Since 1977 the Star Wars series has been an enormous money-spinner. From films to the plethora of merchandising, it has made a bundle for all involved. Considering how many dollars it’s made, it was inevitable the Star Wars franchise would return to screens.
Last years’ seventh film entry, The Force Awakens, re-ignited passions for the movies. In between instalments, we now get stand-alone prequels of which Rogue One is the first. Although a cynical cash-cow, Rogue One is a more than worthy addition to a seemingly never-ending space opera.
Jyn (Felicity Jones) is recruited by the Rebel Alliance to help in its fight against the evil Galactic Empire. Wanting her to steal the plans for their latest weapon, the Death Star, she is joined by Cassian (Diego Luna). Prepared to battle Stormtroopers and the mysterious Darth Vader, Jyn and her team arm themselves with a myriad of weapons. Facing the might of the Imperial Army, led by Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), Jyn aims to do her bit to destroy the Empire’s satanic grip on the universe.
Rogue One puts the ‘wars’ in Star Wars. A gritty, dirty and exciting adventure yarn, it ticks all the right boxes. No one will be disappointed if they want to see tons of battle scenes, incredible CGI wrapped in a package of drama and tough humour. Whilst the characters aren’t as strong as hoped, the energetic story doesn’t allow the viewer to ponder on this for too long. Rogue One is an opulent spectacle in the grand Star Wars tradition, perfectly slotting into the established mythology.
Jones and Mendelsohn are the strongest in the cast, giving performances of true depth. Their co-stars do their best in somewhat under-written roles. The CGI rendition of some characters is a little off-putting although in all other areas Rogue One amazes. Director Gareth Edwards embraces the epic scale the series’ demands with relish. He maintains excellent rhythm and manages to unearth some genuinely exciting surprises even though fans know events shown in subsequent instalments.
Rogue One is not always perfect but effectively captures the original films’ majestic feel. Effort has gone into crafting an action extravaganza for which this definitely qualifies. After the disaster of the other dreaded prequels, the series is back on track to delight ever more enthusiasts for decades to come.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 8