Being the eighth movie in the Star Wars universe Rogue One had a lot to deliver. Does it? In short…almost. It tells the story of Jyn Erso and a band of rebels on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. The film moves along at a tremendous speed with heart pounding action but the problem belongs with the characters. The appeal of Star Wars has always been the characters; The Force Awakens is a prime example of this. Rey and Finn’s brief introductions are very effective – this is notably absent when talking about the main personalities in Rogue One.
‘The only person to receive a sufficient backstory is Jyn played by Felicity Jones’
The only person to receive a sufficient backstory is Jyn played by Felicity Jones – who does a great job in showing internal conflict. Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang play the characters of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus.. They achieve a powerful bond but there is no background to it at all – the audience is just expected to assume that they have known each other for years. One character is completely computer generated for the movie’s entirety – visually stunning, but slightly off-putting and distracting for the audience after a while. Probably one of the biggest risks this film took is with the robot character of K-2SO, but it’s a gamble that paid off – if he was removed from the final cut the movie would be much poorer for it, the seriousness of the film too much to bear.
The weakest link comes in the form of Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor. There is one line that vaguely hints at his motivations but his character is completely unfulfilled – making it hard to relate to him. Ben Mendelsohn plays the villain Orson Krennic, who is suitably threatening but nothing compared to The Force Awakens’ Kylo Ren. Krennic seems to have no reason to hate the galaxy or the rebellion, which leaves his villainy lacking in conviction.
‘Ben Mendelsohn plays the villain Orson Krennic, who is suitably threatening but nothing compared to The Force Awakens’ Kylo Ren’
Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed and Mads Mikkelsen all feature, they do not excel but are fine in the roles they received. It’s no secret that Darth Vader is in this movie. Director Gareth Edwards had three routes he could have gone down- not featuring him at all, only including him a small amount or going all in and giving him a large part. Unfortunately, he decided on a very small amount of exposure for this legendary super-villain, teasing him just the right amount to really frustrate the audience. He used this same trick in his movie Godzilla, to equally disappointing lengths.
Rogue One is visually stunning however, with mind boggling CGI and beautiful cinematography it is a wonder to behold on the big screen. The score unfortunately sounds rushed, but this is perhaps to be expected after the legendary Michael Giacchino only joined the project three months before release. This movie is clearly made for the fans, with references scattered throughout, and it even answers probably one of the largest plot holes in the Star Wars movies, which is of course very satisfying.
On the other hand, the lack of characters in which you get emotionally invested in leads to a film that is slightly underwhelming, but still fun all the same.
(Image courtesy of All Star/Lucasfilm)