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‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ review: “The prequel you’ve been waiting for”

by Paul Heath

Rogue One review: Gareth Edwards knocks it way out of the park with this first stand-alone movie in the Star Wars series. Magnificent.

Rogue One review by Paul Heath, December 2016.

Rogue One review

Keen to fully exercise their rights to their premium Lucasfilm intellectual property, Disney present their very first stand-alone Star Wars movie in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first in a number of big-budget films that are set away from the canonical series.

Set right before the events of the original 1977 movie Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, ‘Rogue One’ tells the story of a group of unlikely heroes who are brought together to go on a mission to steal the plans of the Death Star, the huge super-weapon being built by the Empire, which is obviously led by the dastardly Darth Vader. As the official blurb says, this original movie, is about ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

Rogue One review

In short, this is the Star Wars prequel that you’ve all been waiting for. Magnificently paced, well constructed and told, this ‘Star Wars Story’ is not only reminiscent of the 1977 original, but an all-out, completely original, throw-back to the ensemble war films of yesteryear, effortlessly squeezed into the Star Wars universe that we’ve all come to love. Director Gareth Edwards has managed to pull together, through whatever means necessary (including, possibly, those well publicised re-shoots), a thoroughly enjoyable film that is not only supremely acted, but excellently executed creating tons of fun.

This feels like a film that could have been made forty years ago, and possibly should have been made twenty years ago. Using retro set design, clever cinematography with the minimal depth of field, along with massively de-saturated colours, not to mention varied practical effects, wondrous varying landscapes and the cream of acting talent, Edwards and his team have fearlessly reignited a world prior to the original trilogy, one that will be remembered so much more than those dire prequels.

Rogue One review

Definitely bettering The Force Awakens, and up there with the gritty darkness of The Empire Strike Back, this is the Star Wars like the ones that we’ve grown up with. It feels right, it looks right, and it damn well hits with a punch that almost certainly leaves you having left a definitive impact once those credits roll, largely thanks to a supremely relentless third act.

The entire cast is superb, from Felicity Jones‘ heroine in Jyn Erso, to Ben Mendelsohn‘s rogue-ish Director Orson Krennic and then Donnie Yen‘s stand out Chirrut Îmwe, to Alan Tudyk‘s K-2SO, who delivers most of the comedic relief in the picture, and in doing so, almost steals the show. Strong support from the likes of Mads Mikkeslen, Forest Whitaker and a solid Riz Ahmed lend more gravitas to proceedings, so much so that their acting prowess is difficult to fault.

Rogue One review

Darker than first expected, ‘Rogue One’ demonstrates just what is possible to achieve with the tricky prequel movie, and one which doesn’t really have any familiar characters to initially bond with. It leads boldly into familiar, though very different territory, managing to bring something very new to the table in a film which, while willing to throw some nods to its predecessors, is not afraid to venture into the world of the unknown. Full of juicy surprises, captivating, exciting, fulfilling and satisfying, ‘Rogue One’ might just be one of our favourite blockbusters of the year, and is definitely another ace in the hole for Disney.

Applause.

Rogue One review by Paul Heath, December 2016.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released in UK cinemas on Thursday 15th December and the US on Friday 16th December.

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