Does ROGUE ONE deliver? Four questions. No spoilers.
Yesterday, I made my way into Dallas to view what could be yet another record-breaking film in the STAR WARS franchise. I was going ROGUE and going it alone, though my husband was seriously trying to figure out a way to maneuver into my handbag.
Security was incredibly tight as a handful of local bloggers and a room of critics munched on buttered popcorn, that is, until the movie started suddenly. Then it seemed no-one wanted to breathe much less be distracted by food and drink, less they miss some crucial piece of information. So began ROGUE ONE, immediately capturing my attention and pulling me in, while I tried to make sure I was keeping up with every name, every fact, every detail.
ROGUE ONE, after all, is a story that takes place in the middle of everything we already know about STAR WARS. The anticipation is high. The risk is great.
Can ROGUE ONE stand alone?
Can movie-goers unfamiliar with the rest of the STAR WARS saga completely enjoy the film?
These were questions my husband and I talked about as screening day approached.
The answer is unequivocally yes.
Disney has succeeded in truly making ROGUE ONE the first and only standalone film in the franchise. You are immediately taken into a new story, learning every detail as you go, leaving no stones unturned until the conclusion is reached. Now you and I, being the STAR WARS fans we are, know exactly what happens next, but to the new fan, this movie stands alone. It’s not a “filler”. It’s a great movie with characters, some flawed, who risk everything for good, to do the right thing.
Being a successful standalone film is important not only to garner new adult fans who may have never sat and watched the films to know the backstories and family history threading throughout, but also to engage an entire new generation of superfans. Many of us watched last December as our children sat in a big theater for the first time and felt the awe of what STAR WARS truly is. A year later, there will be more children old enough to join their parents.
There is no pressure to go back and quickly have the kids catch up with Episodes I, II and III, but by the last scene they’ll be ready to run home and put on Episode IV, A New Hope. You will too. That I can promise.
Does the return of Darth Vader live up to expectations?
ROGUE ONE brings many new characters to the big screen, but fans will relish in those moments when familiar faces are seen.
The only one I’ll mention has been widely publicized – the return of James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader. To me there could be no Darth Vader without him.
Yes, Darth Vader returns, and I’ll admit that as a child I was haunted by his breathing. The question remained. Would I after nearly 40 years, feel the same way when I watched Darth Vader come up on the big screen again?
Anakin Skywalker now Lord Vader. The chills. Yes, the chills.
Is the STAR WARS universe big enough for 2 Female Leads?
It was exciting as 2015 introduced us to a STAR WARS world where the lead character was female. As the mom of a young, strong-willed girl taught to dream big, I was thankful…but to be honest, I was thankful as a grown woman too. Millions of girls fell in love with Rey, not knowing her backstory or even last name. Theories abound but there is no denying Rey’s power as a strong female character.
Enter 2016 and ROGUE ONE. We discover that STAR WARS has yet again created the main character in the film to be female. Would she be everything we need her to be? Could she carry this standalone film?
Meet Jyn Erso. Unlike Rey, we know everything about Jyn. There’s a big and emotional backstory and it is so well thought out. Her story is at the heart of ROGUE ONE. Her story is weaved so clearly that you can’t imagine a STAR WARS universe without her.
Once again they’ve continued to reinforce the fact that girls can do and be anything – tough as nails, smart as a whip and yet selfless when it matters.
Rey, while you still have a story to tell, Jyn’s story will not be forgotten.
Does ROGUE ONE add to the Star Wars universe?
For those of us who have watched from the very beginning, there has always been a piece of the puzzle missing.
Princess Leia gave R2D2 something important. What we wondered was how she got it.
We now know, and on Friday so will you.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY opens in theaters everywhere on December 16, 2016!
Will you be there?
Cast includes Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, and Forest Whitaker.
ROGUE ONE is directed by Gareth Edwards, produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur, and Simon Emanuel, executive produced by John Knoll and Jason McGatlin, and co-produced by John Swartz and Kiri Hart.
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