You might not of heard of it, but there’s a little indie flick that’s just hit cinemas and it’s causing a bit of buzz…
One of Disney’s umpteenth cash-cow franchises, Star Wars, has released its first stand-alone anthology flick, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. There’s no scroll (bummer) and there’s new music, but Gareth Edwards’ venture into space territory is a load of brutish shoot-em-up fun.
As much as I enjoyed The Force Awakens, it felt like J.J’s re-vamp was a big tick-boxing exercise to restore faith in the franchise and, most importantly, to please the fan-boys. The benefit of Rogue One being a standalone adventure is that it legitimately feels like it is its own thing and Edwards goes full out to bring us the best war film of 2016.
Taking us up to the events that kicked off in A New Hope, it’s a simple premise: the Death Star’s gonna kill ’em all. Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso – the daughter of the weapons’ creator, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelson) – leads the charge to find the plans for the big ball in the sky as a bunch of Rebellion rebels (you’ll get it when you see it…) go kick some Empire scum ass.
Given rumours over the films overly-dark tone, it was surprising to find just how funny and charming it all was. Given the franchises history with lovable robots, our new wannabe BFF, K-2SO, brings the laughs as the straight-talking hunk of metal. Yet this ain’t no character study: it’s a thoroughly enjoyable, well-orchestrated assault, and surprisingly, rather brutal.
OK, OK, it’s not all great. Forest Whitaker’s extremist rebel leader Saw Gerrera is still chewing every set he can get his teeth on, whilst there’s a collective “meh” feeling about the relatively uninspiring central cast of characters – other than Ben Mendelson’s Director Orson Krennic, who’s just flippin’ great.
After watching it twice now, it’s a blockbuster that definitely holds up on a second viewing. Sit back, enjoy and let the action suck you in. Oh, and that finale includes one of the best scenes of the year, right? *Breathes heavily*