Directed by Gareth Edwards
Written by Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll and Gary Whitta
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker and James Earl Jones
With “Rogue One” the “Star Wars” franchise expands from a saga to a something along the lines cinematic universe, much like the films of their sister studio Marvel. I do not know if that is necessarily the best move for “Star Wars” as a franchise, mostly because the cinematic universe fad is a bandwagon that “Star Wars” does not need to jump on. Nevertheless, the result is worth the series jump onto that bandwagon. The first reason being, of course, that the “Star Wars” mythos can be explored and expanded. The second, and kind of related to the first, is that it puts the material into the hands of other filmmakers, allowing for a plethora of films for the series to offer.
Gareth Edwards brings to life a beautiful picture that blends “Star Wars” and World War II (other than Nazi Germany influencing the Galactic Empire). The climax of “Rogue One” is a sequence that is equally at home in a movie like “Saving Private Ryan” as it is in this film. As great as Edwards was at bringing the action sequences to life, his film was lacking in the development new characters. The Brando-esque line that Felicity Jones says in the trailer “this is a rebellion isn’t it; I rebel” did not make it into the final cut. I believe that that line should have remained in the film, for the allusion to “The Wild One” and it gave her character a little more gravitas. Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker are wasted in roles that are all too brief, considering the immense talent of the two actors. But, it is a “Star Wars” movie about stealing the plans for the Death Star and such a film should focus more on the action sequences.
“Rogue One” is certainly the best of the “Star Wars” prequels. Yes, it is a prequel because it takes place before the original “Star Wars.” Unfortunately, it is a cash grab – hence the “A Star Wars Story” subtitle – to wet the fans appetites until the next real “Star Wars” film releases next year. You know what, I will gladly be giving Lucasfilm my money.