Complete A-Z list

Rogue One/Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (3D and IMAX)


Stars: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelson, Forest Whitaker, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed, Jimmy Smits, Ben Daniels. Voices of Alan Tudyk and James Earl Jones

Director: Gareth Edwards

(The subtitle A Star Wars Story doesn't actually appear on the credits of the film).

Having noted that, this, set in time just before the original Star Wars: A New Hope, may well be the best Star Wars film to date. Full of breathtaking action (sometimes held a little too long), it still finds room for three-dimensional characters that engage our empathy all the way through.

The casting of Jones in the lead seemed a little unorthodox at the time, but the English actress proves the beating heart of the film, as the now grown-up daughter of the scientist (Mikkelson) dragooned by the Empire into completing work on the Death Star, a 'killer of planets'. Jones' is a terrific performance that stoutly holds its own in the midst of a galaxy of special effects. She's every determined inch the action heroine - and she can act.

Her character, Jyn, comes to the attention of the leader (Whitaker) of a small rebel outpost. She's soon forced into the company of Caspian (Luna), who has secret orders to kill her father.

They are swiftly joined by a blind telepathic Samurai warrior (Yen), a dreadlocked maverick warrior (Wen), a pilot defecting from the Empire (Ahmed) and a wonderful new 'droid navigator (Tudyk), who proffers unwanted advice at inconvenient moments, but proves a hero at the end, as our Magnificent Six (and a few doughty followers) fly off in 'Rogue One' to try to find the fatal in-built flaw in Jyn's father's creation that will destroy it.

On the technical side, the producers and effects whizzes also deserve credit for a digitally-recreated Peter Cushing (back a little spookily as Grand Moff Tarkin) and for another central Star Wars character who appears at the very end of this fiercely-paced adventure that never neglects its moments of humour, has no silly sideline characters and should thrill old and young alike.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Colour by deluxe.
133 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 13 Dec 2016