Rogue One review: A movie for the fans
An enjoyable adventure, but predictable
Being a prequel to the original trilogy and yet a sequel for the prequel trilogy, Rogue One was always going to be a risky move, as the whole premise, the rebels getting the plans for the Death Star, was already known and seeing as how none of the principal characters were in the Original Trilogy, it was a safe bet that the characters were going to die at the end of the movie.
Primarily, this was a movie for the fans of Star Wars, rather than the casual moviegoer (not that there wasn’t plenty of stuff for them). Directed by Gareth Edwards, Godzilla, a die hard Star Wars fan, this was always going to be jammed full of Easter Eggs and a risky venture, one which I feel was pulled off well.
Foregoing the usual opening text crawl, the movie straight away introduces us to Mads Mikkelsen’s character Galen Erso on a farm in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. He has a nice enough house, complete with blue milk, and a wife and daughter. Enter Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Krennic, the movies main antagonist. From the very start Mendelsohn revels in the character, playing the role with a glee that hasn’t been seen in a Star Wars movie since Ian McDiarmid’s last turn as Emperor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith. Forest Whitaker brings gravitas to his, albeit relatively brief, turn as Saw Guerrera, a character first seen in the Clone Wars TV Show. With most of the dramatic heavy lifting done by Felicity Jones, playing Jyn Erso, and Ben Mendelsohn, this allowed the other characters and the actors playing them to have fun in their roles, noticeably Alan Tudyk as the reprogrammed Imperial Droid K-2SO (described by Tudyk as the “anti-C3PO) who steals just about every scene he was in, even managing to say the famous Star Wars line “I have a bad feeling about this”.
One character from the original Star Wars movie A New Hope that was in the movie was Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin, who was in the film despite Cushing having died in 1994. The Hammer Horror icon was brought back, with permission from his estate (and no doubt a noticeable paycheck), through Industrial Light and Magic’s pioneering work using overlaying images digitally created from Cushing’s likeness. To play the part on set they hired British actor Guy Henry, who played Pius Thicknesse in the last two Harry Potter movies, due to his frame and build being similar to Cushing’s. When it came time to “add” Cushing into the scene Oscar Winning VFX wizard John Knoll, who created Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, took inspiration from Fast and Furious 7, where they had to digitally recreate Paul Walker’s face following his unfortunate accident. The end product is remarkable and if I hadn’t known that Cushing had died over 20 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been any the wiser. This remarkable work surely must be a shoo in for a Visual Effects Oscar.
CGI Peter Cushing (left) vs Real Peter Cushing (right).
The other character from the A New Hope that appears is Darth Vader, although this was already shown in the trailer. Seeing as how anyone tall enough can play the role (I could do it!) as long as James Earl Jones voices the character.
Overall, the film managed to exist between the Prequel and Original trilogies and took inspiration from both, without feeling cliched and dull. Some parts dragged on a bit but new set pieces and beautifully designed planets were just around the corner.
By Jacob Livingstone
Posted by studentblog1 on 18 December 2016