Starry-eyed over Star Wars

"Rogue One" opens to rave reviews

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Photo by TNS

A still from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." (Walt Disney Motion Pictures)

Story by Jay Williamson, sports editor

WARNING: This review contains some spoilers.

The theater-goers anticipate the recognizable yellow letters filing their way up screen to give a brief update on the upcoming adventure one’s about to watch, but they never come. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” breaks from tradition by launching straight into a backstory clip portraying a significant moment in Jyn Erso’s life when she witnesses her mother being killed and her father being recaptured to go back and work for the Empire.

“Rogue One” is set between the third and fourth Star Wars movies and provides a backstory into the events that led up to the Rebel Alliance learning how to destroy the Death Star. However, this movie deviates from the traditional path of the other films. Instead of focusing on a heavy cast of force users and Jedi and a conflict of good and evil, “Rogue One” shows what it would be like to be common rebel soldiers that are much less equipped to face the traditional stormtroopers.

The Story follows Jyn Erso, whose father is one of the lead technicians for the Death Star, a planet-destroying weapon featured heavily in other Star Wars films. Jyn is recruited by a Rebel captain named Cassian Andor, and travels with him to find her old friend and Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera on the planet Jedha. Soon after arriving, the two are involved in conflict with multiple stormtroopers and rebels alike, and they manage to recruit two former Jedi temple guardians and a former Imperial pilot to support their cause.

One of the best parts of this movie was the comedy brought on by the heroes’ droid companion, K-2SO, whose dry humor helps bring light to the bleak situation.

After meeting Saw Gerrera and learning of the Death Star plans, the heroes must quickly escape the planet as it is being destroyed by the Death Star itself. This scene of destruction is one of the best scenes in the whole movie visually, and provides truly thrilling action by the portrayal of the raw power of the most infamous weapon in Star Wars history.

After leaving Jedha, the heroes head to Jyn’s fathers base to try and recruit him, or at least gather more information. However, through a coordinated attack by the rebels to try eliminate the base, Galen Erso–Jyn’s father, still believed to be an Imperial lapdog–dies.

After dealing with this death, the team heads to the Alliance headquarters on Yavin 4 and regroups with the alliance to make a plan to attack Scarif where the plans of Death Star are located. The team doesn’t receive full council support, but do manage to recruit some troops to assist with the unsanctioned mission.

On Scarif the rebels launch an attack to overwhelm and divert the Imperial presence, and the remainder of the rebel fleet eventually joins them in battle. This set of scenes helps to set up the beginning of the fourth movie in the original series, and the battle scene is by far one of the most exciting and heartbreaking parts of “Rogue One”. It is also what I consider a highlight of the Star Wars series itself, as it portrays warfare and sacrifice in ways viewers have never seen before. The short demonstration of power by Darth Vader really helps solidify this movies elite status, as the filmmakers are truly able to bring to life the power and ferocity of this well-known Sith lord.

“Rogue One” was significantly different than the other movies as all the central characters died, which contributes to the realism of the war portrayed in the film. Just because it’s different doesn’t make it any less of a movie. It’s as good if not better than many of the others for it’s different take on the war and portrayal of the different conditions of the life of a rebel. Like many of the other movies, it focused on a team that worked together to save the galaxy, but instead of using lightsabers, they had good old-fashioned wits, cunning and skills with a blaster.