire is developing, and it is referred to as a planet killer. Jyn is paired up with Cassian Andor, a rebel intelligence officer, and K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial droid, who are tasked with retrieving the message and the messenger. It is in this task that they become connected with Baze and Chirrut, former guardians of the Kyber temple. This team, along with Bodhi, the defected pilot, will end up being the ones responsible for retrieving the Death Star plans that we know the rebels have in their possession at the beginning of A New Hope.
While the stealing of the Death Star plans is the whole point of the movie, we get a lot of depth before we reach that point. We get a glimpse of a world where there are no more Jedi…or so most people think. We get a glimpse of a rebellion who doesn’t have anything together and certainly have no way to battle a planet killing weapon. The writers and director also go to great lengths to show that the rebels are not as squeaky clean as we expect our heroes to be, and we see immediately some dissension and competition going on within the upper echelon of the Imperial officers.
It’s a film with quite a few moving parts, and I think they executed it all superbly. Within all of this, you have the development of such characters as Jyn and Cassian, who both must face their own personal demons along the way. Chirrut provides wisdom and guidance; Bodhi shows a man who is influenced heavily by Galen and knows he doesn’t have to continue on the path the Empire has set before him. It’s a movie with a lot of heart and a smart alleck droid who has impeccable comedic timing (thank you, Alan Tudyk). It fits perfectly into A New Hope and helps audiences to even view that movie in a new light knowing what it cost to retrieve those plans. So, if you haven’t already, I have to recommend that you check it out. Even if you are not a Star Wars nut like we are, I think you’ll find it to be a moving story of sacrifice and hope.