A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….
Whether you are a fan or a first time watcher, we have all heard this line which makes one bound enter the sci-fi realm. Being a first time Star Wars movie watcher, I was a bit sceptical if I would be able to follow the plot line. Though Star Wars: Rogue One chronologically set between Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005) and Star Wars: A New Hope (1977); Rogue One being the first stand-alone film in the Star Wars anthology series, it’s safe to say that a newbie will enjoy the film as much as a fan.
The basic storyline is how a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans of the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.
The movie starts off by showcasing how Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) – a weapons designer manages to help his daughter Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) aka Stardust escape before the Imperial Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) catches hold of her. Erso is recruited to complete the design of the Death Star, a space station which has the power to destroy the entire planet. Jyn on the other hand grows up to become a rogue rebel – who doesn’t believe in ‘the force’ or holds any political opinions – gets captivated by the Imperial forces.
She is freed by the Rebel Alliance in the intention to use her in finding Erso to stop him from building this lethal weapon. Sent to the planet Jedha with Rebel Officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), from there the real mission begins: to fight against the Empire.
Star Wars is known for its gripping storyline and the same can be said for this anthology. The plot moves in a choreographed manner with one event following another. The movie has its own charm as it is packed with witty lines along with intense fighting sequences.
With every actor delivering their best, what stood out was the to-and-fro between the Rebel-owned Imperial enforcer droid, K-2SO and Jyn Erso which makes one crackle whereas the subtle chemistry between Jyn and Cassian Andor is charming. Chirrut Îmwe’s (Donnie Yen) chant, “I am with the force, the force is with me” makes one actually believe that there is some mystical powerful force in the galaxy. Grand Moff Tarkin with his cunning act is the villain to look for.
As for the visual effects, one couldn’t have asked for a better VFX supervisor than John Knoll. The galactic universe backgrounds, planets and various aliens are well-created. Many characters have been digitally manipulated like Grand Moff Tarkin portrayed by Guy Henry, whose face is digitally manipulated to resemble Peter Cushing, who originally played the role in 1977 whereas Ingvild Deila face resembles Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.
The various VFX houses who have worked on this film are Industrial Light & Magic (VFX supervisors: John Knoll, Nigel Sumner, Mohen Leo and Dave Dally), Hybride (VFX supervisor: Joseph Kasparian), Atomic Fiction, Ghost VFX, Blind Ltd (CG supervisor: Andrew Booth), Jellyfish Pictures (VFX supervisor: Jonathan Cheetham, ScanlineVFX, Deluxe.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, Star Wars: Rogue One is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It releases today, 16 December 2016.
Verdict: The film is a visual delight with intense storyline and is a definite watch not just for Star Wars lovers but also sci-fi movie fans.