Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Jimmy Smits, Alistair Petrie, Genevieve O’Reilly, Ben Daniels, Paul Kasey, Ian McElhinney, Fares Fares, Jonathan Aris, James Earl Jones, Valene Kane, Daniel Mays.
It was always inevitable, always going to happen at some point, perhaps in a galaxy not too far away but someone was always going to produce a prequel to the prequels and do it after all the sequels had been set near enough in Cordite. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the tale that all fans of the space saga has fully deserved, the one big hole that needed not just filling, but doing so with respect, with elegance and style and perhaps even with the odd nod to the Universe at large.
A stand alone film within a franchise, the one motion picture that pulls the two strands of Time together and yanks with the force of an elephant being cannon balled into a dam, the trickling breach of anguish at never quite knowing how certain factions came together, of how the fates would align themselves; this is the very best that any self respecting fan of Star Wars could hope for and then with sugar on top.
Such was the expectation of the film that it quite easily could have flopped, been dismissed as a Disney failure and many might have arguably not worried about it in the slightest, yet somehow and with the very best of intentions, the film makes sense, the heroes are believable, that they even are to be seen as being cared for, the one thing that could have settled any future argument on whether it had delivered; all is O.K. in the Empire.
The point of caring for a character that doesn’t appear again is one that is hard to master, it is human nature to see the one-off appearance as nothing more than cannon fodder, to see them as only a link in the chain and for that nobody can ever blame a cinema audience for expressing or feeling that emotional detachment.
With great performances by Alan Tudyk as K-2S0, Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic and the outstanding Felicity Jones as the glue of the whole franchise Jyn Erso, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has not only grappled with the idea of filling a hole in the story line but it has outshone perhaps even the most optimistic expectations. A film of high intensity, a powder keg that has exploded timely after almost 40 years of waiting; this is no earnest scamp, not a film only made out of mischief, it is loveable and every bit the Star Wars film it had to be.
Ian D. Hall