Rogue One is the most evocative Star Wars film till date: a no-spoilers review

You can enjoy Rogue One as a standalone film and walk away enriched, with no plans of watching any of the other Star Wars movies.

For those who have not yet watched a Star Wars film, Rogue One is the perfect introduction. You can watch this movie as a standalone film and walk away enriched, with no plans of watching any of the other Star Wars movies. This one stands out on its own and is an unconventional experience as just an action movie set in a Galaxy Far Far Away.

Rogue One is the first of a series of anthology films, and there will not be a sequel. It is a complete and self-contained story. The action sequences are well choreographed and the fighting is constant. It is not a Mad Max, but the pace does not let up. There are a few spectacular sequences that are awesome and terrifying, and will keep you at the edge of your seats.

Rogue One drops the simplistic and clear cut good-vs-bad conflict in the other Star Wars films. This film shows the real effects of political turmoil, the families and friends that get ripped apart because of a clash of ideologies. Because of the Clone Wars and Episode VII, you feel as much for the Stormtroopers as the Rebels. The Rebels themselves are not a squeaky clean bunch, and the Empire is an imperfect machine. At times you end up wishing that the characters do what is clearly wrong at that point in time, but for the better in the larger scheme of things. It is a complex experience, a roller-coaster of emotions.

The story line is daring and unconventional. The movie lives up to the title by itself being a rogue one. The story is written by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, with screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy. The strong story stands apart from typical science fiction movies, superhero movies, or action movies. It is beautiful. It is poignant. It is haunting.

 Rogue One is the most evocative Star Wars film till date: a no-spoilers review

Jyn. Cassian. K2SO. Chirrut. Baze. Krennic. Saw. Bodhi. These are the characters of the new Star Wars movie. These are new characters that we have not seen before. They form the unlikely team that steals the plans of the Death Star, with the exception of Krennic who is responsible for keeping the plans safe. Every character is fleshed out, with quirky and endearing personality traits. From a reprogrammed imperial security droid to a force wielding blind fighter in the aftermath of the Jedi Purge, the characters are instantly likable.

Everything that is familiar and fun about Star Wars is in the film. Epic space and ground battles, alien planets, massive machines, exotic creatures, they're all here. The Jedi are missing because of the purge, and not one Gungan is to be seen. There are a few familiar planets and some new ones. The Empire is at the height of its powers so the customary spaceships, walkers and of course the Death Star, all make an appearance. death-star

The plans of the Death Star could do with some more software encryption though. There are more physical security measures and all the data is stored in a tall tower of magnetic tapes or hard drives. Maybe the Empire needs to get cloud storage. The climax, where the plans of the Death Star are retrieved, is essentially an elaborate hack. A number of security measures are compromised, step by step, and involves a coordinated effort by the various people involved in the data breach.

The CGI is a little ambitious and fails to be photo-realistic at times. One character in particular suffers from distracting and cartoonish animation (you'll find out for yourself, soon enough). Apart from this single flaw, all the other CGI is top notch, offering up some of the most complex and busy scenes we have seen in the series so far. The creature fx are excellent.

This is the movie that really ties up the Original Trilogy with the Prequel Trilogy. The story lines of the Original Trilogy are juggled well, given where Episode III ends. Those who have watched the Animated Series, Star Wars Rebels and The Clone Wars, will find references in this movie. The events in Rogue One takes place before Episode VI, and shows the cost of actually stealing the plans of the Death Star. Recognisable tactics are used by the fighter squadrons, and the troops of the Empire.

The mixture of elements from the Prequel Trilogy and the Original Trilogy is well balanced. There is a history to the movie as well, one that extends to the Prequel Trilogy. There is a back story to what it took to take down the Death Star, one that goes beyond merely stealing the plans. It was a long and heroic effort to take down the battle station of the Empire.

In terms of ratings, Rogue One easily gets a 4 on 5. Rotten Tomatoes has certified it fresh with a 84 percent Tomatometer. Rogue One is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, with Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. The movie releases on 16 December. For fans of only the Original Trilogy, Rogue One is the prequel that the Original Trilogy deserved.

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