I just got back from seeing Rogue One for a second time. While this won’t necessarily be a formal review of the film, I will try to keep this post spoiler free and a sort of thought journal about the movie. If you have not yet seen the film I highly suggest you go see it. Especially if you are a fan of the Star Wars franchise. As a stand alone film, Rogue One does serve well for action and drama. However, the plot and character development may feel a bit lack luster without the context of the episodic films. Being that this is the first in the Star Wars Anthology series, it makes sense that it does not spend too much time building up back stories or motivation for the characters. We know that it is about the rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire. As I’ve said, I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. The film starts without a crawl unlike previous Star Wars movies. This is because it is not an episode, but rather a catalyst between Episode III and Episode IV. Some people are saying it is like Episode 3.5, but in all reality it is more like Episode 3.99. Rogue One ends, without me giving too much away, in a perfect transition into Episode IV.
The theme of the film is hope, and as mentioned in the movie – and as the title of this post declares – rebellions are built on hope. I would have to say that Rogue One carries this theme well from the opening scene all the way to the end. The cast does an excellent job in portraying a rag-tag group of rebels that won’t take any of the Empire’s political shit. As the main character, Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones, says “I’ve never had the luxury of political opinions.” With her childhood mostly spent in solidarity, we can see how this would be true. Knowing that it was the Empire that created such a hostile environment which forced the Ersos apart, Jyn’s vendetta plays out on screen in an explosive way. That’s to be taken both figuratively and literally. While all of the cast could fill their own countless tomes of depth and detail, to save time I will point out one other hero we are introduced to in Rogue One. K-2SO, a reprogrammed imperial security droid, voiced by the wonderful Alan Tudyk, is by all means the comic relief that is peppered so perfectly throughout the film. He is consistently dropping one liners that often get a roar of laughter from a packed house. This movie is a little slow at first, but with good reason. We are getting into a movie with (mostly) all new characters and do need some sort of set up. But after the first act the drama and action are just about nonstop. The final battle on tropical planet Scarif is one like we have never seen before in a Star Wars film. I use the word “on” loosely here. I can’t say anymore in order to keep it fresh and unspoiled for those who have yet to see the blockbuster of the year. Go out and see this movie as soon as you can while it is still in theathres. You will be totally immersed in it. Both times I saw this film, I felt a strong disconnect once the credits began to roll and I walked out of the auditorium. A good movie will do that to you. It will take you away from your own reality so much that when you return it is a bit of a shock to the system. I highly rate this film two thumbs up. It is tied with Episode VII: The Force Awakens in my personal ranking of the franchise. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back will always be the best, or maybe… for now anyway.