Once upon a time far far away in another galaxy, Star Wars was born. Well, it wasn’t really another galaxy where it was born, but that’s where the action takes place. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is part one of an anthology. The film is set in a time way before we get to meet the iconic characters known as Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo and Princess Lea.
The film starts with a battle raging between the rebel forces and the Galactic Empire. We meet a young girl named Jyn Erso whose father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is a brilliant scientist. She watches as her mother is killed and her father is whisked away by the Imperial army, but not before daddy tells her to hide. Jyn does just that until she’s rescued by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), an extremist militant whom you may remember from “Clone Wars.”
We flash forward to Jyn all grown up and beautifully played by Felicity Jones. She hooks up with renegade imperial pilot (Riz Ahmed), plus a hard-boiled resistance type (Diego Luna), and a blind monk (Donnie Yen) who walks around chanting ‘”The force is with me. I am the force,” over and over again. Unfortunately, he sounds like an infomercial for positive thinking and I did find this part of the film kind of cheesy.
Also in the crew is a bearded sword fighter (Wen Jiang) who looks out for the monk. And last but definitely not least is a sarcastic droid voiced perfectly by Alan Tudyk. I mean what would “Star Wars” be without a sarcastic droid?
Now that we met the good guys, we take a walk over to the dark side, aka The Galactic Empire, where Galen unwillingly has invented a weapon known as the DEATH STAR. This weapon can wipe out planets in a blink of an eye. This makes not only the Emperor thrilled, but his super evil, creepy, sidekick, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), who prefers to wear white no matter what the season, over-the-moon joyous.
Okay, to summarize, we have a really, really bad weapon in the hands of some really, really bad dudes, which of course leaves only one choice for the rebels…steal the design schematics so the weapon will never be completed. What could be easier?
To say anymore would be a SPOILER. But what I will say is that fans of this franchise will not be disappointed. It’s exciting, fun, humorous, with great special effects. I gave “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” four bagels out of five. Directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, the film opens in theaters Friday, December 16th. Love to know what you think.