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Movie Review

Rogue One
A Star Wars Story


Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen and Alan Tudyk
Director: Gareth Edwards
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Certificate: 12A
Running time: 133 mins
Opens 15 December 2016

Reviewing a Star Wars film feels like something of a pointless endeavour. There is no other franchise where so many of the viewers have already decided on their opinion before the first frame has been shot. There will be those who will overlook the most glaring flaws and those who will be watching with a scowl noting every perceived defect in order to list them later on the internet. Some love all the films, and the spin-offs, others are vocal about the fact that as far as they are concerned there are "only four / three / two / one" proper films.

Review imageI can't imagine there will ever be a film set in this universe more likely to please so many of the disparate fans of the Force than Rogue One. Even if you've never watched a Star Wars film before this is a better place to start than any of the others.

Set immediately before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story details how the Rebellion got hold of those Death Star plans - y'know the stuff Princess Leia shoves into R2-D2 right at the beginning of the ''first'' film. It has the fortunate position of being able to create a whole new story, with a whole new set of characters, whilst still being able to use the familiar framework of the main franchise.

Review imageFor this reason it works better as a stand alone film than any of the main story arc. If you've never seen Star Wars it doesn't matter. It works as a big budget exciting sci-fi romp, back story not required. If you are a fan there are enough nods to both the original trilogy and the prequels to keep you in knowing and gleeful grins throughout (I found the placing of this episode's Wilhelm Scream especially pleasing). The amount of box ticking and loose-end tying is superlative.

The cast is top notch, the rebels are a diverse band headed up by Felicity Jones and Diego Luna, who's so raffishly sexy he makes Han Solo look like Anakin in Episode II. The makeup of this band of Rogues may have caused alt-right manbabies to clutch their fedoras in outrage but it's hard for me not to rejoice at a film where gender, race and ability really aren't that relevant to a character's capacity to be both badass and complex. On the Empire side, Ben Mendelsohn is deliciously wicked and wins the Hugo Boss award for style . It's a true ensemble piece with everyone getting their moment to shine or sneer.

Review imageIt looks wonderful, perfectly capturing the feel and look of the original trilogy as did The Force Awakens last year (2015). Everything non-Empire is starting to look a bit grimy and run down. Perfectly bridging between the slick prequels and the rougher originals. Although of course in part to advances in digital technology it adds continuity between two sets of films which can seem separated by more than eighteen years. I promised to keep it spoiler free but the end....OH MY GOD. I can't imagine even the most hardened Star Wars purist is going to have a problem with That Scene.


Lizzie Biscuits

Screen shot

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