Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Felicity Jones     Diego Luna     Mads Mikkelsen     Forest Whitaker     Donnie Yen  
Ben Mendelsohn     Riz Ahmed     Alan Tudyk     Jiang Wen     Valene Kane


          The story opens with an alarm that “He is coming!” and Jyn (Jones), her father Galen (Mikkelsen) and mother Lyra (Kane) already have a plan in place and rapidly begin to implement it.  “You know what to do”, Lyra tells Jyn who runs off to do just that.  “He” who is coming is Krennic (Mendelsohn) from the Galactic Empire, telling Galen that he must come and finish work on the Death Star, a weapon of mass destruction that he is claiming will bring world peace.  Galen certainly does not buy that, but feels compelled to follow orders because if he doesn’t do it, someone else will, and this way he’ll be able to maintain some control over the development.
        The family’s plan goes awry, and Galen is flown away while Jyn hides, but eventually she is found by Saw Gerrera (Whitaker), and kept in captivity for a time until she convinces rebel assassin Cassian (Luna) and a small band of rebels to go with her to find her father.  After Galen appears to her in a hologram with a message, she is influential in convincing a larger group of rebel forces to join together in rescuing him and proceed to follow the clues he has given her.
        Rogue One is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Star Wars franchise.  It’s meant to stand on its own as another story that takes place in the universe.  We still have the Galactic Empire with Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones) and the Death Star as forceful presences and a large rebellious group against it.  This conflict results in war between the two groups with space ships, air and ground armies, robots, and all the CGI effects characteristic of these productions.
      Devoted followers of the Star Wars films appear to like this production by Director Gareth Edwards, Lucasfilm and Disney Studios, although I doubt they will find much that is brand new or innovative.  Felicity Jones is charismatic as the young adult Jyn, and Diego Luna fitting as her fellow rebel Cassian.  Visual and sound effects keep up the excitement, aided by Michael Giacchino’s resounding score.  Dashes of humor are sprinkled throughout, such as the double entendre,  “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations”, as the ambitious man is coughing and choking.  The replacement droid for C-3PO, K-2SO, is highly entertaining, just as his predecessor was.

A stand-alone Star Wars production for devotees of the franchise.

Grade:  B                                    By Donna R. Copeland

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