a Star Wars Story
(Disney / Lucasfilm)
When the Alliance discovers the Empire has a massive war machine which can take out an entire planet, they must find the plans and destroy it.
Rated PG-13, for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action.
Genre: Science Fiction
Viewer Appeal: Ages 12 and up
Thirty-nine years after the release of the “first” Star Wars movie (which is now the 4th chronologically), LucasFilm has released another movie in the saga of the war between the Rebellion Alliance and the Empire. Apparently, we love Star Wars!
As LucasFilm likes to mix things up, Rogue One does not follow Force Awakens, which released last year. Instead it places itself in-between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope (episodes 3 and 4), a story that focuses on the Death Star and an Alliance attempt at destroying it.
Galen Erso (Mads Mendelsohn) didn't want to build the Death Star, a new weapon able to destroy a planet, but after the Empire killed his wife and kidnapped him, his choices were severely limited. Fifteen years after, he secretly sends a message, by way of a defecting pilot, to Saw Gerrera (Forrest Whitaker), an allied warlord who was his friend way-back-when. In the meantime, the Rebellion rescues Galen's criminal daughter, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) from prison in an effort to lure Galen out of hiding and, believing he is a willing participant to the Empire, kill him.
Ignorant of the Rebellion's plan to kill her father, Jyn agrees to help find Galen in hopes of destroying the Death Star. Shortly after she and Cassian (Diego Luna) begin their hunt, they find others to round out their band of rebels...blind Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and his big-ass gun toting companion Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), along with defected pilot Bodie Rook (Riz Ahmed) and the token robot/droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). These six warriors lead an impossible mission into Empire territory to find the Death Star plans and destroy it.
Rogue One is almost like a short story, or a prelude to A New Hope. It involves a lot of action, but the plotline itself is short and sweet. Parents should be aware that there is a considerable amount of violence and death in the movie. Almost every scene involves a battle in which Storm Troopers or someone from the Alliance is killed. In keeping with the other Star Wars movies though, the “gore factor” is kept to a minimum, as most deaths don’t show even the tiniest amount of blood.
LucasFilm has generally not used famous actors to prop up Star Wars episodes (not that it has needed star power to gain an audience), using virtual unknowns for the first release in 1977. As the series has continued though, it seems that everyone wants to be involved in these movies. And while Rogue One has few “unknown” actors, Forrest Whitaker, Mads Mendelsohn, and Felicity Jones were excellent in their roles, bringing depth and emotion to their characters. While the story of Star Wars spans the universe, its characters are usually white Americans, with the exception of a few. Rogue One has actors who are African American, English, Asian, Danish and Mexican, which gives additional credibility to the idea of characters coming from many different planets and locations.
While Rogue One isn’t the best Star Wars movie ever created, it certainly isn’t the worst. The story line is interesting and gives a fuller understanding to later episodes, and the acting is excellent. It’s a movie you’ll want to see on the big screen, because of the Star-Wars-esque action sequences and graphics, which are, as expected, spectacular. You won’t be disappointed.
Bonus features include:
A Rogue Idea – Hear how ILM’s John Knoll came up with the movie’s concept – and why it’s the right film to launch the Star Wars stand-alone films.
Jyn: The Rebel – Get to know Rogue One’s defiant, resourceful survivor, and hear what it was like for Felicity Jones to bring her to life onscreen.
Cassian: The Spy – Diego Luna shares insights into his complex, driven character, who becomes a hero through selflessness, perseverance and passion.
K-2SO: The Droid – Explore the development of this reprogrammed Imperial droid, from initial pitch and character design through Alan Tudyk’s performance.
Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills – Go deeper into the relationship between these two very different characters, with Chinese superstars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.
Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary – Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed reflect on Saw Gerrera, the broken Rebel leader, and Bodhi Rook, the Imperial pilot who defects.
The Empire – Meet a dangerous new Imperial adversary…and cross paths once more with the most iconic villain of all time.
Visions of Hope: The Look of “Rogue One” – The filmmakers describe the challenges and thrills of developing a bold new look for the movie that can fit within the world of the original trilogy.
The Princess & The Governor – See what it took to bring the vibrant young princess of “Star Wars: A New Hope” – as well as one of her most memorable foes– – back to the screen.
Epilogue: The Story Continues – Filmmakers and cast celebrate Rogue One’s premiere and look forward into the future, to the Star Wars stories yet to be told.
Rogue Connections – Uncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect “Rogue One” to the Star Wars universe.
Let's Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• Chirrut Imwe drew upon the force in battle, repeating “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.” What gives you strength and courage during tough times in your life?
• Galen Erso was forced to do work on the Death Star, something with which he ethically and morally disagreed, leading him to his own rebellious act. Can you think of modern examples of people who have rebelled against their employer? Do you view them as courageous or traitors? Explain.
• This movie has a lot to say about loyalty to family, friends, and country. How important is loyalty to you? Would others describe you as loyal?
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