We attended the Irish Premier of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the Savoy Cinema, O’Connell St, Dublin on Wednesday and we were treated to an absolute classic! Crowds started to gather early for one of the most anticipated films of the year. We even had Darth Vader and some of the Empire’s Forces on hand to ensure proceedings went as planned.

Set in a time between Episode III and Episode IV, Rogue One sets out to explain how the Alliance came into possession of the plans for the Death Star. Straight away we are treated to breathtaking scenery we have become accustomed to within the Star Wars franchise.

A new cast led by the magnificent Felicity Jones brings us on an emotional roller-coaster for the entire film. Jones plays the protagonist, Jyn Erso, the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) a scientist blackmailed by the Empire to build the planet-destroying Death-Star. Jyn is recruited by the Rebel Alliance and joins an unlikely group of heroes including Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) & Cirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen).

While this bears the Star Wars name it does feel like a completely different movie. There are dark undertones and the fighting scenes seem more intense than in previous Star Wars titles. This is evident in how the Empire conducts their business in a more evil fashion than in the original series. However, rather surprisingly, this film provides many laughs too with some hilarious dead-pan lines from K-2SO, a Rebel-owned Imperial enforcer droid whose memory is wiped by Andor, who continuously calculates Jyn and Cassian’s chance of survival!

The film flows perfectly from scene to scene and not once are we left in limbo or unsure of what is happening. The directing of Gareth Edwards is on point with throw backs to the original trilogy (Episodes IV,V & VI) in terms of aesthetics, CGI and overall look and feel of the different components in the film: AT-AT’s, Computers, and special effects being just a few.

We are treated to a few unexpected character returns, some with the assistance of incredibly convincing CGI, but don’t worry, we’ll leave you to figure these out when you see it! Someone who was teased on the trailer for this film was Darth Vader and we didn’t have to wait too long to see that mask and hear that distinctive voice. He was used and referenced enough throughout the film to show how important and influential the leader of the Empire’s forces is, while not being too involved so as to take away from the new cast.

What this movie does well, is to make us feel how important and divisive the war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance actually is. This is something which has been somewhat over looked in the other Star Wars films where more attention has been placed on Jedi Knights and The Force. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the war is the raison d’être and it very much feels that way too.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story leads perfectly to the beginning of events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It ties in ideally with Star Wars lore while showing it is deserving of being its own film.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now!

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