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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story                   review by Bobby Blakey

It would be an understatement to say that one of the highest anticipated movies of this year would be that of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This is the first time they have stepped out in the big screen releases outside of the main story arcs involving Vader or Luke. Fans have been both excited and leery of what was to come out of it, but the trailers have been keeping the fans high with anticipation. Now the wait is over and it is time to return to a galaxy far, far away to get some of those unanswered questions and witness a pivotal part in the saga we never knew we needed, but does it deliver or will the force not be strong enough this time around?

Rogue One: A Story Wars Story follows Jyn Erso, a Rebellion soldier and criminal, who is about to experience her biggest challenge yet when Mon Mothma sets her out on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. With help from the Rebels, a master swordsman, and non-allied forces, Jyn will be in for something bigger than she thinks. This latest chapter features an excellent cast including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, and Mads Mikkelsen who all knock it out of the park from beginning to end. Director Gareth Edwards has stepped into some big shoes to attempt to bring this type of story to life and shows that he was the right man for the job. This is more than just another rehashed Star Wars story, but instead a gritty war flick that plants itself firmly in the universe as it was meant to be.

Clearly Jones leads the charge and does a great job, but the film makes sure to allow all the characters their moments to shine in their own way. I love them all here but the real standouts came from Alan Tudyk’s K-2S0 and Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe. Tudyk’s droid offers some of the best comical lines and levity to an other wise pretty dark tale keeping it from ever falling too dark. Yen on the other hand offers some of that familiarity that fans will love while being something completely different that we were used to. Sure I am partial to Yen as a major fan of his, but I was so happy to not only see what they did with the character but to see he got a great amount of screen time just like the rest of the cast. Everyone offers an important role to the story including some that are not showcased in the trailers, but are just as important nonetheless.

Seeing the series continue with the practical effects as much as possible makes it feel even closer to the original series while still giving it its own voice. There are some great characters and new planets to explore as well as some familiar ones that will have fans smiling with glee. It comes as no surprise that the visuals are amazing as ever and showcases some great sweeping landscapes as well as some vibrant locales that make the death and destruction of it all so much better to witness. The action pieces are epic and delivers everything you could want and more fully living up to its status as a war epic on a scale not seen in this franchise in my opinion.

There are so many things to say about this film, but you can’t say much without spoiling it and that is just not something that anyone should do. This is a film that needs to be witnessed and all twists and surprises be fully intact for fans to see and there are a ton. I found myself smiling numerous times throughout ear to ear doing everything I could to not shout with excitement. The missing opening crawl is a bit off putting at first, but once you see the whole movie it kind of made more sense to me to keep it off. This may be a big bold statement, but it is one I will firmly stand behind as my opinion, but I think Rogue One stands up right along Empire Strikes Back and then some. I cannot wait to see this one again and see how many things I may have missed as well as not only see Yen in action, but the final few minutes alone that will no doubt have every fan cheering with delight.

This highly anticipated release will not only feature the film which is enough of a reason to grab a copy, but will also include variety of featurettes that take you further behind the making of the film that will no doubt add all the more to this awesome entry into the Star Wars franchise. Join the battle to see how it kick started the most iconic film franchise of all time when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story available now on Digital HD, Disney Movies, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand.

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