Film Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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.

Film Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a throughly entertaining instalment in the franchise, which lovingly pays homage to Star Wars: A New Hope.

Many years after the defeat of the Empire, a new threat is rising. The First Order wishes to rule the galaxy. It is down to an unlikely group of individuals to stop them, along with help of the Resistance…

The long-awaited sequel to the original Star Wars trilogy lives up to expectations in terms of entertainment and nostalgia. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an enjoyable blockbuster that should satisfying fans and new viewers alike. The film reminds the audience how entertaining an action adventure can be.

Director J.J. Abrams is clearly a fan of the original films; this shines through in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There are a lot of overt references to Star Wars: A New Hope in particular, in terms of characters and sets. Even in terms of narrative structure and set-up, there are allusions to the first trilogy.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduces new characters to the franchise, and a new battle to fight. The film follows a similar premise to the 1977 film in bringing these characters together, and setting up their mission. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is well paced. The film opens with an action sequence, and continues to build momentum whilst allowing for exposition.

The new characters introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens are a good fit for the franchise. These characters have good chemistry, particularly Finn and Rey. Abrams eschews the trap that the prequel films fell into by having supporting characters that aggravate. Droid BB8 is a delightful addition to the cast.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has the look of the original series in terms of settings and props. Production values are great; with CGI used sparingly. John Williams’ score is very memorable. John Boyega and Daisy Ridley have a little bit of the hokeyness of Luke Skywalker in the original, with their line delivery. However, even this is disarming; the pair bubble with enthusiasm. Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac also do well.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a most fitting follow-up in the Star Wars franchise. The film works well on its own, and will ignite zeal for the next instalment.