Rogue One
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Rogue One

 

40 years ago, in 1977, my wife and I decided to spend the evening in the movie theater. Like millions of others. Sit back and enjoy your film that would go on to become a pivotal moment in popular culture, the premiere of ‘Star Wars.' It would go on to become the starting point of the trilogy of films and the foundation for the second trilogy of prequels. Last year the third and reportedly last trilogy was begun with Episode VII, and fans are eagerly awaiting Episode VIII due out in a few months. Star Wars became far more than just a film franchise. It became a social phenomenon that had taken over many science fictions, and fantasy conferences nurtured the expanding universe that included animated TV series, novels and a myriad of fanfiction. It became so widespread that the actual canon had to be re-formalized once the Walt Disney Studios took over the distribution rights to the franchise. The universe created by George Lucas is one of the most expansive and amazingly detailed for any work of fiction. An incredible number of characters, planets, organizations and situations have developed that there is never going to be a shortage of material for new films. Reports have posted that one of the latest means of expanding this universe will be some one off character driven films. The first of these films has been released reception by both fans and critics have been overwhelmingly positive. The lackluster prequel trilogy is overshadowed by the expansion of the canon and elaboration of certain key elements of the overall storyline. ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.' The central plot of this movie originates with a simple line of dialogue in the original movie. "A lot of good people died to get this information After four decades the could hardly be considered the spoil up to reveal that this refers to the plans for the first stop that Princess Leia surreptitiously placed in R2-D2. ‘Rogue One’ chronicles how the rebels came into possession of these all-important plans, and more importantly such a relatively easy to exploit design flaw that made possible the destruction of the planet and dilating weapon could be achieved.

Research scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) and his wife Lyra (Valene Kane) and their young daughter Jyn (Dolly Gadsdon ), are in hiding on the planet Lah'mu, posing as simple framers Erso is the universe’s leading expert in space kyber crystals. These crystals are crucial for light saber construction generating and focusing its power. As the film opens their home is invaded by a contingent of Imperial soldiers accompanying Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), held the position of chief of reference research and development for the Empire. The new super weapon was under construction. It is stronger than anything previously imagined. It would be capable of destroying a planet with a single blast. Generating that amount of power and focusing it requires an enormous amount of kyber crystals, more than ever used by the entire order of the Jedi. Erso was taken away with his young daughter, Jyn, managed to escape. The story picks up 15 years later where Jyn (Felicity Jones), a young woman who lives the life of a renegade eking out a living outside the auspices of the Empire. Over the years she has learned to depend upon herself and is picked up number skills including the fundamentals of mechanical repair, piloting in a keen sense of survival. The catalytic event that drives the story occurs when a cargo polyp for the Empire, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), defects from the Empire and seeks out the rebel alliance. He has in his possession a holographic message from Galen Erso. Understanding the critical nature of the message he seeks out the rebel alliance in the city Gerrera on the desert moon Jedha.This location had been sacred to the Jedi order as the most abundant source of high quality kyber crystals. These glasses were necessary to power light sabers, now that the use of the crystals has been employed to power the primary weapon of the Empire’s Death Star they have garrisoned a significant military presence there as they strip mine the crystals.

After encountering the rebel intelligence officer, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a field operative considers the most stringent rules nothing more suggestions. He throws the necessary type genre of a scoundrel, law breaking adventurer that ‘bad boy’ attraction for women. Realizing that it would be needed to have some input from Galen’s daughter and head off for the labor camp to liberate Jyn. A conference of rebel advisors was managed by a familiar face, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly), cofounder of the rebels who held a similar position of authority in the first two trilogies. And after listening to the message the consensus it is far too dangerous to attempt stealing prints for the desktop. Important documents like this are stored in one of the most secure locations of the Empire. Not to be deterred Jyn, Andor Bodhi decides that this is the only way to defeat such a massively health record the matter what the risk must be taken. After stealing the vehicle that the named ‘Rogue One.' Despite the fact that it is a certain suicide mission intrepid trio the Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu.

There are several rather subtly placed connections to the formal episodes of the canon. Anthony Daniels returns asC3P0 and providing a pivotal connection pulling all the episodes together; Jimmy Smits reprises his role as Senator Bail Organa, the adopted father of Princess Leia. The rebirth of the Star Wars franchise officially began with Episode VII which incorporated the imagery dependent style of JJ Abrams. That film was necessary to establish high callers between that episode and one that started it all back in 1977. As a spinoff, ‘Rogue One’ was obliged to create suitable references to the rest of the franchise to accurately place it in the universe. However, as a side story, one essential difference is that the director, Gareth Edwards, was able to create important characters without assuming the responsibility for keeping them alive at the end of this film. For omve a suicide mission is as advertised, allowing the audience to become emotionally invested in a character only to watch them watch their poignant death. When dealing with a fan base that is as meticulous as the Star Wars, the filmmaker faces a degree of difficulty substantially beyond normal. This is a group pf people that will flood the internet with condemnation for the slightest deviation from expectations. Fortunately, Mr. Edwards possessed the acumen and innate talent to succeed. His prior endeavors included the 2014 Godzilla reboot and the psychologically intense thriller, ‘Monsters.' Much of his resume consists creating and supervising visual effects. It has been my experience that directors that have anchored their professional lives in telling stories through the use of imaginative imagery. In a situation such as presented here, Mr. Edwards has a fertile ground to hone his abilities properly showcasing them.

Felicity Jones portrays Jyn as a resourceful young woman ripped from the safety of her family to survive by scrounging for necessities while remaining off the grid. Tough, resourceful and attractive Jyn is the ideal counterpart for the typical action hero. In many ways, Jyn is a female version of Luke, pulled into the rebellion, forced to grow up fast facing mortal danger at every turn. The major difference is Luke has the advantage of primary protagonist protection. He is relatively immune to premature death, the cast of this film; however, this is not the case.No consideration of this movie could be made without addressing one of the most controversial choices made by the filmmaker, the digital reconstruction of cast members that have passed away. Peter Cushing was digitized and overlaid onto an actor, Guy Henry, to create Grand Moff Tarkin. The likeness of Carrie Fischer was digital regressed back forty years to create a crucial moment every fan knew occurred but never shown, how Leia came into possession of the Death Star schematics and hid them in a droid. Unlike some early implementations of this technology, the use here was respectfully accomplished after receiving permission from the families. Unfortunately, Amazon is not selling the 3D release of the film; you might have to look around for that. A streaming video copy can be purchased from Vudu in a well-don 3D format.

bulletA Rogue Idea
bulletJyn: The Rebel
bulletCassian: The Spy
bulletK-2So: The Droid
bulletBaze & Chirrut: Guardians of The Whills
bulletBedhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary
bulletThe Enpire
bulletVisions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One
bulletThe Princess & The Govenor
bulletEpilogue: The Story Continues

Posted 04/04/2017

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