Movie Review: Star Wars Rogue One

A great darkness has enveloped the galaxy as the Empire imposes its will unchecked.

On a small remote planet, Galen Erso, a retired Imperial engineer, lives a simple agrarian life with his wife Lyra and daughter Jyn. However, a sudden visit from his former colleague, Director Orson Krennic, draws Galen back into the Empire’s service. Many years later, Rebel forces free Jyn from an Imperial prison and return her to Yavin 4 where she is brought up to speed on the dilemma. The Rebellion leadership informs Jyn that her father has become the lead engineer in the development of the Death Star, a super weapon with the power to destroy entire planets. Therefore, the Rebels offer Jyn a deal: Find and rescue her father for testimony to the Senate and they will let her return to her life free of Imperial imprisonment.

Overall, I loved the movie but there were a few moments where I was disappointed.

Plot: The first trailer was somewhat misleading

When I saw the first trailer for Rogue One in April, I had a completely different conception of the plot especially around the main character Jyn Erso. I thought Jyn was this emphatic rebel who continuously fought the Empire even when everyone around her submitted. However, in the movie, Jyn was the one who needed incentive to fight and was reluctant to help the Rebellion. In addition, many of the lines and scenes from the trailers were edited or presented in a way that were inconsistent with the actual movie.

Text Transitions

Star Wars: Rogue One travels across multiple worlds which I will warrant have very unconventional spelling but really, text transitions? While these transitions aren’t as intrusive as the ones in Captain America: Civil War that cover the entire screen for five to ten seconds, they are more redundant. Throughout the movie, it was very clear where the movie would travel to next with characters referring to the settings repeatedly. At best, the transitions help someone catch up in the movie after they’ve gone to the bathroom. At worse, the transitions draw attention to the empty vacuum of space and time used to watch them.

Here’s where I think they did well:

Plot: Disney and Backstories

When Disney took over the Star Wars franchise and began to pump out new movies, I had my doubts. But so far, Disney continues to impress me. Disney has a reputation of turning franchises into a no-one’s-ever-going-to-die love story”. With Disney at the helm at Marvel, Director Fury is impossible to kill in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, even after he is shot twice by a sniper. In Iron Man 3, Pepper Potts falls off a cargo crane into an oil fire but survives due to her newly gained superpowers. In The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Widow suddenly has a crush on Bruce Banner. However, Disney bucks the trend in Rogue One. Between Episode 7 and Rogue One, Disney has refrained from (at least so far) incorporating a love story between the main characters. In addition, if you’re not a hardcore Star Wars fan, Rogue One is a fantastic prequel that incorporates some much needed backstories and helps to bridge the gap between Episodes 3 and 4.

Action

When I was researching for this review, one of the top results was “Is Rogue One too violent?” Just to reassure everyone, the movie isn’t gory. But from space to ground and everything in between, the action of Rogue One is much more extensive than anything seen before in the franchise.

The Verdict

Now I have a certain distaste for movie theaters—they’re too cold, loud, and the food is mediocre—but there is no doubt I will be going back to see Rogue One again. Although the first trailer was misleading and the dreaded transitions have returned, the final product and full scale action engrossed me enough that I could ignore the petty flaws until later. I’d recommend seeing the movie in 3D and checking out the new and improved movies theaters on Oahu, like the one in Kapolei. I am with the force. How about you?

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