Film Reviews
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Rated: 12A)

Love Bridgnorth film reviewer Charlie Pugh spent the evening with us in excited anticipation before going to the Midnight showing of the latest offering in the Star Wars franchise. No need to stay up late now – the film is showing at Bridgnorth Majestic Cinema daily: 11:00am, 2:10pm, 5:20pm and 8:30pm

A few weeks before the events featured in A New Hope, the now desperate Rebel Alliance recruit a young lawbreaker named Jyn Erso (Felicty Jones) to assist a team led by Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in their fight against Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and the Galactic Empire. The new recruit hatches a plan to retrieve the Death Star plans – in the hope that this will forever change the fate of the galaxy.

Just one year after Disney brought back the Star Wars franchise with the start of the new sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens, George Lucas’s Galaxy has gone in a completely different direction for the first of a series of spin-off films, designed to tell smaller stories of the Star Wars Universe, with  this, the first one chronologically, focusing on how the Rebel Alliance even managed to get those Death Star plans in the first place. Although the first act is really choppily edited at times, and several moments feel incredibly rushed, the narrative told in this film takes more inspiration from war dramas such as Saving Private Ryan and Zero Dark Thirty, giving audiences a much more gritty film than one would expect.

Although Felicity Jones is great at portraying a Han Solo-like character in Jyn, and several members of the team, in particular Donnie Yen as a Force-sensitive monk and Alan Tudyk as reprogrammed Imperial Droid K-2SO, the majority of the characters don’t really get enough screen time to develop. That said, long-time fans will get a kick out of seeing numerous cameos of familiar faces throughout the film, including Vader himself, although the decision to use fully CGI versions, or stock footage of certain characters does look really distracting at times.

However, if there is one thing that Rogue One does better than The Force Awakens it’s the action set-pieces and the cinematography. After proving himself with Godzilla two years ago, Gareth Edwards is much more willing to keep the cameras focused on better angles for the starfighter battles, making it feel like watching the original trilogy’s battle scenes again.

Overall, although it does start off clumsily with a rushed pace, Rogue One succeeds at being both a nice love-letter to the 1977 film and a heart-wrenching, yet emotional satisfying appetizer before next year’s Episode VIII.

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