**WARNING!!! This post contains opinions on the latest Star Wars movie: Rogue One - A Star Wars Story. It will be an extensive post and it will have pictures as well. This review contains SPOILERS so read it at your own risk ;) please do grab a cup of tea / warm blanket and enjoy!**
In case you did not notice through my occasional rants and posts on my Facebook / Instagram / Twitter ... well... I am a huge Star Wars fan ever since I first layed my eyes upon the Millennium Falcon and R2D2 and that fine man Han Solo. I had a major crush on the Episode 4 Luke Skywalker and I was devastated to see what his accident did to his pretty face :( I always thought Leia was an unusually kick arse Princess that raised the bar and the expectations to the Princesses to come. She was unlike any other... and now, considering her a Disney World Princess is quite tough to place her next to the rest. Maybe Mulan and Merida come a bit closer but they are miles away... Carrie Fisher (May The Force be with her!) was The One for the part and as The Force Awakens line says... General Leia? She will always be Royalty for me! But hey... I'm today going to speak about Rogue One - A Star Wars Story. The movie that is being placed as a stand alone between the prequels and the originals, between Episode 3 and Episode 4. Remember the crawl sequence at the beginning, explaining the Rebellion and how they got the plans for the ultimate weapon of the Empire? Well... Rogue One is that text scroll ;) and before I tell you anything more please consider the SPOILERS ahead.
- Unlike the other 7 Star Wars movies, this particular piece is not an episode, but a story - a stand alone movie - that is part of the Star Wars expanded universe! Don't look for the Skywalkers there - although you will see Darth Vader and Princess Leia. This is a story about the Rebellion and how the plans first the Death Star were taken.
- It seems that The Force Awakens started a small trend of bringing female leads into action. TFA had Rey as the leading character. Rogue One had Felicity Jones playing the young rebel Jyn Erso. We also get to see female rebel tie fighters - they were in the original trilogy as well but they never made the directors cut!
- Sadly it is the only Star Wars movie without an original John Williams soundtrack. Michael Giaccino was the one in charge and he did a great job but if you love music and Star Wars you will notice the difference ;)
- There is no opening scroll text! I was shocked and grieved but looking back it does make sense... it's a stand alone movie, it's more serious and more dark than any of the other ones. There was no need for any intros... the fans knew what they were up against! On a positive note, it still opened up with a picture taken from space and an Imperial ship coming in ;)
- Sorry to break it to you... though if you are a hard core Star Wars fan you should have seen the movie by now! It's almost a month (soon) from the release date!... so... there are absolutely no Jedi's in this movie! The only lightsaber you will see is the one that Darth Vader holds. You will see though the moon Jedha, presumably the birth place of the Jedi?
- Small / big cameos of characters both from the prequels but also from "A New Hope" (Episode 4). My personal favourite was Bail Organa, Princess Leia's stepfather. Also you will see more references to Episode 4 than you can imagine! Again my favs are the guys from the Cantina and the "blue milk"... mmm I still wonder how that tastes like :) I would not say Darth Vader is a cameo as he is in multiple scenes as is Mon Mothma.
- Creepingly good CGI done for Moff Tarkin. Peter Cushing has been dead for a while now... so seeing him again on the big screen was a huge shock. It was so well done that my jaw dropped... on the other hand there was just one scene with Leia and her CGI was not as spot on as Tarkin's :(
- Beautiful new challenging characters that die by the end of the movie... they all die and it will break your heart! Starting with the new Imperial reprogrammed droid K2SO, that reminded me so much of Sheldon in Big Bang Theory :) to the amazing power couple Chirrut (blind yet Force sensitive) and Baze (reminding me of The Mountain in Game of Thrones...).
- Amazing visual effects when it comes to the Death Star and the destructive force it has. It's true, back when Episode 4 was filmed there was not much one could have done to show what destruction the "moon" would be capable of... but now... it was perfection! When watching A New Hope you don't feel the pain and terror and horror even though they blow up an entire planet! It's a shot of a planet being destroyed... made star dust! But it Rogue One it feels so real and painful and tragic... it made me think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Death Ray destroying the 2 locations, the earth moving and lifting up to a 360 degrees angle (made me think of Inception as well...) and the horror and terror upon people's faces... now that is something that adds depth into the pain. That is so much more than the single shot of Alderaan exploding!
- The fact that there was no beginning roll credits gets us a bonus of the intro about the Erso family. Galen Erso is the genius behind the Death Star (like the atomic bomb) and we get the introduction to the hero of this story, his daughter Jyn. I'm just gonna put it out there that I love Glen's part - even if he gets short time on screen, his presence is significant! The actor playing (you may recognise him as Lecter from the Hannibal series) is simply brilliant! And to be able to be the one man doing an inside job against the Empire.... wow!
- Even though our characters survive the Death Star first attack it's pretty obvious they won't be able to make it out of the second one... that's when you start to tear up... I started sniffing when K2SO went down (my second favourite droid now after dear old R2D2). When Chirrut died I wanted to curl into a ball and say "I am one with the Force, the Force is with me. I am one with the Force, the Force is with me..." till my lips went dry... but when I saw the command and knowing that everyone else was dead, unable to command a ship, ships being destroyed... it was all but inevitable: Jyn and Cassian were sacrificed along the way as well :( and it will break your heart when you think about their background and their family issues, trust issues... and when they finally find their "home", as Cassian puts it ;) and when you think there is "hope", that's when the movie comes and kicks you to the ground in anger and rage... it's a tragically well done love story, being told realistically, not even with a single kiss... may the Force be with them!
All this being said, I have watched Rogue One on the big screen, 3D version, and I will watch it again and again. It's brilliant and beautiful and it connects like magic the Episode 3 and 4 of the Star Wars Saga. It has one of the best fighting scenes in space I have ever seen (the one where the rebel ship pushes into a Star Destroyer that fully scrapes another Star Destroyer and they end up taking down the shield is... mind blowing!!!). It also has down to earth relatable characters and a decent story line. I even heard many SW fans saying it was better than The Force Awakens, but I would not risk saying that ;) I can tell you that after seeing it I felt like a child again. And once again I told to myself that our little LadyBug Baby Girl will know about the Force and the intriguing space adventures of the Skywalker family.
P.S. As a fan of SW since I was a wee lass, I would like to dedicate this post to the lovely, fun and down to earth human being that was Carrie Fisher. She passed away in December after a heart attack. She will be sorely missed. She was the true Princess of this Universe - May The Force be with her, Always!
Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Star Wars