Rogue One, the first anthology movie was released today in France, I already saw it twice! I’ll start by saying this is truly an amazing Star Wars movie, it’s breathtaking! Really I have been impressed by it all the way. Gareth Edwards is a genius.
As Edwards had confirmed recently, there is no opening crawl. It starts with a flashback scene, taking place not that long after the Catalyst novel, it’s on the same planet as the novel ended. Right from the start, Krennic shows what kind of villain he is – the ruthless kind of villain. He orders the execution of Lyra, Jyn’s mother.The scene also features Saw Gerrera who rescues Jyn. It gives the tone of the movie right away – dark.
The beginning gives us an introduction of the different characters – Jyn, Canadian and Bodhi. Chirrût and Base are introduced when Jyn and Canadian go to Jedha. Cassian introduction scene is absolutely fantastic, it takes place on an asteroid city, similar to the big cities as seen in the Prequels. Honestly, his character is not much likeable at the beginning, I even disliked him at first. We see an another image of the Rebellion, one that is more gray than light, making questionable choices like executing an informant. But Cassian evolves as the story goes, I loved him in the third act of the movie. There is another element of the Prequels too – a turbo tank from Revenge of the Sith. This turbo tank carries Jyn on an imperial camp.
Most of the heroes are immediately likeable, K-2SO is the comic relief in this dark story. Chirrût and Baze are badass as you can imagine and really interesting characters that you get attached to. Bodhi Rook too is a great character, it’s a pilot who defected from the Empire and he is the one bringing the news of the Death Star.
Saw Gerrera, he is a different man than in The Clone Wars. He is an extremist who has clearly lost his mind. He is paranoid, he thinks everything is a trap and to add to this, he is in a bad condition, his suit is what keeps him alive. I can say I didn’t like the character but it’s normal, you can hardly like him the way he is now, he is a terrorist in a way. Forest Whitaker does an excellent job in this role. We don’t see him a lot though, he is there on Jedha and dies with the planet.
You have three acts in the movie I would say.
The first is introducing the characters and the Jedha part. We see Yavin IV and obviously Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. Organa has an amazing entrance, after Jyn is explained the situation, he comes out of the shadow behind Mon Mothma, Jyn clearly recognize who he is. He doesn’t say a word there, he is the silent leader observing and his arrival is marked with a classic Star Wars theme which made me so happy, Bail is one of my favorite non-force sensitive characters. So seeing him introduced this way in RO was fantastic! The part on Jedha is the formation of the team with Bodhi, Chirrût and Baze joining the gang. The destruction of Jedha city is breathtaking and “scary”, amazing visuals. In this act, you also see a confrontation between Krennic and Tarkin as Tarkin takes control of the Death Star. (I will talk about Tarkin later again.)
The second act is the Eadu sequence. The rebel team is going there to get Galen Erso or so they believe as Cassian is supposed to execute him. Cassian ends up not killing him, marking the first change in his character. Galen eventually dies from a bomb of a Y-Wing, another thing showing us a “gray” Rebellion. People who have read Catalyst will be happy to know that Galen calls Jyn stardust there too. You ever wondered why there was this flaw in the Death Star that allowed rebels to blow it up? Well, it’s Galen who made that as his revenge against the Empire. This act features a Darth Vader scene that I will talk about later too.
The third act is Scarif. First, we have the Rebellion council meeting on Yavin IV to discuss whether they should attack Scarif. We get lines from both Mon Mothma and Bail Organa and an inspiring speech by Jyn. The surprise is that the council refuses which leads Cassian an a group of volunteers to go to Scarif with the team too. In this scene Cassian shows his humanity which was needed after the cold Cassian from the early acts. Mon Mothma and Bail Organa also get another scene where Bail says he is going back to Aldeeran and has someone in mind to send to get Obi-Wan Kenobi to join the Rebellion. The Scarif sequence is some of the most intense moments of the Saga, it keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end! It feels like Private Ryan meets Star Wars. And not just in the war style but in the tears as well. Remember it’s a dark movie. There are two battles – the ground battle and the space one that involves Admiral Raddus and the rebel fleet fighting the Empire despite the council disagreement. The ground battle is the ultimate sacrifice kind of battle – everyone dies, literally. K-2SO is the first to die, he goes out like a hero, giving time for Cassian and Jyn to come get the Death Star plans. Then Chirrût dies after activating the master switch so Bodhi can contact the rebel fleet and ask them to destroy the gate so they can send the plans. Then he dies. Next his Baze fighting the Death troopers and now believing in the Force after his best friend’s death. And finally is Jyn and Cassian dying in each other’s arms as the planet is being destroyed by the Death Star. All these deaths are heartbreaking especially Jyn and Cassian, the two main characters that I didn’t expect to die! I was in tears, the music, the visuals, the acting alk is there to break your heart. Krennic also dies on Scarif,as Tarkin absolutely has no interest in keeping him alive, his final revenge against Krennic, their rivalry is well explain in Catalyst and gives sense to this scene.
So Darth Vader, he has two scenes that are about 5 minutes long. The first one takes place on … Mustafar where his citadel is. We see him in a bacta rank without his armor quite quickly and then a little talk with Krennic. Hearing James Earl Jones voicing him again gave me goosebumps, thrilling! Vader shows who is the boss, Force choking Krennic (not to death just to scare him). Vader second scene is at the very end, it’s Vader like he have never seen him before, he is brutal to the best! He boards Raddus ship and slaughters rebel soldiers – Force choke and lightsaber! A rebel soldier gives at the final moment the Death Star plans to the Tantive IV so they can escape. Aboard the Tantive IV we see Leia and end! It pretty much ends just before A New Hope begins.
Now Tarkin and Leia. They are CGI, this is incredibly mind-blowing! Both are extremely realistic, you feel like they are in the room with the other characters. It’s just amazing! And Tarkin has a lot of scenes which was unexpected!
The rest of the visuals are absolutely wonderful too! Edwards gas followed the rule of planets of George Lucas that is each planet looks different.Scarif, Wobani, Jedha, Easy all look different!
Along with Mustafar we go to Coruscant in a flashback scene that takes place during Catalyst. We see Krennic drinking a glass of wine and Galen going to talk to Jyn. Lyra is also there.
Edwards takes element from all the movies and two tv shows which gives a SW movie that is the best it could be.
There are some Star Wars Rebels easter eggs as well – we can hear the words “General Syndulla” during the Yavin IV scenes, giving us a clue to what happens to Hera after the series. If you have good eyes, you can spot Chopper there as well. And the Hammerhead corvette has a role during the space battle and you really understand why it’s called this way!
You also get cameos from Gold and Red Leader from ANH, and the footage used for them is from unused ANH footage.
The cast, they are fantastic all of them special mention to Felicity Jones who brings all the emotions needed for her character.
And Giacchino is the heir if Williams for SW soundtrack, an absolutely great work!
On a final note, if you can read Catalyst, it enhances the experience of the movie.
10/10 Rogue One is a brilliant movie that feels different from the Episodes movie but still feels like Star Wars. It’s a masterpiece really. It reaches the level of dark of Revenge Of The Sith and its level of amazingness as well. ROTS being my top favorite, RO joins it in the top best 3.