“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will fill you with hope and optimism. It’s the kind of film that can inspire a new generation of Star Wars fans!
The year was 1977. I was 17 years old. It’s a year I will never forget because that’s when “Star Wars” (this movie was later re-named “A New Hope”) was released.
It forever changed the way we watched movies! George Lucas and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) launched the heavy use of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) with this film, and we haven’t looked back since then. (You can read more about Lucas and ILM in my book “101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up“)
After “The Force Awakens” was released last year, I couldn’t imagine it could be toped. However, Lucas’ signature vision of high-tech spaceships, intense action sequences, breathtaking landscapes in a galaxy far, far away, and the complexity of the characters in charge of delivering this beloved story to viewers, lives on 39 years later in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
I watched the latest episode in the “Star Wars” franchise at a press screening, two days after the red carpet premier in Hollywood. I deliberately read Tweets and commentary posted by celebrities who attended the premier.
I met Kevin Smith this summer, so I had to check out his commentary.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) December 11, 2016
Of course, I was skeptical going in. “I’m sure he’s just hyping up this film,” I thought.
But I had hope.
“Hope. Rebellions are built on hope.” ~ Jyn Erso
I was wrong. This movie was better than I expected. It delivered on all fronts and far exceeded my expectations!
“Rogue One” is a prequel and a stand-alone film in the Star Wars universe. It tells the story of how the Death Star battle station was built. Talk about weapons of mass destruction. This is one weapon that would have apocalyptic consequences if it really existed!
Watching “Rogue One” will explain some of the back-story leading up to the classic stories told in the original trilogy. However, there’s no need to know much about the previous stories, and this is the beauty of this latest film.
In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
This is the perfect film to initiate young Star Wars fans, too. Families will enjoy watching this movie together because it will appeal to all ages. Except for the intense violence sequences, there’s no bad language or awkward scenes for kids. Kids 10 and up will be captivated by the cinematography, complex sets, and the special effects. (Parents: You know what you’re comfortable with so use caution.)
Director Gareth Edwards (“Monsters,” “Godzilla”) did an outstanding job moving the story along over the 133 minutes runtime–I felt like I wanted it be even longer! The plot line is tight, and by the end I didn’t notice any lose ends.
One unique aspect of this film was the feeling I got that I was watching some scenes through the lens of a GoPro camera. This is the result of Edwards’ use of handheld camera work, something he regularly does in his films.
Throughout the movie, true Star Wars fans will get a thrill noticing the homage to previous films. For this OG fan girl, seeing familiar landscapes, understanding quips about outdated droids, and recognizing images that recall scenes from the original Star Wars saga made this film exciting to watch!
Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays the protagonist Jyn Erso, and is a completely believable heroine — she’s one badass girl! She pulls off the role of the female warrior without missing a beat. But she also reverts quite naturally to the tender little girl we meet at the beginning of the movie. Jones will make a great action-hero figure for any little girl to own.
Diego Luna, a Mexican actor and co-star, is Cassian Andor, an Alliance intelligence officer. Luna is a refreshing new face to the Star Wars franchise.
K-2SO is the sassy new droid who supplies the comic relief throughout the movie. K2 is a 7’1″ reprogrammed Imperial security droid that belongs to Cassian. I fell in love with K2 because of his almost-child-like personality. I think you will, too.
By then end of the movie, I was on the edge of my seat. I cheered and clapped at the end. I was barely able to contain my excitement! Sorry, but you won’t find any spoilers here.
Having the Star Wars franchise come back and be part of my adult life has been rejuvenating. This film series keeps taking me back to a time when going to the movies filled me with a sense of wonder and optimism.
They say hope is all we have and it’s the last thing to die. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” did just that for me; it fueled my hope for the next installment in the “Star Wars” universe…and I’m ready for it!
“Rogue One: A Star Was Story” hits theaters December 16, 2016.
Runtime 2 hours and 13 minutes