Friday, December 16, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Review

   A franchise can earn certain goodwill where no matter what the reviews say, the audience will still go out in droves to see the newest entry. The marvel cinematic universe has almost earned this peak, the Harry Potter franchise arguably hit that point, but the real king of this is phenomenon is Star Wars. Regardless of the words I type below, or anyone critiquing the film, you’ll most likely see it no matter what, and you definitely (DEFINITELY) should.

   In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

   The biggest pitch for this first anthology film was using a war-like feel within the Star Wars universe. Rogue One hits this premise almost perfectly; particularly the third act, and feels incredibly grounded. The story is more contained than the saga films despite the large scale and numerous worlds and characters. It’s a stand-alone film through and through that will satisfy casual and hardcore fans alike, including a few classic characters like a certain dark lord that gets a truly chill inducing scene at a certain point.

   Star Wars, while known for big sweeping battles and action, is about characters. Rogue One has interesting characters that don’t get a lot of development and that’s really the biggest flaw in the film. They're interesting enough characters but the only one to get any focus or backstory is Jyn Erso. Played wonderfully by Felicity Jones, Erso is clearly the main character of the team and thus Jones has the most to work with. But others like Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, and Donnie Yen all get their moments to shine in one way or another. The real standout, however, is Alan Tudyk as the voice of K-2SO. The newest droid to the galaxy manages to get laughs time in and time out, entering the realm of great Star Wars characters with ease.

   By getting Gareth Edwards in the director’s chair, the heads at Lucasfilm and Disney knew they’d get something with a focused and appropriate scale for the epic nature of the film. Rogue One does this particularly well by showcasing the battles and size of things from the perspective of those fighting on the ground. Not only does it illustrate the scope of events but it also shows the life of the people in this galaxy unlike any other Star Wars film.

   Overall, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is precisely what a film outside the normal Skywalker saga should be, expansive yet contained. The story is extremely interesting and the third act is impressive and satisfying, in action and emotion. With great performances and stunning visuals, minus some issues with the uncanny valley, Rogue One delivers on everything one could hope for.

   So what did you think of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Have you seen it and where does it rank among the other 7 films? Subscribe, share, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

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