"Rogue One" Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was one of the biggest hits of the holiday season.

For anyone familiar with the Star Wars films, this piece takes place right before the start of A New Hope. They literally transition from one right into the other. The film covers the adventures of a group of rebels who secure the plans to the Death Star, which ultimately leads to the success of the rebellion.

Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, is the head of the main trio. The daughter of one of the scientists who created the Death Star, she gets involved in the rebellion in order to get to her father. Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, is a rebel captain willing to do anything in order to complete the mission and ensure the rebellion continues. K2 is our droid for the film, who offers snarky commentary to his human companions. They pick up a few other “strays,” including a blind monk, his assassin bodyguard, and a former Imperial pilot, eventually forming a ragtag crew that manages to put their plan into action.

If you’re familiar with the films, you go into Rogue One knowing exactly what will occur, and that tragedy is an essential part of it. After all, the senator who mentions the plans explains that many rebels died in order to get them. Yet, even with this knowledge, the film still managed to be a sucker punch to the gut. That’s all I’ll say in order to avoid fully spoiling it, but bring your tissues if you cry easily. On that note, it also manages to make you worry if the characters will succeed, even if you know they have to for the next film to proceed.

One thing I want to bring up is the use of CGI in this film, and I don’t mean for effects. Grand Moff Tarkin is a relevant character in A New Hope, but his actor, Peter Cushing died many years ago. In order to supplement for that, they used a body double and superimposed a CGI image of Cushing. While it sounds like it’d look tacky, it was eerily convincing. They did a similar technique with Princess Leia at the end of the film, using a young image of Carrie Fisher. It makes me wonder if they’ll use this technique in Episode IX, or if they’ll find a way to write Fisher’s character out.

Darth Vader also made a guest appearance. Still played by James Earl Jones, the sith lord was even more terrifying than usual. He reminded everyone who was in charge and that he could likely destroy the entire rebellion on his own, if he could catch up to them. It was a subtle way of pointing out how much the rebellion actually relied on luck, or “hope” if you’re of the optimistic side.

The settings in the film were gorgeous, ranging from dry deserts to lush lagoons, which made you want to explore the greater world offered. Similarly, the fight scenes kept the action up and your eyes glued to the screen. Despite its tragic nature, it still managed some comic relief, often provided by K2. Ultimately, it was a beautiful, well-composed film given that it was trying to fill holes in the already established universe.

If you’re a fan of Empire Strikes Back you’ll probably enjoy this film, as it takes a darker, more realistic approach to the franchise. Go catch it before it flies out of this galaxy (or theaters, whichever comes first).

If you are interested in writing an article for Her Campus Davidson, contact us at [email protected] or come to our weekly meeting Tuesday at 8 pm in the Morcott Room.