Film review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (12A)

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk).
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk).
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The harsh realities of war - for the warriors on the battleground and those waiting nervously back home - are brought into sharp focus in the first spin-off anthology film from the Star Wars saga, which enriches the history of the universe created by George Lucas, before the arrival of Star Wars Episode VIII next December.

Since Rogue One is a standalone storyline, Gareth Edwards’ film will not opening with the iconic title credits crawl accompanied by a deafening blast of John Williams’ theme music. However, we are promised plenty of teasing references to the Star Wars universe and might there be a fleeting cameo for Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo, who will headline his own spin-off film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, due for release in May 2018? Based on an original script by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, Rogue One unfolds in a galaxy far, far away, shortly before the events of the blockbusting 1977 picture Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. The Galactic Empire begins construction of a new superweapon called the Death Star under the watchful eye of Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) and weapons research director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). If this behemoth becomes fully operational, the Imperial Military will be able to destroy entire planets and crush all resistance to its relentless power-hungry onslaught. The Rebel Alliance launches a decisive response and recruits Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), whose estranged father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is somehow linked to the project. Jyn must steal the design schematics as part of a crack team including Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and an enforcer droid called K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), whose memory has been wiped. Clone Wars veteran Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and skilled assassins Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yu) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) become embroiled in this titanic battle between good and evil, that could determine the fate of the Rebel Alliance.

Out Thursday

Rating: ****

Undated Film Still Handout from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lucasfilm. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lucasfilm. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews.

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