I got the opportunity to watch an early screening of “Rogue One” and let me just say – the force is strong with this one. Anyone who is a Star Wars fan, as I am, went into this film knowing the story. It’s well known that this film takes place right before “A New Hope” begins. Even though I knew the ending going in, it was still full of surprises.
If I may be so brazen to say, this film does start out a bit clunky. We get introduced to so many planets and so many characters in such a quick amount of time, it took me a while to re-figure out who was who to whom once the story starts up. That being said, the characters are well rounded and fully realized. It’s a stellar cast headed up by Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso). Jyn’s character is right along the lines of usual Star Wars fair – a strong-willed, risk taking brunette. Along side Jyn, with the Rebellion are Diego Luna (Cassian Andor), Alan Tudyk (K-2SO), Donnie Yen as the ‘way of the Force’ sage Chirrut Imwe and his tough friend Baze Malbus played by Wen Jiang.
As good as the Rebellion is, the Empire is as bad. Ben Mendelson as Orson Krennic is a lovely villain. Of course there are a few appearances from Lord Vader. Some characters cross the line from bad to good, but I’m not giving away spoilers here.
This is a solid story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta and told wonderfully by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy. John Williams score is emotional and moving. It was strange to not have the familiar blast of music during the opening card into the recognizable title crawl sequence, but this is not that Star Wars film.
As much as I would like to say about this film, I will not. Not just because we were sworn to secrecy before the film comes out to the general public, but because many things made me gasp and cheer and get choked up. All those things would be ruined if I had an inkling beforehand that they would happen. I don’t want to do that to anyone – especially Star Wars fans. But I did gasp and cheer and get choked up, so I highly recommend seeing this movie. As a first stand-alone Star Wars film, it’s stands up just fine on its own.
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