MPAA Rating: PG-13
for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Runtime: 133 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Peter Cushing, Ben Mendelsohn, Genevieve O’Reilly
A review of any Star Wars epic is superfluous as the films are always gigantic world-wide hits. The kids who love these movies could care less what critics think, and they are probably correct! A Star Wars film is made for the fans, not the critics. However, one can be a critic and love the film as well. I did, but my taste is subject to interpretation.
Rogue One -Wow! Fans will be knocked out by the special effects? With Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures coughing up more than $200 million to make this new chapter in the family of Star Wars stories, we know it will be an eye-popper. And it pops in 3D to really knock our eyeballs for a spin.
With a maniacal releasing schedule of the Star Wars stories, this is apparently the beginning of all that came later. Did we first have episode 29 and then number 5 to follow? It’s hard to say because if you try to keep up you’ll lose. Anyway, here we have what is apparently what happened to kick off the series of highly popular films over the past eons, or at best, when Episode IV A New Hope was exploding on screens in May, 1977. Anyone old enough to remember?
With this franchise being re-newed and re-tooled every few years to keep it fresh and to con those little nippers into forking over their lunch money, we have an entirely new cast. With the exception of Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Peter Cushing, most of the cast is made up of unknowns hoping to get their big break in this spectacular space opera. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the story, we may have a difficult time seeing them again unless there is a prequel to the prequel. Confused?
As far as a plot goes, the screenwriters Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll and Gary Whitta took the characters based on George Lucas’ ideas and whipped them into a new set-up. The story is really the basic ‘bad man wants to take over the universe and is thwarted by the good guys’ syndrome. It’s serviceable and works well in action movies such as this one. The bad guys are actors Ben Mendelsohn and Peter Cushing, with Darth Vader (with the mellifluous voice of James Earl Jones) up to no good.
Jyn Erso (Jones) is a Rebellion soldier given the task by Mon Motha (Genevieve O’Reilly) to acquire the plans of the Death Star from the Empire. Jones is one of the highly-rated actresses of the day, having proven herself in major films such as Inferno and her Oscar-nominated role in The Theory of Everything. There’s not much difficult acting for her in this film, but she does easily perform like a leader of a group of ragtag rebels in the saga. Her sidekick in all these swashbuckling antics to get the plans of the killer machine known as the Death Star is Mexican star Diego Luna, who plays Cassian Andor. Although a slight sexual attraction is eluded to off and on, they really are buddies. Luna is a huge Latin American star, and he should bring in audiences in droves south of the border.
The main attraction of any Star Wars film is the action scenes. Yes, all the money spent is seen up on the giant screen and captured beautifully by cinematographer Greig Fraser’s 3D cameras. Aided by special effects experts Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Blind Computer Graphics, and Hybride Technologies, there seems to be no limits to what these magicians can do to thrill audiences. Dogfights in space! Exploding planets! Giant battle ships colliding and disintegrating like crumbling pop tarts! It’s a thrill a minute, and the pace is exhausting. Never once does the audience’s interest flag. Zoom! Bang! Kerplop! Although girls may like the film, it’s mainly aimed at science-oriented and action-loving little boys…like me. Don’t miss it! It’s the event of the year!
Photo Credits: Lucasfilm /Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures