With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, director Gareth Edwards faces a tricky task of fleshing out the opening crawl and telling a story viewers know the outcome of. Against the odds, Edwards delivers an engaging and thoroughly entertaining film.
Jyn Erso is recruited by the Rebellion to help them discover the background to a powerful new weapon. As she finds out more, Jyn becomes the unlikely leader of an unlikely strike against the Empire…
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is essentially the story from Star Wars: A New Hope‘s opening crawl. The film functions as an episode after the prequels (ending with Revenge of the Sith) and before A New Hope. The characters at the heart of the film are new. Edwards and screenwriters Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy must tow a line in not reaching to far into the bookended films, whilst also offering a convincing and complete tale.
The filmmakers produce a memorable film by concentrating on the mission. The characters are developed where they need to be, yet the focus remains of the task ahead. After a timid start, the film finds its feet and propels forward. There are some good set pieces and action amongst the exposition and story development. However the real treat is the measured build to a wonderful finale third. The climax offers spectacle and tension in abundance. Even though viewers know the outcome, Edwards delivers a memorable conclusion.
Rogue One does not carry humour or lightness in the same way as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This works however, it is a serious blockbuster without being po-faced. The mood suits the narrative, given the known outcome. Felicity Jones is strong in the central role. She is ably supported by Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, and Ben Mendelsohn. Visuals offer both spectacle and a style in keeping with the original series. Michael Giacchino’s score complimentary of John Williams’ original.
With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Gareth Edwards delivers the type of prequel viewers would no doubt have loved from the 1999-2005 films. This latest film does the franchise proud.