*** (out of four)
DIRECTED BY Gareth Edwards
STARS Felicity Jones, Diego Luna
- Rogue One (Photo: Disney)
Rogue One comes equipped with the subtitle A Star Wars Story, but let it be known that this isn't your father's Star Wars, your mother's Star Wars, or even your own Star Wars. It's a different strain of space opera insofar as it lacks the light touch and breezy action of the previous seven pictures in the franchise (I refuse to count that awful Clone Wars cartoon flick).
That's not necessarily a bad thing. While Rogue One never comes close to matching the heights of the series at its most dazzling (basically, Episodes IV and V, with honorable mention to Episode VII), it's still a worthy addition to the canon, neatly circling back on the story to right before A New Hope opens. It follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) as she's tasked to snatch the plans for the planet-destroyer — the Death Star, of course — that the evil Empire is building. Jyn has a personal stake in the matter — her father (Mads Mikkelsen) had a hand in its creation — and she bands with a steely Rebellion operative (Diego Luna), a blind Force follower with Zatoichi-like skills (Donnie Yen) and other assorted heroes to fulfill a mission that's imperative to the survival of the resistance.
The employment of CGI to bring back younger versions of characters remains extremely creepy and unconvincing (see also Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy and Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War), and there's probably one seat-shaking battle too many. In most other respects, from the addition of engaging new characters to the answering of lingering questions from 39 years ago, Rogue One will keep the faithful satisfied until the next adventure hits the multiplex.