Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna & Alan Tudyk
Synopsis: The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.
Rating: 12A Duration: 133 minutes Release date: 15 December (UK)
There comes a time when you have to admit to yourself that no matter how reserved you try to be about a film, that the excitement will soon grab a hold of you and regardless of how hard you fight it you soon find yourself enveloped in all the unnecessary hype. Rogue One is such a film and even if it doesn’t hit the giddy heights of The Force Awakens, there is still an unrelenting joy to be found in watching this new/old Star Wars story.
Set in between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Rogue One is a story that in all honesty need not have been told. The entire synopsis of the film can be found during the opening crawl for A New Hope; it is a time of civil war, the rebels have captured the plans to the Imperial Death Star etc. But director Gareth Edwards has managed to craft a film that not only feels fresh, but also completely necessary. It fits perfectly as a bridge between the prequels and the original trilogy, while also tiding fans over until the main course that is Episode VIII.
To create a non Episode Star Wars story is a brave decision to make. The clamour for more stories of Rey, Finn, Poe and the Skywalkers must have been a hard one to ignore. After all, this is a business and if something is making you money while the demand is still strong then why change the product? On the other hand, making fans wait two years (yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds) but offering something different in between is a smart move. We’re still connected to the universe that we have grown so attached to, while being given something that injects a new vigour into an old story.
As easy as it is to say lots of nice things about Rogue One, there are some issues that need to be addressed. Being set between two trilogies is a confusing place to put a new story and those who aren’t steeped in the films politics may find this outing somewhat confusing. Even for a fan of some 30 years, the planet hopping that persists throughout the film will leave you wondering where the hell we are from one moment to the next, regardless of whether they tell you in the corner of screen or not. It also seems that much of the talent collected here is not wasted, but heavily underused; Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn and Forest Whitaker particularly suffer from this fate, while Felicity Jones and Diego Luna don’t have the same raw energy possessed by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.
Despite the criticisms that can be levelled at Rogue One, it’s impossible not to like. Once things get going and Gareth Edwards finds his confidence, much like in his previous effort Godzilla, we are treated to a rip-roaring finale that blows shit up with such aplomb that we’re begging for more. Fortunately we won’t have to wait long, Episode VIII is out next year and this will do just nicely until then.