Rogue One is an exceptionally well told story and Gareth Edwards has done a brilliant job bringing another chapter of Star Wars to life. For me a story is when characters go from A to C with the characters themselves developing in part B. The journey is a fun one, filled with dangers, wry humour, and some of the best set pieces that the Star Wars universe has ever seen.
The journey sees us travelling with the tenacious Jyn Erso, who after the kidnapping of her father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) twenty years earlier is now on the run from the Empire for various reasons not really told to us. Throughout her journey she is paired with a varying collection of characters, some that really work well, like Donnie Yen’s blind yogi who is at one with The Force, and his reliable sidekick Baze Malbus, Alan Tudyk’s scene stealing performance as K-2SO, there are however others that don’t work, and unfortunately the biggest one that doesn’t work is her co-companion Cassian Andor.
Now I don’t know whether it’s Diego Luna’s performance or Captain Andor’s too obvious Che Guevara modelling that makes him just so unlikable and uncharismatic, I just haven’t put my finger on it yet. There’s just something that doesn’t sit right with me about this character, and it is hampered even more so by the lack of chemistry between Andor and Erso. They just seem like shallow caricatures in comparison to say the chemistry between Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyoga’s Finn in The Force Awakens.
On the other end of the spectrum Ben Mendelsohn shines as the big bad, Orson Krennic, the Director of the Death Star, his performances with Mads Mikkelsen are some of the best pieces of dramatic acting from any Star Wars film and they play off each other perfectly, the same can be said about his chemistry with a resurrected CGI model of Grand Moff Tarkin. The only downside to the scenes with Tarkin is that he looks utterly hideous as a CGI model. He looks like a render from the Rogue One video game. It made the CGI age renders on Charles Xavier and Magneto in X-Men 3 look revolutionary. Not to mention Darth Vader’s fleeting but brilliant cameos.
The music was largely forgettable. Michael Giacchino seems to be the go to guy now for music composing but little is memorable and the music that was memorable was John Williams’ pieces from the last movies.
The shooting is first class however. Greig Fraser’s cinematography has to be some of the best imagery that has come to life in a Star Wars film. It was superb, the colours, the framing, the attention to detail, just brilliant work.
This movie isn’t going to knock your socks off like The Force Awakens did, that said however, unlike The Force Awakens, I think more people will warm to it as time goes by whereas many people grew to become quite cold to The Force Awakens. It is though, a solid film, and well worth watching. My only wish, as in most films that he stars in, they could use Mads Mikkelsen’s talent a great deal more, his screen time is only fleeting. The ending is out of this world.
Enjoyability – 7/10
Characters – 6/10
Story – 8/10
Music – 5/10
Shooting – 9/10
Overall CAT score = 35/50 or 3.5/5