Walk on the dark side

A Force-free fan­tasy for our times

Sunday Herald Sun - - Film Reviews -

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.

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