Rogue One: A Vogue Home Run
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Rogue One failed to disappoint. Starting off with a riveting introduction (though with the disappointingly noticeable lack of the customary Star Wars title crawl), the audience is immediately thrust into the prosaic life of the protagonist, Jyn Erso, and her farming family. Not all is as it seems, though, and some unwelcome visitors show up, marking the beginning of Jyn’s fantastic journeys through space and into the path of the Rebel Alliance, who are aiming to blow up the Death Star (sound familiar, anyone?).
Anyone who ever remotely liked Star Wars will adore this film. The battle scenes are really well done, the animations are quite spiffy, and the actors portraying the characters do a terrific job, believably settling into their roles and playing off each other in a humorous yet poignant manner. Never watched or liked any film in this franchise? Give this a shot, anyway. This film will go down as one of the greatest Star Wars films of all time, inching ahead of The Force Awakens (though Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back were both hard to beat).
The best part of this movie is that the ending is completely unforeseeable. As a science fiction dilettante, I thought I was used to the general (though lovable) plot in any given Star Wars feature: the good guys beat the bad guys, or are set up to do so, and blow something big up. Though you won’t miss out on any explosions, the main characters end the story in an unpredictable and emotion-wreaking manner.
The Easter eggs hidden in the expanses of this epic are fun to identify as well. There are “cameos” of original trilogy actors, some through CGI and some through the use of old clips. If you watch closely, you can pinpoint some familiar-looking ships, planets, and foodstuffs. “I have a bad feeling about this” is a phrase that continues to be quoted in every single movie.
Adoring reviews dotted the web like dew on that of a spider, and negative ones were absent like a purple giraffe… on that same web. Rotten Tomatoes, an online reviewing site, gave the film 84%, a high score if you look at their usual standards. Lili Loufbourow, of The Week magazine, wrote a beautiful article entitled How Rogue One made me care about the Star Wars story again, and good articles about the movie popped up from Vanity Fair to Entertainment Weekly (though the New York Times and some other dissenters weren’t too pleased).
Another great point of the movie is how it ties everything together. As many of us know, there are inconsistencies in the plotline between the rise of the Empire and the destruction of the first Death Star. Rogue One, which takes place in those years between the third and fourth movies, neatly weaves together a painting of something much grander than the movie by itself, and sets up the fourth movie pretty well. However, the die-hard aficionado may disagree, noting inconsistancies in the ending and the beginning of A New Hope, especially around Leia Organa.
Fans might also be disappointed about the lack of lightsaber duels and the dearth of humor in the story. I argue that, while the former is regrettable, the latter is offset by the robot K-2S0 (of course we need robots; two of the aforementioned cameos were that of R2-D2 and C-3P0, a pleasant surprise), whose antics are funny, though less than those of BB-8 in The Force Awakens.
Though if you’re going to the cinemas, forget these minute qualms and approach a sensory and optical roller coaster of an experience. As I stood up from the pre-premiere of this two hour-plus film, my knees were shaking, not from exhaustion or osteoarthritis, but pure awe at an incredible movie. Yours will be too.