A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. Words we always expect to crawl across the screen at the beginning of what is arguably by far the most recognized saga in cinematic history. The fans expecting to see the scrolling epilogue in every Star Wars movie were not satisfied this time; however, the change while may not welcome by some was refreshing. The latest Star Wars story to hit the silver screen is the second brought by Disney, and is as enjoyable as SW: The Force Awakens.
As a hardcore fan of Star Wars, I am satisfied in finally understanding Mon Mothma’s sadness as she announces “Many Bothans died to bring us this information” in SW: A New Hope. The story of Rogue One is before the original movie, and after the Revenge of the Sith. It fills a gap in the history of the saga in a way that fans never knew was needed until now. This story follows Jyn Erso, a reluctant hero and a ragtag team of dissidents, freedom fighters, an unlikely hero in the form of an imperial shuttle pilot. There are, of course, some awesome cameo appearances by characters from the prequels and sequels that are subtly placed throughout the movie, some more easier to spot than others.
Without giving away too much of the plot, I can say this movie will awe you. It shows a side of Darth Vader we all know about but never had a chance to witness. It also shows the harsh truths about the reality of the skirmishes the Rebel Alliance and Imperials handled internally as well as externally. We also learn a valuable lesson in doing what we feel is right, regardless of the consequences.
We also get to see a rarely acknowledged as cannon glimpse of the crystals that make a Jedi Knight’s weapon so powerful. Jyn has a set of Kyber Crystals on a necklace she wears, Given to her by her father before his capture by the Empire. Jyn learns they are special not just because her father gave them to her, but because of what they can do in the right hands.
Throughout the course of the movie, we are introduced to old and new characters, besides Lord Vader. Grand Moff Tarkin plays a pivotal role as does a new Imperial Droid reprogrammed to assist the rebels, K2SO. I was saddened at his demise, but of course Since he was not in any of the previous movies, his onscreen destruction was only inevitable. I would have loved to see K2SO, R2-D2 and C3PO together in their own droid adventure.
We do get to see some amazing spaceship dogfights, and on the fly critical thinking that saves the day at the end of the movie. We learn the destructive force of the Death Star before the fatal destruction of the Planet Alderaan. We learn the capabilities of the Space Station are more than just a planet killer, which makes it all the more fearsome as a weapon.
There is one thing missing from this episode, which I feel brought back more mystery to the saga. The Force is no longer prevalent again. It has been almost completely wiped out along with the Jedis of old. We do see Vader wield the Force as a dark weapon and a means to violently get his work done, and we hear whispers of a mantra by a Zatiochi like character, Chirrut Îmwe, and later on his partner in rebellion Malbus. But these whispers are the words of those that do not know the force intimately like the Jedi or Sith, and just know of what it once was.
This is not your parents Star Wars, you will want to watch it with other adults before taking your younger children to see it, as some of the scenes may be too intense for children. There is bloodless death by lasers and destruction, topped with an emotional weight that may bring questions from younger children and possible early teens. These discussions will not be lightly handled, so as a parent you may want to prepare for them before exposing your kids to the powerful- and possibly unintended emotionally heavy mood of some of the scenes.
We at the DreadMusicReview loved this film and will be watching it several times in 3D at the theater, along with possible countless re-watches when it comes out on DVD. Do not take our word for it, catch this movie in theaters where all the magnificence can be caught on a bigger than life screen. You will not be disappointed