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Going Rogue: Star Wars Branches Off Into New Territory

With+%27Rogue+One%3A+A+Star+Wars+Story%27+the+franchise+moves+successfully+into+uncharted+waters.
With 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' the franchise moves successfully into uncharted waters.

With 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' the franchise moves successfully into uncharted waters.

The Studio Exec

The Studio Exec

With 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' the franchise moves successfully into uncharted waters.

Quincy Balius, Student Editor

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As I am apparently the Ketochi’s designated writer for all things Star Wars, it only makes sense that I’ve got a review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ready for you today.

Rogue One is a standalone film that is centered between the prequels and the original Star Wars series. The movie kicks off by showing the forcible recruitment of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), an Imperial scientist, by Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) to finish the terrifying Death Star for the Galactic Empire. His daughter, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), is nearly killed, but a rebel manages to save and protect her for the next thirteen years. She is captured by the Galactic Empire, but pilot Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). The trio goes to the moon Jedha in the midst of a rebel uprising in order to find Jyn’s father – or at least her old mentor, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), who shows them a hologram that reveals that Erso built a flaw into the Death Star. The group grows with the addition of two former Jedi protectors, blind warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and mercenary Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), and the rebel pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed). The Rebellion refuses to go to Scarif, an Imperial security center, to obtain the Death Star plans to exploit the vulnerability. So the group strikes out on its own, creating a new call sign – Rogue One.

Some of the cinematography of Rogue One is flawless. The return of Darth Vader is one of these incredible moments, as is bits of the Rebel base and final battle. However, it cannot compare to the gorgeous sweeping visuals of The Force Awakens and often pales against the other films in the Star Wars franchise. The overall effect is that of gray. That’s all.

The acting in the movie was incredible, with the notable exception of Felicity Jones. Her depiction of Jyn Erso was boring, uninspired, and a huge disappointment, especially since Jyn was both the main character and one of the few women actually in the film. I had my hopes up so high for a great protagonist, but Jyn turned out to be flat and terrible. Other actors, especially Donnie Yen, Diego Luna, and Riz Ahmed, shone in the movie. One thing that I can praise is the diversity of the actors in the film. It’s nice to see something out of Hollywood that isn’t whiter than a pair of boxer briefs.

The plot of the movie is confusing, but it does do a good job. As others have pointed out, the movie is severely constricted by its placement in the Star Wars series. It forces the movie to stand with the original cinematography and certain plot points. As an explanation, it’s a great one. I loved the reality of the movie — there is no happy ending for the rebels. However, it has extraneous pieces, most notably Saw Gerrera, who served as nothing more than a set-up for Jyn to find out about the Death Star. I would have preferred a tighter movie with less cringe-y lines (choke on your ambitions, anyone?).

Without John Williams, the soundtrack of this Star Wars installment falls way short. It was unremarkable – adequate, but without any interesting bits or especially wonderful pieces, as many have come to expect from Star Wars.

The best way to treat Rogue One is as a simple film. If you don’t look too hard for any issues in the movie, it’s great. It’s fun to see the actors shine and to get another chance to inhale more Star Wars, which is something I’m always on the lookout for. However, it just doesn’t measure up to other movies in the franchise. My rating is a 7.5/10.

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Going Rogue: Star Wars Branches Off Into New Territory