A long time ago, in theaters far away, one single movie changed the course of the science fiction genre as we knew it. That movie was “Star Wars.” This series has been one of the longest reigning and most successful sagas in film history. Their recent entry, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” however, is a departure from the somewhat lighthearted nature for a more serious take on the space opera.
Starring Felicity Jones as female lead Jyn Erso, she and a group of Rebel fighters band together to steal the plans of the menacing Death Star as a last hope for the galaxy to fight the evils of the Galactic Empire. She is accompanied by Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, a leading Rebel figure, Alan Tudyk, the voice for the wisecracking droid K-2SO, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, a blind monk who is not to be messed with, and his companion, Baze Malbus, as portrayed by Jiang Wen.
One of the draws to this film is the diversity of the cast. There are actors from the United Kingdom, Mexico, Denmark, China, and more. Plus, these actors were not made to have American accents but their own.
The film is not without controversy, however. One such point is the use of late actor Peter Cushing in the film. Using actor Guy Henry, the crew used computer animation to recreate the likeness of his original role from “A New Hope,” Grand Moff Tarkin. This has raised dispute over using a deceased actor to avoid paying any extra fees and the fact that no consent from the actor could be given. However, to some fans this is not an issue, as it shows that the crew of the film respects the actor enough to bring him back for the role, with not even death stopping their efforts to do so.
This raises questions to how they will go about this in the future with the recent passing of longtime Princess Leia actress, Carrie Fisher. “Rogue One” did digitally enhance an actress to represent a younger Leia though this was overlooked due to the fact Fisher was still alive at the time and could express her consent.
Overall, this film was extremely well done. The characters had excellent stories to each of them and had brilliant chemistry with one another. The action was some of the best seen in the series. The ending was a bit of a confusing direction to take, but the way they carried it out was a beautiful way to finish.
If fans are looking for old favorites such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, then unfortunately they are out of luck, as this film focuses on an entirely brand new cast. This does not detract from the movie at all as the characters develop wonderfully and connect well with the audience. The new cast had a large act to live up to that is the legacy that is Star Wars and they did indeed succeed in that matter. Even with the darker tone the film carries, there are still touches of humor from the characters as well.
This movie earns an A- for the diversity of the cast and the overall quality, but is docked off for controversy of using Peter Cushing’s likeness and other smaller faults. Do not let this turn you away from seeing this, as “Rogue One” is still a magnificent standalone in the Star Wars franchise.
In a sad note, however, this was technically Fisher’s last active role in the Star Wars universe as she passed away from heart complications on December 27. She will be appearing in the upcoming Star Wars “Episode VIII” as she had finished her commitments for the film as her final appearance as Princess Leia.