SPOILER ALERT - IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ THIS!
Rogue One is a story based between episodes 3 and 4 of the Star Wars movie series. During this time period the first Death Star has been completed and the Rebel Alliance is first made aware of its destructive existence. The main character of the story is Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones) who happens to be the daughter of Galen Erso (played by Mads Mikkelsen) the brains behind the creation of the Death Star. Felicity Jones does a great job as Jyn a never seen before character and word is she might be in future Star Wars roles. Galen attempts to unsuccessfully flee the Empire with the rest of his family years before completion of the Death Star. He is intercepted by Director Orson Krennic (played by Ben Mendelsohn) before completing his escape resulting in the death of his wife and his forced participation in the creation of the planet destroyer but Jyn is able to hide and escape capture. Jyn is then adopted by a rebel extremist leader Saw Gerrera who military trained her until she was much older. Forest Whitaker plays Saw as both in his prime and as older man. Forest put a certain eccentric twist on the character with a Broadwayesque feel. He then later abandoned her in an effort to keep her safe from rising suspicion among his own followers that she was the daughter of her father a known Empire scientist.
After Jyn's time with Saw she was abducted by the rebels in an effort to establish a dialogue with him. Word of a super Empire weapon which can destroy planets had been revealed by an Imperial cargo pilot who defected and had sought out Saw in hopes of destroying it. Saw was always frowned upon by the Rebellion as a military extremist who made it difficult for them to pursue matters with the Empire in a diplomatic fashion. With the creation of the Death Star and the imminent demise of the Rebel Alliance they cast aside their feelings seeking to rekindle an alliance with Saw. Captain Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) along with Jyn and K-2SO (a repreogrammed Imperial droid) is tasked with seeking out Saw on the moon of Jedha and gathering any knowledge from the Imperial defector. Diego Luna plays Cassian and with his partner K-2SO played by the voice of Alan Tudyk almost seem to be Han and Chewie of the movie with a strict code of Rebel duty and honor. K-2SO was also playing a dual role of muscle and comic relief. His robotic abilities getting Jyn and company out of tight spots and his frank humor supposedly a byproduct of his reprogramming keeping the theater audience laughing (definitely a Jar Jar minus the annoying). After arriving on the moon the small team is caught in the middle of a skirmish between Imperial and Saw's forces. Saw's forces win the battle but take the team into custody along with Chirrut Imwe (played by Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (played by Jiang Wen). Chirrut a blind man and strong believer in the force is a master in hand to hand combat. He is partnered with Baze who appears to have made it his duty to look after Chirrut. While held captive by Saw the team and new additions discover the Imperial defector. At the same time Jyn is getting reacquainted with Saw and he reveals the information given to him by the Imperial defector. Jyn then learns of her fathers dealings with the Empire. During this time the Empire is preparing to target the main city on Jedha as a demonstration of the Death Star's potential power. The weapon is unleashed and the city is destroyed along with Saw and his base.
After Jyn and the expanded team narrowly escape their own demise she divulges what she has learned and Cassian then communicates this to Rebel HQ. Cassian is then instructed to terminate Galen Erso at all cost. The team makes route to the Imperial planet where the main tech team in charge of the Death Star is stationed. The team scouts out the Imperial facility and discovers Galen's whereabouts. Cassian about to complete his mission has a change of heart and decides not to assassinate Galen but coincidentally is still deathly injured by a Rebel bombing run on the facility. Galen then dying in Jyn's arms is given critical information regarding the hidden weakness of the Death Star and where she can acquire the plans to exploit them. The team then returns to Rebel HQ where a meeting of high level rebel officials is held and a consensus could not be reached on a plan to deal with the new threat. The Rebels unable to come to an agreement on a response to the threat take no action.
Jyn with her newly acquired team of faithfuls now dubbed Rogue One steal an Imperial cargo plane. They then head for the planet Scarif to infiltrate the Imperial base and retrieve the Death Star plans. While retrieving the plans the team engages in heavy combat with Imperial forces and upon the Empire calling for additional reinforcements the Rebels intercept the same message see this as their last opportunity to strike. Imperial and Rebel fleet forces now also engage in battle around the orbit of the planet in an effort to decide the fate of the shield generator preventing the transmission of the Death Star plans. The combat scenes in the movie definitely combine today special effects with the look and feel of the original Trilogy movies which for a Star Wars fan is pure bliss. The shield is eventually brought down and Jyn and the team ultimately complete their respective missions on the surface of the planet and get the Death Star plans in the hands of Rebel forces before meeting their demise. What would initially be thought as sad death sequences for each of the team members actually turned out to be heroic farewells being each of the characters were able to overcome insurmountable odds to complete their tasks. The Death Star reaching the system destroys the facility in an attempt to thwart the espionage by the rebels but was too late. Having the information the Rebel fleet in orbit attempts to depart but in the midst of ships entering hyperspace are blocked by Darth Vader's Star Destroyer. The Rebel flagship in possession of the plan is disabled and Darth Vader attempts to board the ship and retrieve them. There is a scene during this escape which portrays Darth Vader almost as a horror film monster savagely using the force and his lightsaber to hack and slash through rebel troops. The rebel troops on the flagship though manage to escape with the plans on a smaller Corellian corvette along with Princess Leia and the movie gracefully transitions into the original Trilogy storyline.
We saw the movie in IMAX 3D which I wasn't too overly impressed with but I am curious to see how it would look in Real3D. I am definitely planning to purchase it on BlueRay 3D for my home collection. The movie itself I feel was a great addition to the Star Wars franchise and would also shine as a stand alone film. Rogue One provided much fluidity between the original Trilogy and the Prequels. We are going to give Star War Rogue One 5 out of 5 keyboard slams. Thanks for reading and hope you come back again soon.