Film: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”; Director: Gareth Edwards; Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jimmy Smits, James Earl Jones, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker; Rating: ***
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is the eighth film of the Star Wars franchise which was created by George Lucas in 1977. It tells the tale of a war that took place in an imaginary universe: “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” It is not a sequel or a prequel to any of the previous films. Instead, it is a spin-off and the first in the Star Wars Anthology Series.
But for those who follow the series intensely, “Rogue One” takes place sometime before “Episode IV – A New Hope”. In fact, it is more like a prologue to it, but it is not.
Magnificently mounted with a wide variety of perfectly-paced set action pieces, it is the tale of a fugitive warrior, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) who happens to be the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), the brilliant scientist who designed the evil Empire’s terrifying new weapon, called ‘Death Star’.
While the universe is given to understand that Galen is a traitor for having gone over to the Dark side, Jyn who is rescued from an Imperial prison camp by the Rebel Alliance, is destined to broker a deal with extremist Saw Gerrera (Whitaker), who is holding captive an Imperial defector (Ahmed) with links to the Empire’s new superweapon.
So, Jyn teams up, to steal the Death Star plans and command a rebel ship code-named Rogue On, with another insurgent Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) whose hidden agenda she realises when it is almost too late.
Scripted by screenwriters Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, the plot with actors from all over the globe, lack depth, which in turn makes the characters seem one-dimensional. In fact, with a lot of action taking place and with little discussion to connect the relationships between the key characters, the plot holes seem gaping. This is the biggest flaw of the film.
Speaking of the cast, every actor including Felicity Jones, Whitaker, Yen and Diego Luna deliver a brilliant performance. But it is Mendelssohn, as the high-ranking Imperial Director Krennic, who is extraordinary. Also, the droid K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, with his witty one-liners is the scene stealer and you will definitely love him.
With a lot of planet-hopping on spaceships, laser shoot-outs and high action drama which involve giant metallic robots, the conflict in the film is a tense, special-effects extravaganza. The production designs are upscale and visually with all the grand effects, the film is glossy and sleek.
Overall, “Rogue One” doesn’t really go rogue at any stage. Hence, it does not match up to the last Star Wars film “Force Awakening”. But nevertheless, as a new entry in the series with a whole lot of new characters, this film is a welcome change. But the film will appeal only to Star Wars fans.