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Monday, December 19, 2016

Going Rogue

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RIP, Carrie.  Thanks for playing "Beauty" to the Beast and being the best. slave. ever.

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is Disney’s first stand-alone movie set in the popular Star Wars universe, a spin-off rather than a numbered installment in the Star Wars film franchise.  Directed by British helmer Gareth Edwards (‘Monsters,’ ‘Godzilla 2014’), it was made clear from the very outset that R1 is going be a darker, grittier Star Wars movie that promises to put the “war” in Star Wars.  Edwards even went so far as to say that it’s inspired by one of the best WWII movies of all time, Steven Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan’ which, by the way, should have won Best Picture instead of ‘Shakespeare in Love’ in 1999.
 
Unless you’re ignorant about everything Star Wars, it would be no spoiler for me to tell you that R1 is a prequel to Episode 4 (aka ‘A New Hope’), about a ragtag group of rebels who successfully stole the plans of the Death Star which Luke Skywalker destroyed in his X-Wing starfighter in Episode 4.  This “Dirty Half Dozen” includes Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of the scientist forced to build the planet-destroying superweapon; Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a Rebel Alliance intelligence operative; Chirrut Ĭmwe (Donnie Yen, Chinese #1), a blind warrior monk who thinks that “The Force is with him and he’s one with The Force”; Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen, Chinese #2), a Boba Fett-like bounty hunter and friend of Ĭmwe; Bodhi Rook, an Imperial pilot-turned-rebel and K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk), an Imperial enforcer droid reprogrammed to serve the rebel cause (think of "him" as a more kick-ass or less wimpy version of C-3PO).  How do you think Luke and his Red Squadron knew where the critical flaw/weakness of the Death Star is?  Thanks to the one-way suicide mission these brave misfits undertook, that’s how!
 
R1 is the Star Wars movie we’ve all been waiting for, providing us with a tale of heroism and sacrifice from the grunt’s POV as well as the space-spanning galactic battles we've come to expect while keeping the overall tone of the movie light enough for a Disney picture.  The realism and immediacy of the pitched laser gunfights have come a long way from its humble beginnings in the original trilogy, and Storm Troopers actually displayed "proper tactics" and behaved in a way that’s semi believable even if their marksmanship still leaves a lot to be desired.   What I like the most about R1 is that it maintained the dusty “space western” feel of the original trilogy; the rebels are all dirty-grungy looking like desperados and wearing their gun belts loose.  All that’s missing are cowboy hats.
 
Grade: A-
 
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