So we’ve finally come out with our Rogue One review. We know its a day late but what the heck, I have a little stardust of my own to take care so yeah. So as early as now, let me say that the Rogue One is indeed a success in being able to carefully balance what has been set by Lucasfilm, what Disney wants to put forward and what has been established in the Star Wars canon thus far.

The tl;dr version of this review is that we’re giving it high marks and that we also advice you to watch the movie for a second or third round as you’ll easily fall in love with the story. For me though, I want to angle this as being the perfect complement to ‘A New Hope, thus the title, the bagoong to your New Hope Kare-Kare. They definitely work so well together.

“I Rebel”

Characterization is important for a film and through Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso, we get a lot of sass and a lot of heart. We see a young woman transform from a rogue to somebody who has finally wrestled with her demons and came out strong. I like that there’s this tension between her and Rebel Intelligence officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and although that’s never fully realized in the film, it works to lighten the mood a bit.

The initial reviews were right, Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe and Alan Tudyk’s K-2S0 are the breakout characters in Rogue One. Yen because of his sheer badassery in some scenes and then breaking into a “big brother” role at the next and Tudyk’s K-2S0 because we finally have a droid that acts as snarky as Sheldon Cooper.

Still the other cast members were OK. And don’t tell me you didn’t get that yaoi vibe between Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Chirrut (Yen). That’s totally OK. This is the 21st century after all.

Lets see who did we miss out. Ah yes, Director Krennig had a lot of great moments in the film only he kinda sucked towards the end. Mads Mikkelsen’s Galen Erso was great albeit short in screentime and Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera (who first appeared in the animated Star Wars series ‘Clone Wars’) had a really damn intimidating role. They were spot on in casting the Academy Award winning actor in the role of the grizzled and war-torn extremist.

A Vision for the Future

Oh boy did Disney spend megabucks for the special effects for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. From arid desert planets like Jedha to the resort-ish Scarif, they definitely took world building in the Star Wars universe to a whole new level.

Then there’s the glorious space fights. If the new technology made Episode VII believable, this is where they take things higher.  Gareth Edwards definitely played around with several concepts and choreography in the space battles that he packed into ‘Rogue One’.

Should you catch Rogue One on 2D? 3D? IMAX? The answer is yes. We mean YES to all if humanly possible. It’s definitely worth your money.

But what really took my breathe away was how the folks at Disney managed to bring back Peter Cushing who played Tarkin here and in the original trilogy (or at least in ‘A New Hope’). Thanks to visual effects, they managed to revive the late Peter Cushing and give him a meatier place in the Star Wars history.

Did I mention how cool the space and aerial dogfights were? I did? Well let me mention that again. AND if you do have the budget, you might want to get Hasbro’s U-Wing Deluxe figure and the TIE Striker.

I am one with the Force, The Force is with Me

Thematically, Rogue One is a heist/ war movie. It definitely puts the ‘war’ on ‘Star Wars’ with all those land, air and space battles. But it does more than that. It shows the ugliness of war. About how technology can win a war at the expense of losing humanity. That thought even gets a manifestation on screen with the appearance of Darth Vader, now in an updated costume and still sporting that sexy James Earl Jones voice.

Star Wars fans will be pleased to know that yes, Rogue One definitely ties up dangling plot holes from the 1970s while at the same time allowing younger generations of moviegoers to soak up the history of Star Wars.

The tear-jerking ending for the movie will also have you bawling. Not too much, but enough to hear your own heart breaking as the climax appears before you.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story..L to R: Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk)..Ph: Jonathan Olley..© 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

There were also a few inspiring moments in the film and mostly done / performed by Jones. There’s one that’s even relevant to today’s society and political climate. Just keep your ears as much as your eye open.

VERDICT

10 out of 10

Special thanks to Walt Disney Studios Philippines for the invite!

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