Sacrifice. Hope. Badassery.

I asked my friend who I hadn’t seen in a long time if she wanted to watch a film, our designated past time when we hang out. And since I needed a first post for my film review blog I thought we should probably watch a fairly simple film that would be easy to review. I decided on ‘Moana’, though neither of us were particularly keen. I mean eh, a new progressive Disney film featuring a strong Disney princess of ethnicity in a world of ancient Polynesian mythology. It ticked all the boxes for sensitive keyboard warriors of 2016. However when we got there and missed our agreed showing we decided on ‘Rogue One’ instead purely because of the hype. Who knows, it might be better than ‘The Force Awakens’.

The film is actually a side story of the main Star Wars storyline that takes place some time before ‘A New Hope’. Yay more prequels! But thankfully the film is strongly attached to the star wars mythology as it interestingly involves the creation of the Death Star. The main character Jyn is a wandering criminal and overall badass woman. She finds herself amongst the original Rebels who want to stop the creation of the Death Star and pull Jyn in to help them. Jyn finds her purpose, her past and some colourful characters who all contribute to one of the most important missions that lights the spark for the Star Wars saga.

Jyn played by Felicity Jones is a brilliant character, thankfully not your typical strong female character but a complex person who says so much without saying anything. She has little dialogue really, but communicates a lot through expression and actions. This then brings us to the rest of the fairly star studded cast. We have great performances by actors such as Forest Whitaker and James Earl Jones (yes he is in this playing you know who), but credit needs to be given to a brilliantly diverse cast. The main rebel team consist of actors of Mexican, Chinese and even British Pakistani descent all being led by a female protagonist. It’s a pleasure to see such a mixed cast in a big budget film and all turning out brilliant performances. It’s even better to see Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, The Night of) break Hollywood and hopefully pave the way for more British Asian actors. Also nice to see Donnie Yen chopping out some skilled martial arts in the film, however Yen actually contributes some serious and even comedic acting in the movie. Great to see him play more than the token martial arts Asian.

The action scenes are great with a mix of real life and CGI making the movie a roller coaster of explosions, fights and hopeless storm troopers who still can’t hit a target to save their lives. The only downside is the action can drag out in the third act of the film and really should have been cut down. It’s a long film so be aware. And yes, we do see Darth Vader in a short but memorable role. It’s so nostalgic to see the famous villain be the evil monster we love him to be. And wonderful that James Earl Jones reprised the voice over, it just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Rogue One is a tightly woven, well-paced movie with incredible action and drama. It is leagues above The Force Awakens purely because unlike the 2015 blockbuster, Rogue One takes itself far more seriously. It is a serious film with heavy drama that makes you almost wish for the goofy fun of Jar Jar Binks (though some would argue otherwise!) It is a devastating, thrilling and all around entertaining film that is a fine entry into the Star Wars saga.

Go. See. It!

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