You don’t have to be a Star Wars geek to appreciate Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
, but it certainly helps. Set, of course, in a galaxy far, far away, the film takes place prior to the events of the original Star Wars
Packed with action, the movie, which comes to select theaters on Thursday night before officially opening on Friday, will undoubtedly appeal to super fans. But it's not so specific that the casual fan will be confused.
As much as the film might seem like a footnote to the sci-fi saga, it features compelling drama, stellar special effects and a terrific cast anchored by English actress Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything
The movie centers on feisty Jyn Erso (Jones), a free spirit who joins the Rebel Alliance so that she can steal the design schematics of the Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star, and potentially save helpless planets from annihilation. Star Wars geeks (and maybe even the casual fan) will recall that those design schematics enabled the Rebel Alliance to find the Death Star’s weakness and blow the thing up.
This film tells the story of the trouble that Alliance fighters went through to get those plans.
When we first meet Jyn, she’s forced to flee when Stormtroopers essentially kidnap her father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) and then kill her mother (Vlene Kane) after finding the remote planet where her father, a scientific genius, has hidden and taken up farming. Jyn hides in a hole in the ground where Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) finds her and then raises her as if she’s his own child.
Flash forward a few years and Jyn has grown up but lost touch with both her father and Saw. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a Rebel Alliance Intelligence officer, tracks her down after her father, who has successfully built the Death Star, informs the Rebel Alliance that he’s purposefully made the Death Star vulnerable. All the Alliance needs to do is break into a heavily fortified security center and steal the schematics. That’s easier said than done.
Cassian and Jyn assemble a ragtag group of fighters and hijack a Galactic Empire ship that takes them into enemy territory. Helped by the lanky K2-SO (Alan Tudyk), a former Imperial drone who has been reprogrammed to help the Alliance, they land on the planet and begin fighting Imperial forces to make their way to the fortress where the plans are kept. Finding a way to transmit the plans to Rebel Alliance leaders becomes the crux of the battle.
Though only a few of the more familiar Star Wars characters make appearances in Rogue One
, don’t hold that against the movie. The script stays consistent with the original plot, connecting characters such as CP30, R2D2, Darth Vader and Princess Leia to the Star Wars storyline. The film also capably introduces a terrific set of new characters; even minor ones such as K2-SO, who can’t help but say what he thinks no matter how inappropriate it might be, shine.
Ultimately, the film provides a great deal of suspense and drama, no easy task considering that the outcome is a given.