It’s been a year since my review on The Force Awakens. After that I felt like I didn’t pay much attention to any of the announcements regarding Rogue One. I glanced from time to time due to other preoccupations but I still wanted to see it, which I eventually did at the end of last semester with my friends. At first I had my doubts that this may not live up to my expectations but I had a change of heart when I saw the trailer several weeks before the movie’s release.
Originally, I was going to work on this article a week after seeing the movie like last year, but I felt that was too soon. So, I decided to wait another month to give fans a chance to see it before sharing my thoughts.
I believed that this was going to be an entirely different story like a spin-off or something, but boy was I wrong. Rogue One is like an expanded universe story, and what I love about this franchise is it has the ability to explore the untold canon stories that connect to the movie saga. We’ve got the Clone Wars, Rebels, now we have this, and I find that this movie almost like a more mature war movie for a Star Wars film to be honest.
Rogue One is designed to be a prequel to the original trilogy, as the Galactic Empire has taken over the galaxy and are nearing completion of the first Death Star. Jyn Erso escapes the Empire and hopes to rescue her father who has vital information about the Death Star. Of course, it’s no surprise on Jedha that the message she uncovers from Galen is about a weak point in the station, and that’s where we realize this is indeed a prequel to A New Hope. That’s right, we’re heading towards stealing the plans for building the Death Star so the Rebel Alliance has an outline of its design in order to find out where to hit it the hardest to blow it up. From one planet to another and ending in Scarif to steal those plans, everything is pretty much a battle to gain intelligence about the enemy. Even though I never paid much attention to anything leaked prior to the release, something told me that this was what this movie was going to be about stealing those plans.
I imagined Jyn was going to be someone in the Empire upon the first photos I saw of her wearing what appeared to be some sort of Empire assassin suit, when in reality she was once a smuggler. I find her to be a lot more rebellious than Rey when she is forced to become a criminal after fleeing home in order to survive. One thing that makes her similar to Rey is both of them had a rough life and surviving on their own is what has made them both stronger. However, Jyn appears to have more of a weakness like she gets herself into trouble but she also has a clear sense of right and wrong once she realizes how vital it is to stop the Empire despite her dislike of the Rebel Alliance in the past. She then proves herself in the end before her sacrifice and I like that.
Other than that, we get some comic relief from K-2SO who gives us most of the banter in the movie that I am definitely happy with. Then there’s Chirrut, the blind warrior who was the type of character I liked because he still had hope that the force was still around and always will be. “I am one with the force, the force is with me,” now everyone is going to start saying that before they take a test, go to a job interview, meeting, etc.! That phrase just feels like a sign where you know you’re about to do something difficult and need all the luck you can get. I always pray to myself that the force is with me before I write an exam!
Moving on, on to the action containing my favourite moments.
Chirrut was a character full of surprises. This particular part shows an example that we should never underestimate the blind. There are a few notable blind characters in the movie world but they excel in the other five senses in order to defend themselves. This guy is like a ninja, or I’d say he comes close to a Jedi minus the lightsaber and the force in my eyes. His final moments in the movie before his death were executed perfectly, and his friend follows. I know this movie is meant to be a situation where everyone dies just to deliver the plans when the Rebel fleet arrives to assist in time. But, you die with honor and the later victory would have never come if it weren’t for this small band who called their ship Rogue One and infiltrated the Scarif. Just like Halo Reach, everyone dies to deliver the AI to the Pillar of Autumn, only difference is the enemy gains control of a human-occupied world.
This movie also brought a lot of nostalgia my way by bringing in the AT-ATs for example. I fucking love AT-ATs, there are two things I want to steal from the Empire, and it’s these guys and a TIE Interceptor. We also got some newer starships joining the party as well throughout this movie, and I’m all for some new stuff too. But in most cases, it’s the nostalgia that’ll get me first before my mind opens to anything new.
Last but not least, I love how we got to see appearances by Darth Vader, and Grand Moff Tarkin in this movie. Even though Vader had only one scene being this, it was a very powerful scene. It shows that Vader hasn’t changed ever since: twisted, machine over man, that’s the Vader that I know. Tarkin, you can tell that face is CGI, but it’s understandable because they’re trying to match the era that this movie takes place in if it comes before the original trilogy. I wouldn’t say they’re the main antagonists in this film. It’s more that it’s Orson Krennic given his final confrontation with Jyn before she transmits the plans to the Rebel fleet.
What else can I say? Well, when Krennic fires the Death Star on Jedha, I thought it was going to destroy the planet but instead it was low power to cause a lot of collateral damage to the surface. I’d say at this point that the station is almost complete and is in being tested.
This is a Star Wars movie that isn’t afraid to kill off a lot of characters but as I have said, it’s more of a war movie that focuses on war itself rather than the things that most people are expecting; Jedi in training, avoiding falling to the dark side, etc. When I did my season by season review of the clone wars; one thing I noted that I loved was that it’s not just about Jedi, it’s also about the clones, the Sith, the politicians, etc. As I have said, it’s a franchise that isn’t afraid to explore other stories in this universe that put the pieces together that we’ve been looking for.
Spoiler warning ahead before I close this off: I love the way this movie ended with the Star Destroyer coming out of hyperspace just as the Rebel Blockade Runner flees with the plans which sets the events of A New Hope in motion. In a way, when you watch the end of Revenge of the Sith parts of it hint at the start of the original trilogy but the events are still decades apart, whereas Rogue One is designed to fill in the gap of events that happen between those two movies.
Did I like it better than The Force Awakens? A little bit, I felt like it was stands better on its own and comes up with something new rather than having too many relations to the original trilogy, like the prequel trilogy did. So bravo for that, I give you an A.
Also, I never got a chance to write a tribute to Carrie Fisher when she passed away last month, but since she appears at the end of the movie, I should say a few words now: I was devastated to find out, and had a bad feeling it was coming when she had a heart attack. Seeing her one last time at the end of this movie (even there’s a good chance she will appear in Episode VIII) was truly heartbreaking. She was our princess, and if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be a Star Wars fan. Rest in peace Carrie, I know this isn’t much I can say, but I would have said much more than anyone knows.
But she is one with the force, and I have the honor of thriving as a fan and continuing to write these articles for the movies every time they are released.