Movie Review
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
Release Date: December 16, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action)

There is something very cool about “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and that is that while it ties-in nicely to the Star Wars storyline and mythology, it also holds its own as a stand-alone film.  That’s saying a lot about any component of such a popular cinematic franchise.

Let me be clear: it certainly is helpful to have some knowledge of the Star Wars saga before getting comfortable at the theatre for this one.  Those familiar with its lineage and characters do have an advantage.  But even if “Rogue One” is a filmgoer’s first foray into this fascinating world, it nicely tees-up those films in the franchise previously released.

The plot of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” centers on the construction of the Death Star and efforts by a group of the Rebel Alliance to retrieve its plans.  It is a terrific lead-in to the 1977 release “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.”

Director Gareth Edwards ably unfolds an interesting story, and Felicity Jones as the protagonist, Jyn Erso, adds freshness as this new character is introduced. 

Along the way, we are also reunited with well-known and key characters, from the evil Darth Vader (voiced again by James Earl Jones), to the unique, but controversial, use of computer generated imagery to bring back Grand Moff Tarkin (despite the death of actor Peter Cushing in 1994) and another character who I will not reveal for fear of spoiling it for those yet to see the film.  The use of CGI for these characters is hit and miss, as in some frames it seems like we’re watching a Star Wars video game.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is very well done, and bodes well for the future of the franchise. 

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