This prequel to the very tells the thrilling story of how a ragtag band of freedom fighters -- including a former soldier-turned-prisoner (Felicity Jones), a Rebel Alliance insider (Diego Luna), a Jedi (Donnie Yen), and a sentient robot (voiced by Alan Tudyk) -- worked together to steal the Death Star's secret blueprints. Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, and Jimmy Smits co-star in Rogue One, the first of several Jimmy Smits spin-offs planned after J.J. Abrams' J.J. Abrams reboot. ~ Violet LeVoit, Rovi
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast :Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen
Release Date: Dec 16, 2016
Rated PG-13 for Sci-Fi Violence and Action
Runtime: 2 hr. 13 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
It’s probably best to start with a small disclaimer. I’ve never been a diehard Star Wars fan and watched all of them mainly out of duty. That’s not to say I don’t like a few of them but I can’t say I really love them with any deep rooted passion. A fact that was reiterated after watching The Force Awakens last year, a film I liked the first time and instantly disliked after a 2nd viewing. The biggest issue with that film was how lazily it played on nostalgia with very little in the way of innovation. Rogue One thankfully brings some fresh energy to the franchise by opening up the established world and telling a story free of major shackles outside of major events from the first film. Gareth Edwards delivers a film that offers a fresh perspective with a decidedly more grounded and visceral approach. At its center is Felicity Jones who plays Jyn Eros with a tormented but heartfelt energy throughout. She’s a well rounded character which serves the film well. Diego Luna is a bit more of a cipher as the film only gives passing moments of depth to his character which is a shame since Luna is a talented actor. Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen and Riz Ahmed all bring a strong sense of heart to the film. It’s a testament to the film that we meet some of these characters well into the film but form a strong connection with them quickly. It’s nice to see that Mads Mikkelsen fairs better here than he did in Dr. Strange even if his screen time is much smaller. Ben Mendelsohn plays a perfect villain even if he leans a bit too much toward the mustache twirling variety. Darth Vader is used sparingly but when he appears it makes a strong impact, particularly in the third act. A bit of trimming here and there could have streamlined the film a bit but considering how troubled the production was, it’s a bit of a minor miracle that the film came out as well as it did. I go even as far as to say it’s probably one of my favorite Star Wars films in general.