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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Openers

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Openers

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4/5 Imperial Weapon Developers

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Star Wars 7, "The Force Awakens"? Star Wars 3.75, the force is alive and mature...

I'm a firm believer in quarter increments, so forgive my insistence that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story be referred, chronologically in the Star Wars franchise, to as Star Wars 3.75.

The story of Rogue One takes place right before Episode IV: A New Hope, the first of the original trilogy. It opens up with Galen Erso, played by Mads Mikkelsen, being threatened by everyone's favorite dictatorship, the Empire. He was once an imperial weapons engineer, had a change of heart and then fled to raise a family. The Empire attempts to kill Galen's family in order to threaten him to return to his service, but they fail to kill his only child, Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. She flees, is rescued and then raised by Saw Gerrera, played by my man Forest Whitaker (He should win an Oscar for 2016 Character Actor of the Year for his work in Arrival & Rogue One). She eventually parts ways with Saw, after growing into an adult, and is imprisoned by (guess who) the Empire. She is rescued by the rebels, including Cassian Andor & K-2S0 (played by Diego Luna & Alan Tudyk, respectively), and they offer to give her freedom in exchange for her help in stealing data from the Empire. Wait a second, is Jyn Erso a Russian hacker...??!!

After Episode VII: The Force Awakens, it seems many Star Wars fans are leery of subsequent films having too much fan-service. Along this line, I found Rouge One very refreshing with its(mostly) original story coupled with newly created characters for the Star Wars franchise; it is exactly what the doctor ordered. Sure, this is leading up to New Hope so there's going to be some reiteration and fan-service but it didn't feel over the top. All of it was in service of the story. Why are we quibbling over fan-service anyways? Nerds love recognizing references in their movies. The more obscure the reference and the less nerds that recognize it, the more nerds win at nerding. In fact, being a standalone film (this is not constructed to be a part of a trilogy of movies ((there's no Rogue 2 & 3 coming up)) almost frees the viewer from their nerd-duties of weighing Rogue One against the rest of the movies. BE FREE NERDS!

My main quibble with Rogue One is midway through, the movie sacrifices character development and goes all-in to action (much like how Mads Mikkelsen went all-in against James Bond). With that sacrifice we don't really understand the motives all the awesome side characters, like Ip Man Donnie Yen, has for going along with the reckless plans of the main characters, Jyn & Cassian. But, being a Star Wars nerd, the inter-galactic fight scenes & Darth Vader sabberings were both so nostalgic & epic in their modern graphics setting, that I didn't cry too much for the loss of character development. Overall Rogue One gets a 4/5 Imperial Weapon Developers from me and, at this point in my book, goes down as the 3rd best Star Wars movie.


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