Rogue One invokes nostalgia in audience

Troy Pierson, Staff Reporter

Oscar-nominated movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which made its debut in movie theaters worldwide on December 16, 2016, allows for a tale filled to the brim with nostalgia, action and heroism that depicts the precursor to the beloved space drama known as Star Wars. With Gareth Edwards as the director of the movie, this PG-13 science fiction film creates an immense amount of fun, humor and excitement for all audiences.

The plot of the most recent Star Wars tale follows that of actress Felicity Jones’s character Jyn Erso, a female protagonist who sides with the rebel alliance to help steal the plans of the infamous Death Star from the Galactic Empire. Along the way she meets characters both new and old in order to form a motley crew of men, women, droids and aliens brave enough to take on an evil power spanning a galaxy-wide terror amongst the stars.

For those who are not avid consumers of Star Wars news and culture, this story is not a sequel to Lucasfilm’s previous installment of the franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was released in December of 2015. This story is considered an anthology film to the Star Wars universe, taking place between the Episode III movie Revenge of the Sith and the classic Episode IV film A New Hope. This means that audiences will see the classic death star, stormtroopers, T.I.E. fighters and star destroyers from the original movies, all reanimated and displayed onto a better quality.

Although this may seem like a story for the stereotypical Star Wars fanatic, this movie proved to show its independence from its other Star Wars film counterparts, resulting in a unique and enjoyable experience for both the average viewer and Star Wars enthusiast alike. The seamless connection tying in some of the shortcomings of the previous prequel films (Episodes I, II, and III) with the timeline of the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) places Rogue One at the focal point of the Star Wars storyline, especially in regards to character development of faces new and old. Although the story somewhat lacks a clear and coherent reason for viewers to stay closely attached to the main characters, it nevertheless provides a straightforward plotline that is easy to navigate.

A great reason to see this movie is the advancements the movie industry has to offer in relation to computer animation, visual effects, costuming, and sound. The planets and landscapes are stunning on the big screen, with every eye-catching detail popping out in all the right places. The battles and fights are surreal and action-packed, the dogfights between the x-wings and T.I.E.-fighters reminiscent of 1940s-style aerial warfare. Each character, either prominent or background-related, provides a distinct and story-like element, deepening the rich culture and fantasy-oriented aura upon which Star Wars is built. The score is nostalgic as well, taking pieces from the original Star Wars movies and combining them with newer scores to create a blend of music that tailors the storyline well.

A remarkable feat of twenty-first century cinematic technology is especially expressed through one of the side antagonists, Governor Grand Moff Tarkin. Because the original actor Peter Cushing from the original trilogy is now deceased, the partnered animators from Industrial Light and Animation Studios (I.L.M.) used a template of a different actor to make motion-capture effects in order to reanimate the character into a depiction that makes it appear as if the original actor is still alive, walking and talking in the film amongst real-life actors and actresses. The reintroduction of this character into the film was a great touch, as it allowed the story to pose a more complete view of the timeline the movie was set in.

The reintroduction of classic characters also allowed for the revival of the fan-loved Darth Vader, voiced by the original actor of James Earl Jones. Even though this character was not prominent in the film, his mere presence alone was a breathtaking experience that was purely exciting to see on the big screen.

New characters such as the droid K-2S0 (played by American actor Alan Tudyk) or Jedi-praising monk Chirrut Imwe (played by Chinese actor Donnie Yen) incited laughs among audiences, as they posed as great pieces of comical relief in times where the movie started to take a dark turn for the main characters. The introduction of these characters was a perfect addition into the story and plot, which made me more attracted to them as characters as opposed to other characters who should have deserved a little more attention.

Since its release in December, Rogue One has received an 8.1 out of 10 rating on and a 85 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, the film was nominated for two Oscars, both for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects.