'Rogue One' valuable in any intergalactic currency
Set very nearly before A New Hope, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tells the tale of a group of rebel underdogs as they attempt to gain the plans to the Death Star that were such a crucial plot point nearly 40 years ago. To that end, much of Rogue One feels so much like what you've seen before, but in an entirely new light. Somewhat.
For starters, since Rogue One is situated so early before the first Star Wars film, painstaking time and effort have gone into emulating the feel of the futuristic 1970s. There's an air of authenticity, right down to the outdated display on the ship's computer screens. While this tasteful recreation is impressive, to say the least, it pales in comparison to the more innovative work found in Rogue One.
Director Gareth Edwards is known for his work with giant monsters and he's brought that unique eye to Star Wars. Edwards captures the scale and vastness of space in epic fashion, but then brings the focus down to a more intimate, human eye. Giving these scenes this personal context makes you feel claustrophobic and frightened yet exhilarated, and perhaps best captures what it would be like in an intergalactic war.
But as much as you experience the film from the characters' level, I'm afraid I had trouble connecting with them. This was primarily for the main character, Jyn Erso, whose story of jaded rebel turned freedom fighter was a little bland for my tastes.
Thankfully, with a cast like this one, you're treated to a vast array of characters to cling on to. Some of them feel more like action figures than characters, but it's a delight to have characters that are colourful - in more than one sense of the word.
Leave it to Star Wars to bring together an audience of children playing with light sabres, adults with full-time jobs, and teenagers finally finished with exams to scream and cheer at the screen. Rogue One may not be the best Star Wars film, but it certainly captivates an audience in the same way and is worth the full price of admission for the final 20 minutes alone.