It’s literally a blast from the past, a revisit to intergalactic adventure with the standard overdose of lasers and blasters.
Rogue One claims to be a stand-alone film but clearly benefits from and doffs its hat to the Star Wars parent. It’s a new world of unheard-of planets with sprinklings of the recognizable to comfort fans of the franchise. So no fear, Darth Vader does appear. So does a young Lady Leia as leader of the Rebel Alliance. And it’s accepted that the two main forces will be the evil Empire and the robust Rebels.
The Empire has created a new weapon, a planet killer. “It’s for terror,” says the Alliance as it sets out to destroy it. The brain who was forced to create the weapon aids the Rebels in his own way. It’s a value addition that the Rebel Alliance’s main force is the creator’s own daughter Jyn Erso, as agile and plucky as they come.
Director Gareth Edwards along with four writers puts together a gala universal show with matching operatic music by Michael Giacchino. The out-of-the-world feeling lasts until the end, topped with a visually lavish climax. The title inspired no doubt by Air Force One, comes from an on-the-spur moment by a rebel to get landing permission for their ship on an imperial planet.
But Edwards largely sticks to what’s expected, no risk taken.
The continuous onslaught of spaceships in dog fights and Storm Troopers blasted by various forces is peppered with all the right sounds of the day like “hope” and “trust”. Family and sentiments get their importance. A blind fighter who chants, “I’m with the force, the force is with me” gets a fair amount of screen time. And it’s a politically correct multi-cultural team that makes the Rebel Alliance, the indispensable element being Jyn, a woman.
Felicity Jones holds the show as Jyn with help from an assortment of characters who all look suitably distressed and sincere about the mission.
Brief flashes of humor come in the form of blindfolding the blind and from a droid named K-2SO. There’s one when K-2SO has to think on its feet in a tricky situation which provides well-timed comic relief.
For an entertainer that’ll add to the Star Wars kitty, Rogue One gets a 3 star rating.