Review|Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

By Simon Donohue

Try as they might, it’s difficult for any modern film to transport you back to the magic of childhood, when even analogue X-Wing fighters streaming past stars painted on a piece of black cloth could set a little boy’s heart fluttering.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes close. Particularly  when it’s seen on the super-sized IMAX screen at the Odeon Trafford Centre, which is how the producers say it was meant to be enjoyed (see below).

Without giving too much away – spoilers are banned at DadsdayoffRogue One has a stand-alone off-shoot storyline set just before the movie which we all remember as the one based around the ultimate destruction of the planet-destroying Deathstar.

So, that’s just after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the original Star Wars film, 1977’s Episode IV: A New Hope. We’ll call it III.5.

In terms of storyline, let’s just say that those all so important Deathstar blueprints had to fall into the hands of the Rebel Alliance somehow.

A little background knowledge helps but don’t get too hung up on running order and relevance. No matter what your age or interest in the Star Wars saga, you can still enjoy it. 
rogueoneIt takes a little faith at first to believe that your’ve going to settle into the storyline, given that everything moves so quickly and you’re introduced to dozens of new characters. It’s worth the effort.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is our all action female hero, and something of a space Lara Croft. She’s proper kick-ass, boldly screaming around the galaxy in search of her estranged father and the kind of righteous outcome we’d expect from a Star Wars romp. 

As I said, no spoilers, but it’s basically good v. evil all over again. 

Everything becomes clear eventually, especially towards the end, when there are a number of cool and familiar Star Wars icons and themes to remind you where this is all heading, and where it all began. 

John Williams didn’t score this film but it’s clear that Michael Giacchini is channeling him, the scenery is mesmerising, fight scenes exhilarating and the extraterrestrials awesome. There’s a new loveable droid in the form of the opinionated K-2SO. All the Star Wars hallmarks are present and correct.

For me, the real star of the show is the technology. It’s a reminder of just how amazing an achievement those first films were for George Lucas back in the days before computer trickery properly took off. And also, how quickly digital effects are making ANYTHING possible. 

Even viewed through the unforgiving lens of 3D IMAX, this is convincing stuff. A word of advice for anyone who doesn’t like heights though: don’t look down!

Whereas we once relied on our imagination, today’s CGI is so incredibly realistic that almost anything is possible on screen – expect a few surprises that will put a wry smile on your face. Go see it! 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is on general release from December 15

Rogue One on IMAX – the science bit…

Experience Rogue One: A Star Wars Story the way it was meant to be seen – in IMAX.

Everything from the movie itself to the theatre design, projection and sound has been customised and enhanced to make you feel like you are part of this epic saga.
Gareth Edwards and the filmmaking team worked together with IMAX to digitally re-master the image and sound of the movie for The IMAX Experience® using its proprietary IMAX® DMR technology to deliver unparalleled crystal-clear images and powerful digital audio.
In an effort to make Rogue One available to as many IMAX fans as possible in as many IMAX theatres as possible, IMAX will be releasing the film in 2D and 3D and across its various cutting-edge projection technologies including its dual xenon digital system, IMAX 15/70mm film and its next-generation laser system.

You can see what other people think here.