Verdict: The force is intense with this one.
It was the year 1977, when a group of sci-fi enthusiasts lined up outside the theatres with little clue to the legacy that was unfolding. About 22 years later, the same people lined their way to the theatre yet again to see the prequels. Its 2016, and we now got a glimpse of everything that happened between A New Hope and The Phantom Menance. The Star Wars franchise although extensive when it comes to the timeline, has not been expansive with the focus on the Skywalker family (not that we are complaining). That galaxy far far away has a galaxy worth of storylines to be explored and this is one tiny step towards a series, which has potential worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, it is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…" – this crawl text began the 1977 movie and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is about the battle in question. We see Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelson) being re-recruited to finish his construction of Death Star leaving his child Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) on the run.
Once Jyn grows up, she is far away from all the rebellion and the Imperial army choosing to just fight for herself. The rebellion seeks her help to find out more about the Death Star and sends her with Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and Imperial reprogrammed droid K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk). They successfully manage to locate Saw Gerrera (Forest Whittaker) – a Clone War veteran, on Jedha and extract information regarding the location of Galen recruiting a few more people along the way.
From the very beginning, this movie tells you that it's not a part of the series when they do away with the crawl text, which has been a part of all the movies so far. It is the first time the Star Wars franchise has taken a brave step to explore what it was to be in the lower ranks when the Alliance (rebels) and Imperial armies fought their wars. The one question, which left the fans and the cynics baffled has finally been answered and how. Over a span of two and a half hours you see a whole saga unfold, which could have also stretched over three movies. There weren't a lot of lightsabre fights but a couple of nostalgic surprise appearances (thanks to CGI) will surely leave you grinning.
When it comes to the team, they have packed a whole lot of different characters who eventually work out well together. You have the ultimate rebel Jyn (although not a part of the rebellion), a staunch rebel soldier Cassian, K2 that is a droid with a smart mouth akin to R2-D2, a former imperial pilot Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), a blind believer of the force Chirrut Imve (Donnie Yen) and a mercenary and companion of Chirrut called Baze (Jiang Wen). This team works really well with each other with enough wisecracks and quirky quips that leave you thoroughly entertained.
Avid Star Wars fans keep your ears peeled for references, which are subtle. It is a perfect blend of fan fiction and expert storytelling mastered with epic special effects and battle techniques you haven't seen before.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
If you are a Star Wars fan, you should be ashamed to read this and watch the movie already. For the ones who are still skeptical, this story about the galaxy far far away was waiting to be told and it could not have done better than this. Go forth and immerse yourself in this exciting adventure. May the force be with you!