Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

GARETH EDWARDS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.  USA, 2016.  , , , , .  Story by , , Screenplay by , , based on characters created by . Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by , . Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by , , .  Academy Awards 2016North Carolina Film Critics Awards 2016.  

A story that takes place between episodes of Star Wars films sounds like the worst exploitation, the kind of garbage designed to pile up the coffers in George Lucas and Disney’s treasure chests.  The fact that it’s directed by one of the least intelligent of the recent filmmakers dealing in science-fiction doesn’t bode well either, so imagine a viewer’s relief to discover that neither of these negative forebodings cause any trouble in this wonderful adventure. is solid in the lead role as the scrappy daughter to a weapons designer () who is working for the Empire on their Death Star project.  Jones,  and , plus a smart-ass robot who provides the films’ best comedic moments (voiced by ), team up to steal the blueprints for the massive weapon that will eventually help the Rebellion destroy the evil regime’s deadliest weapon in Episode IV.  The high standard of production design and visual effects that we have come to expect from this series is here, along with terrific dialogue, while the only drawbacks are a slightly dull plot (it’s basically one excuse after another to switch locations) and a bit too much emphasis on tragedy (mainly to accommodate the reason why you won’t see many of these characters in the movie that takes place next but was filmed thirty-nine years ago).  Peter Cushing is skillfully recreated in a supporting role; the brief appearance by a digitally recreated Carrie Fisher is less successful.

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