Right now it’s a good time to be a geek. Not only are we getting flooded with endless superhero films, but we can also expect new Star Wars movies for the foreseeable future. Rogue One is the second Star Wars flick to get released since the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm. This predecessor to A New Hope (also known as The Force Awakens with crappier special effects) has Gareth Edwards showing George Lucas how to properly direct a Star Wars prequel. During the prologue we see how scientist Galen Erso is forced out of retirement to assist with the development of the Death Star. Poor guy, I can really sympathize with his plight. Just like Galen I too am forced to serve an evil empire, on a daily basis, in order to pay the bills.
You can’t have a Disney made Star Wars adventure without a Mary Sue so let me introduce you to Galen’s daughter Jyn Erso. Rogue One’s heroine is freed from incarceration by the Rebel Alliance, early on in the film, in the hopes that she can track down her dad and procure blueprints from him that may reveal a weakness in the planet busting weapon he has created. Escorting Jyn on the mission is Latin spy Cassian Andor and a reprogrammed Imperial bot named K-2SO. Out of the trio K-2SO is my favourite character. He is for all intents and purposes C-3PO, if the gold plated android wasn’t a pussy. I couldn’t help but laugh whenever he would announce how bleak things are. K-2SO is the type of machine that will blurt out painful facts like “only 3% of your followers will read this review.”
Over the course of the story three more companions join Jyn in her quest. The first of these is Imperial defector Bodhi Rook who, during an interrogation scene, has the displeasure of having ear sex with a hentai tentacle monster. Freelance assassin Baze Malbus, who wields a laser cannon, becomes the team’s muscle. He is the best friend of blind monk Chirrut Imwe. In a film devoid of Jedi, Chirrut is given the responsibility of imparting sagely guidance to his teammates. Despite being handicapped Chirrut is adept at quarterstaff combat and his strong faith in the Force seemingly allows him to evade blaster fire. Like K-2SO, Imwe gets to deliver some amusing lines. I had to chuckle for example when captors covered his face with a hood. “Are you kidding me? I am blind!” he exclaims.
My rating for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a four out of five. This movie eclipses the George Lucas prequels thanks to its more mature presentation. Yes there is some humour, as mentioned above, but thankfully none of the gags are puerile slapstick performed by an annoying Gungan. The comedy is used sparingly and works to offset the gloom of what is arguably the darkest Star Wars cinematic offering to date. Another plus in Rogue One’s favour is that it doesn’t go overboard with CGI. One of the more impressive feats the visual effects crew pulled off was giving Guy Henry the facial features of Grand Moff Tarkin. If technology continues to advance at this pace we will soon only require the services of voice actors, as a computer can render human bodies. Nolan North, who already appears in every video game, will star in all blockbusters too!
Filmgoers who recently attacked Ghost in the Shell and Dr Strange for whitewashing should have no complaints with Rogue One. The diverse cast includes pilots of both genders in addition to Asians and Mexicans – proving that the galaxy isn’t exclusively inhabited with people who speak in British accents. I’m not fussed about SJW politics though. My only concern was watching a good Star Wars movie and in that regard Rogue One delivers. I liked how the plot addressed the Death Star flaw many people have commented on for years and the cameo appearance of Darth Vader. Although brief, Vader’s screen time showcased how menacing the Sith Lord can be. The way he stalked Rebel soldiers was akin to a horror movie villain slashing down victims in space. It’s just like Jason X… only not terrible.