By Ben Haylett, broadcast director
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opened last weekend to earn $290 million worldwide, and deservedly so as this is a Star Wars movie to rival any of the original trilogy from the 1970s and 80s.
This latest installment in the ongoing Star Wars universe shows long time fans of the series how the Rebel Alliance acquired the secret plans for the Death Star, a plot point pivotal to the story of the first movie from 1977. Along for this action-packed ride are new characters like Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, the daughter of the man responsible for designing the plans for the Death Star, and Cassian Ando, played by Diego Luna, a Rebel pilot who accompanies Jyn on her mission to find her father. Other big name actors such as Forest Whitaker and Alan Tudyk grace the screen with their true to life performances that never waves for a minute.
Special effects have always been a staple of the Star Wars films, and “Rogue One” is no exception. At no point does low quality CGI take the viewer out of the moment of the film, and a mix of practical effect and CGI adds a realistic basis for viewers to conceptualize the vast expanse of the creatures and machines depicted in the film. Most stunning of all was the use of CGI to bring the character of Grand Moff Tarkin, originally played by Peter Cushing, back into the Star Wars universe as a main character, even though Peter Cushing died in 1994. Using extensive facial tracking, the filmmakers modelled an intensely realistic model of Cushing’s face and applied it to his replacement actor’s face to give a true to life performance from a deceased actor. The same technology is used to make Princess Leia look as she did in 1977, but to a lesser degree, as she is in the film much less.
Overall, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is an excellent film and perfect for a movie night out with the family. For old and new fans of the Star Wars movies, this movie is a must see this Christmas season.