The Force Is with “Rogue One”

Grossing over $5 billion worldwide (adjusted for inflation), Star Wars has become a part of the human experience.

Star Wars originally released to massive box office success in 1977.  Since then, it has gone on to spawn three sequels, 3 prequels, and several spin-offs, video games, and books.  Though not all the films have received critical praise, they were all very successful in the box office and Rogue One is on track to do the same. 


Looking at the above graphic shows how the new Star Wars film fits into the current cinematic canon.  “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is set just before the events of the original “Star Wars: A New Hope”.  The “Rogue One” story focuses on a group of rebels who are on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, an imperial star-base that is capable of destroying planetsThe rebels, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) are led by a young woman named Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones).

 John Wilkinson, local artist, sci-fi aficionado, and co-owner of the Beastgrinder YouTube Channel, is moderately excited about the film.  John said, “It’s telling us a story we already know the outcome of because they end up stealing the plans for the Death Star.  But to see the implications of it might be pretty cool.”  He does worry about the film being too full of nostalgia items.  He went on to say that, “If you’re going to tell a story of Rogue One, tell Rogue One.  Don’t shoehorn all these other characters that people are familiar with just because you think people will like it.  Tell a story with new characters.”  Now that the film has been released officially, fans have certainly taken to love what “Rogue One” brings to the table both nostalgia-wise and entertainment-wise.  Reviews are already showing that “Rogue One” is worthy of being in the Star Wars cinematic universe.

 Travis Williams, a professional video editor with the WHLT 22 television station, offered his view on criticism stating that “critics are human and as such will have varying opinions on what they expect from a film.”  He went on to say that he believes “that there are some universal ideas that most critics will look for when critically observing a film.”

 “Star Wars: Rogue One” is a fantastic film.  While providing a solid story in a film that is another prequel, “Rogue One” shows what Disney can create within the Star Wars universe.  The audience is treated to a compelling story that gives us a glimpse at how real the Empire is and provides a window into what made the rebel alliance fight so hard to protect.  Told through rich characters, world building and set ups and pay-offs that ultimately culminate into a visceral re-imagining of the beginnings of “A New Hope”, “Rogue One” is poised, right from the beginning, to create new fans while offering enough for the fans to come back to the series while, at the same time, minimize its pandering to fans and its nostalgia filled callbacks to the golden age of Star Wars.

This film is ripe with edgy, new content that Episode VII was not able to pull off with such ease.  The special effects are phenomenal, with the character driven CGI being exceptionally presented.  Characters are brought to life with a reinvigoration not seen in many films and the technology of today has allowed for some technical feats to maximize immersion in the film.  Composer Michael Giacchino stuns again and breathes life into the soundtrack in a style reminiscent to John Williams.  Noting his work on the recent “Star Trek” reboots, “Speed Racer,” and “The Incredibles” as well as his work with the video game “Medal of Honor”, he is a welcome addition to the film.  The cinematography is epic and each shot is astonishing.  The attention to detail is evident.  The film also takes on a guerilla feel, putting you right into the action, which is contrast to the soap opera feel of the original trilogy and the prequels before it.

The soundtrack is good.  The acting is good.  The pacing and cinematography are good.  This film is good.  This film is brilliant.

In contrast, Mr. Williams stated that “Rogue One” was an “interesting film” and as a fan he left with a “mixed bag” of emotions.  While he felt the film “did a wonderful job of adding to the Star Wars mythos,” he felt the “characters were underwhelming and unforgettable.”

“Rogue One” is a great film and is worth seeing.

by Cornelius Thompson

featured image courtesy of



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