Rouge One: A Star Wars Story comes out under extreme fanfare and mammoth expectation. Considering the dent that last year’s “The Force Awakens” created at the global box office, this was expected. The fact that the film traces the story that leads up to “A New Hope”, only makes it that much more interesting. I was pumped for this one. The three trailers that came out, showed a very stark and no-nonsense vision of the director. Gareth Edwards is fresh from making Godzilla that was smashing in its treatment of a material that has had a huge fan following. I was hoping that he would do the same here too and make a film that had more to offer than just being a fan service.
The story revolves around the creation of the first death star and how the rebels got their hands on the plans that paved the way for the destruction of the death star. Leading the charge here is Jyn Erso whose father Galen is the chief architect of the Death Star and has been forced on the behest of Jyn to create the weapon. Jyn was raised by an old associate of Galen, Saw, who now has a pilot from the Empire who has defected to tell the rebels about the existence of a weakness in the death star that can be used to destroy it. The Empire, on the other hand, is hell-bent on destroying any attempts of the rebels to cause any problems and also keep the existence of the death star a secret. Jyn must now, collaborate with the rebels and Saw to figure out a way to get hold of the plans of the Death Star.
Let’s speak about the positives first. This film literally fills the few gaps that we felt was left in “A New Hope”. We finally get to know, how a technology as advanced as the death star had such a pesky flaw that was almost too good to be true. We learn that it was actually a revenge plot of the man who was forced to build the tech. This film has Darth Vader. Even though he is there for just about five minutes, he makes his scenes count and stands out like he always has. I was particularly blown away by the last sequence where he slashes his way through the rebels as they pass ahead the plans. K2S0 is the onboard robot here and he has a wicked sense of humor. He has this knack for speaking the obvious and it leads to some hilarious moments.
The film boasts of some tremendous action sequences. It’s not exactly the kind of happy go lucky Star Wars films that we got in the 2000s. It is darker, it is grimmer and you have a number of key characters dying in this one. The CGI is terrific. Be it the action sequences, on the plethora of planets, the final climatic battle or the completely CGI-created characters. The film’s visual effects never fail. I have been hearing a lot of complaints about a completely CGI character that is there in the film for a rather longer duration. I for once had no issues with it.
Yes! It would have been better to have Vader do those things that the character does, but then again that’s just what the Vader fan in me wants. The film covers a very large topography but still keeps you duly updated. You know exactly what is happening and that’s not a small deal in a film that spans universes. I was also impressed by the background score. It may not be as good as its predecessors but is still pretty amazing. The editing, on the other hand, isn’t perfect. There are some really rough edges here and there that pop up and cannot be ignored. In a film as large as this one, they should have done better with the editing.
Speaking of the cons, the film has a lot of characters and none of them are affecting. You neither care for them nor do you get to know them better as the film progresses. Each and every character is superfluously laid out and has zero arcs. Another thing that bothered me was the introductions that these characters were provided with. They would either introduce themselves or someone else would do it for us. It was very irritating. In a film like this, the characters had to be affecting to make the events have the kind of impact that would propel the film to the kind of greatness that its predecessors have but that is not the case here. Some of the characters like one played by Donnie yen are likable but that’s about it.
Felicity Jones has zero charisma. She acts well but she constantly keeps getting lost in scenes that have more than her. Forest Whitaker is totally wasted in a role that could have been done by anyone and everyone. The character of Saw is really strange, though. Diego Luna as Cassian who is a captain with the Rebels and accompanies Jyn on the mission sleepwalks through his role. There is absolutely no feel of the character that he portrays. K2SO voiced by Alan Tudyk is by far the most affecting character. He is wickedly funny and very competently voiced. Mads Mikkelsen is one of my favorite actors these days and he shines in his brief appearance.
Rouge One: A Star Wars Story is perfectly entertaining. Look at it as an action film that ties up to A New hope and you will be substantially entertained. It’s not the kind with drama and character development. It’s more on the lines of an action spectacle with sparkling CGI and large-scale battle sequences. If that’s what you seek then you will not be disappointed. However, it is a bit thin on the character development and you will not exactly connect with any of the characters. Be aware of that.
Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 stars)