Thursday, May 4, 2017

Now on Netflix: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Rogue One (2016) - Directed by Gareth Edwards; Written by Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy; Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Jimmy Smits, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels.

By Kenny Howell

The Star Wars universe gets a huge collection of great actors and steps a bit outside the main storyline in the first of many standalone films.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes place just before Episode IV, the original film back in 1977. The Death Star is now the most menacing weapon in the galaxy, and the Rebel Alliance need to stop it. The plans are revealed to a motley group of rebels, led by Jyn Erso, played brilliantly by Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything). They know the weak spot in the Death Star, and they have to get it to the Rebel Alliance leaders so they can put and end to it.

Rogue One is nice to step a little out of the main storyline, at least character wise. There are several "cameos" by original characters, but this sticks with the crew they have put together here. The amount of talent put together is astounding, mostly actors' actors like Jones, Diego Luna (Elysium), Ben Mendelsohn (Black Sea), Riz Ahmed (The Night Of) and Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange). They do what they can with the material, which feels a little lacking.

Aside from the last act, the big battle at the end, Rogue One drags a bit at times. They take the time to set up some pretty interesting characters, then don't do a ton with them. It just doesn't have that spark, that feeling that those original films had. The Force Awakens had that spark, but probably went a little heavy, veering into nostalgia porn a bit. Both The Force Awakens and Rogue One are good films. It just feels more apparent that overwhelming sensation you got when you first saw the original films just will never be something that you can recapture.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: **1/2

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