Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016): Movie Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

dir. Gareth Edwards

written by: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy

starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Guy Henry

 

2.75 out of 4 stars

It only seems fitting that the last face I saw on screen was Carrie Fisher’s.  So influential for a generation of sci fi nerds, Carrie Fisher leaves behind an iconic figure in pop culture, a handsome bibliography, including Wishful Drinking, her first biography, unputdownable and a vulnerable one woman show by the same name, available on HBO NOW.  The series that made her famous continues, and we are not yet done with Carrie Fisher.  She’s filmed all of her role in Episode VIII!  Thoughts go out to her daughter Billie Lourd and her mother Debbie Reynolds.  The legacy she built came with a lifetime of scars, the comedy and passion for normalizing mental illness has impacted many along the way.  Rest in Peace, our dearly departed princess.

The first standalone film Rogue One is not an adaptation of the N64 Rogue Squadron.  Possibly orphaned Imperial prisoner Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is freed during a transfer and brought into the rebellion to stop the new super weapon being built by the Empire.  Jones is feisty in her gritty role, a fitting blockbuster pairing with Redmayne jumping into Harry Potter territory.  Riz Ahmed and Diego Luna drive the narrative bridging the ragtag team of pilots and rebels coming battling the Empire.  

Less impressive than Force Awakens, the action is gripping with expectedly strong effects, even if the dialogue felt chunky, surprising with the writing duo of Chris Weitz (About a Boy) and Tony Gilroy (Bourne movies, Michael Clayton).  Lead droid K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, steals the show, blunt honesty draping the movie in humor, and Ben Mendelsohn pairs well villainously with Guy Henry’s CGI enhanced Governor Tarkin.  Diehard fans will appreciate the ample easter eggs, and newbies can easily catch up on the universe.  Rogue One lets you know the Star Wars action is stopping no time soon.

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