Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

RATED-(PG-13)-2016-133-MIN

                            Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is one of the best films of the year.

Look, with Disney now in charge of the Star Wars juggernaut after buying it for billions from its creator: (George Lucas), you are guaranteed many spinoffs off of the main path that (Lucas) created. (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is the first branch, as last years: (The Force Awakens) was a continuation of the other films.

I am very happy to report that (Rogue One) is a good sign, as I thoroughly enjoyed this tale about a ragtag group of rebels, who come together to steal the plans for a certain weapon that looks like a moon. It is also a rather dark and gritty movie that resembles a lot of old war films, with a band of soldiers going up against ridiculous odds. It also helps, that the talented director: ( Gareth Edwards) who made the low-budget: (Monsters) and the underrated: (Godzilla) reboot is a child of (Star Wars) and it shows. There is much love put into the look of this film and it really has that dirty, lived-in look that was so crucial to the original (Star Wars). It was alive, and so is this film.

The movie tells the story of a young girl: Jyn Erso (a very good Felicity Jones) who was orphaned at a young age after her scientist father: Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is forced back into working for the growing Galactic Empire when he is found on a distant planet, living a peaceful life as farmer with his wife and Jyn.

He is discovered by a power hungry Imperial Senator: Orson Krennic (the fabulous Ben Mendelsohn) and his squad of very cool Death Troopers. Krennic knows Galen is hiding from the Empire and wants no part of it, but he needs his former employee to come back and help him work out the kinks on his big new weapon (guess) that will make the Empire the most powerful force in the galaxy. Right before Krennic and his goons showed up, Galen told Jyn to go and hide until someone comes and gets her. Bad things ensue, and Galen is forced to leave his family and go with Krennic.

Eventually, the bunker that Jyn is hunkered down in, is opened by a rather scruffy looking, half human and half machine (repairs from battles) fellow named: Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) a veteran rebel fighter who was instructed by Jyn’s parents to watch over their daughter, which he does not so well for future years.

Flash forward to Jyn now a prisoner, being transported with others when a band of rebels attack the transport and free them. Once out of her restraints, Jyn does a number on a few of the rebels, planning to just boot, but is stopped in her tracks by a converted empire droid: K-2SO (a very funny Alan Tudyk). After he slams her to the ground, he tells her they have come to rescue her. The pilot of the ship: Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), is taking Jyn to a rebel outpost, where the alliance is trying to find out information about Galen and a possible message that he has sent to the rebels, in regards to a possible weakness in the new weapon the Empire is building.

As Jyn journeys forward she meets many new characters who will ultimately help her in the cause to find Galen, and get an upper hand in slowing down the Empire spreading like wildfire in the galaxy. There is the ex Tie Fighter pilot: Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) a very cool blind dude: Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), who has a huge faith in the force, along with his gun-toting partner: Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang). As in any good ensemble film, the movie gives each character ample time to get a sense of who they are and what they do, and even though it takes a bit to get started, once it does, it is huge fun. When the epic battle occurs on a tropical Empire outpost, you will care very much what happens to all of these characters. There are the touches of humor to be sure, but this is a darker film, like (Empire) and I must also point out that like in his other two films, (Edwards) really knows how to make memorable and stunning visual moments. All of the action scenes are well done and easy to follow, which is crucial to a film like this.

Everyone is very good in their roles. They seem to get the world that (Lucas) created, and they are all on board. The standouts for me are (Jones) and (Yen). This film takes place literary before Episode IV A New Hope and all the little touches, nods, and characters that Edwards throws in will have you smiling well afterward. Yes, the big bad dude is in here, along with a few other surprises. I have to give (Edwards) huge props, as he has made a Star Wars film that honors its creator's universe, but also stands on its own, as a kick ass and damn fine action film. I think this is one the best movies of the year.

You should see this movie