In a galaxy far, far away, the oppressive Imperial regime is holding sway over an increasing number of worlds but the Rebel Alliance challenges its domination. As a countermeasure, the Emperor has been building a planet killer, the Death Star.
On the ash-coated planet Lah’mu, Imperial forces come for Galen Erso to force him to work in their science and technology department to complete the Emperor’s pet project. Before they can seize his little daughter Jyn and hold her to ransom, she runs to a planned hiding place. She is rescued by a resistance activist, Saw, and raised by him until, for her own safety, she is left to her own devices.
Years later Jyn is captured by Imperial forces but rescued by the Alliance. However, they have an ulterior motive. Believing her father is a collaborator and the key to preventing the completion of the Death Star, they plan to use Jyn as a calling card to get close to Saw, the one person who will know the location of her father. Once they find Galen, he will be terminated. However, a pilot risks his life to bring Jyn a message from Galen revealing that he has sabotaged the Death Star by creating a flaw that, when triggered, will destroy it. However they will need the design schematic to know how to identify it.
Jyn presents this news to the rebel leaders from whom she needs consensus for them to bring to bear the power of their fleet. However in the face of scepticism, it is left to a small band to infiltrate the imperial base of operations, Skarif, capture the Death Star plans and get them into Alliance hands. The crew is captained by Alliance intelligence officer Cassian, features Jyn, a blind martial arts expert and devotee of The Force. Chirrut, his chum and warrior Baze Malbus, pilot Bodhi Rook, and sundry volunteers. They appropriate a a stolen imperial craft and Rogue One is born.
An hour in, this is where the story gets going. We now know who’s who and on what side and why. Prepare for a diversion, a brain drain, 89 storm troopers, ambushes, explosions, and the cavalry. Witness a hard climb to a hard drive at a precarious height while they ‘fight them on the beaches’.
If you like an action sci-fi roller coaster ‘Rogue One’ will entertain you even if you have never seen a single Star Wars film. If you are a fan of either the originals of the new batch, this is a prequel to the first original Star Wars. You’ll enjoy cameos by old friends (a couple rather unnervingly and controversially resurrected courtesy of CGI) and the usual arrange of interestingly anatomically arranged aliens, dark alleys, dodgy bars and bizarre bazaars.
There are no furry or fluffy friends but we do have K-2SO representing the robot community. Carry On fans will be diverted by the news that the Death Star is fuelled by Kyber (I’ll pass on that one). Fashionistas will notice the proliferation of pen pockets in the galactic design palette that year and the return of the white leather uniform incorporating cape and auxiliary detailing, modeled by Death star project director Kerdick.
As to Rogue One‘s ‘Feel-better’ rating, the message is one of hope but also of disposability. There are few left standing from a high body count of characters to whom we have become somewhat attached. There is little banter, no romantic undertones, camaraderie evidenced only in extremes and events affirm that there’s never an extension lead around when you need one.
It takes a while to warm up and is rather formulaic but Felicity Jones is sympathetic as Jyn. The most endearing and emotionally attractive character is, ironically, the robot but this is a mainly action-packed spectacle that also features a whirlwind tour of Imperial and Alliance hot spots of the mythical galaxy. On the whole, unless you’re an ardent Star Wars film collector.Rogue One is a pay-per-view treat.
Chartreuse is a freelance writer, editor, photographer and promotional videographer. She has written a feel-better film review column for Heath & Happiness Magazine, and is the owner of Heypressto. Chartreuse’ greatest inspiration is Abraham-Hicks. Her favourite quote is ‘You can be, do or have anything you want’.