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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Opening Date
15 Dec 2016
PG Some Violence
134 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Gareth Edwards
Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. 
By Freddy  15 Dec 2016
Despite lacking character development, the overall story, visuals, and fanservice make Rogue One a worthy addition to the Star Wars canon.
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Rogue One stems from an interesting concept. It centres on a group of rebels who stole the Death Star’s plan, which was in the hands of Princess Leia Morgana at the start of the first film in this growing saga, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It expands on the world-building and even attempts to fix a plot hole in the saga with a plausible explanation.

While it is not necessary to watch the 7 films in the saga to understand the plot of Rogue One, the film is clearly developed for fans. It has a good amount of fanservice, such as appearances by famous characters including Darth Vader, voiced by James Earl Jones once again. Nevertheless, the main team comprises of people who were never mentioned nor had any ties to any character in the original saga. The film also showcases the amount of destruction that the Death Star is able to do so that anyone can understand how dangerous this weapon is and why the Rebels need to destroy it.

The plot is relatively straightforward, just like the earlier films. It definitely looks and feels like a Star Wars film. There are good amounts of battles on the ground and in outer space to please anyone looking forward to action scenes. No lightsabers, though. Lightsabers are weapons of Jedis. Jedis and the Force are relegated to a legend in this era. I did not miss its presence, though. The film definitely has enough action going on to make up for it.

I appreciate the complexity that is given to the Rebel Alliance. The film shows that not everyone who opposes the Empire is on the same side. There was Saw Gerrera, a war veteran who is considered an extremist by the Rebels. It was also shown that the Rebels have their own disagreements and hidden agendas as well.

While the Rebel Alliance as a whole is handled well, the individual characters are rather underdeveloped. Most of the main characters lack distinct personalities. The more interesting characters are K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) and Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen). The main protagonist, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is not very developed either, despite enjoying the most screen time. The film could benefit from giving its characters depth.

Since all Star Wars fans would already know the ending, it reduces the stakes a little. The plot does feel stretched sometimes, but the film ends well, tying back to the beginning of Episode IV nicely. The final 10 minutes are visually beautiful.

The score by Michael Giacchino supports the film very well. It sounds distinctly Star Wars and pays a tribute to the other films without being an exact copy of the original score. The CGI is good and blends very well with the scenes, especially for K-2SO and the space battles at the end.

Overall, Rogue One is a must-watch for all Star Wars fans. It would also be a fun ride for non-fans. I think that it is definitely a worthy entry in the ever-expanding Star Wars franchise. I would recommend you to avoid watching it in 3D though, I was quite disappointed as it felt unfinished.
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