Walk on the dark side
A Force-free fantasy for our times
THE Force is weak in Rogue One, a standalone Star Wars prequel that circles neatly back to the original franchise.
In fact, it’s been all but extinguished. There are no sage Jedi masters.
Hell, there isn’t even a promising apprentice.
The only representative of the once-powerful ancient order is a sightless monk who may well be a complete nutter.
“The Force is with me and I am one with the Force,” he chants when stepping into the crossfire.
Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) is quite literally operating on blind faith.
Releasing almost 40 years after the first film in George Lucas’s game-changing space opera, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an intergalactic fantasy for our times.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, Rogue One is a good deal darker than the colourful ’70s original.
In place of wise elders and spiritual mentors such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda or even the more recent incarnation Maz Kanata, there are grizzled extremists such as Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), toothless Rebel Alliance leaders such as Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and collaborating father figures (Mads Mikkelsen).
The fate of the free universe rests in the hands of the aforementioned monk, an imperial fighter pilot who defects to the Alliance (Riz Ahmend), and Diego Luna’s combat veteran Cassian Andor, who goes forward primarily because there is no going back.
The main attribute of their nominal leader and Rogue One’s rougharound-the-edges heroine is her refusal to give up.
Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is not a particularly graceful warrior, although when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, she gets the job done.