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The Music, Miscues and Visuals of Rogue One

Spoiler Alert

I will talk about a few things in the movie so if you haven’t seen it yet and you don’t want to know any details do not continue to read this.

The Music of Rogue One

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One of the best components of any film is the score. If the score is horrible the movie is horrible. Music makes you feel a certain way about certain things in movies. When I found out John Williams wasn’t doing the score for this movie I was definitely worried. Would the movie sound like Star Wars? And if it did would it even sound good? I happened to be very impressed with the fantastic score Michael Giacchino created.

First of all having someone other than John Williams make the score allowed the movie to feel fresh and new. There were many times in the movie when I found myself saying, “This score is awesome.” Particularly my favorite part was the music for Jedha. I loved how he made the music seem warlike while resembling the sound of Saw Gerrera’s suit. The Imperial theme was fantastic too. It felt like something definitely out of Star Wars but nothing like John Williams would ever make. The theme for Chirrut had an ancient tone that perfectly matched him since he’s supposed to be one of the last Guardians of the Whills. The music for Jyn and Cassian was beautiful and perfectly escalated in a saddening way when their doom became eminent. When the light rushes towards them as they’re embracing on the beach the score gets louder and louder until it stops as the light engulfs them. That was a powerful moment that Michael Giacchino precisely composed.

There were many other smaller pieces of wonderful music placed here and there that enhanced parts of scenes. One of these scenes was when Jyn and Cassian were climbing the data tower to get the plans. The music at that part is so, so good. It has a threatening tone because Director Krennic is walking to the data tower at the same time. This is one of those examples where the music made the scene just that much better.

Overall the score for Rogue One is amazing and definitely worthy of humming.

The Miscues of Rogue One

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As perfect as this movie was there were a few mistakes. First of all if this film is supposed to literally be right before A New Hope then where did all of this new technology come from? Where did all of the Death Troopers and Tie Strikers go? What about the Imperial Tank Soldiers? Are we really supposed to be believe that they all just somehow vanished? And the Imperial droids just like K-2SO? What happened to them? The First Order, which was thirty or so years after Return of the Jedi, didn’t even have that much new technology. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the new stormtroopers and ships. They’re very cool. I just wish they hadn’t introduced so many different Imperial things that we’ll never see in the original trilogy.

The use of the force was a little overkill. A lot of normal people were saying things about the force in this movie. Now nearly everyone who said something about the force had a legitimate reason for saying it. However when the rebel alliance were getting ready to go to Scarif and a random man on the intercom said, “May the force be with you” I was a little annoyed. The force in Star Wars is a pretty big deal. If you start just having anyone say “May the force be with you” it’ll take away the magic from that line and turn it into a kind of joke. Having that man on the intercom say that famous line was just about as bad as if K-2SO said “May the force be with you.”

Another miscue is Bodhi’s death. The way they ended his life was a little lackluster compared to everyone else. Every other main character, including Galen Erso who’s in the movie for a max of maybe four minutes, had a death worth remembering. Bodhi however finishes sending a crucial message to the rebel alliance, a stormtrooper spots him in the ship, throws a grenade, he sees the bomb in front of him, and then boom! It’s a strong contrast compared to Chirrut’s memorable demise before him.

And last but not least we come to Jyn. We are introduced to her locked away in what seems like an Imperial establishment. We then see her a few scenes later being taken to an Imperial labor camp. My question is how did she get there? What was she doing in her life at that time to get captured by the Empire? I was left to use my imagination of why she might be there because the movie never gave me an answer. If Rogue One had been that fragmented it would’ve been an entirely different movie.

The Visuals of Rogue One

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Since the trailers I have known this was going to be a visually stunning movie. And after watching it I was happy to see that it was. The very first thing you see is a ship flying across a ring of a planet. This reminded me of something you would see out of Interstellar. The rest of this movie was full of beautiful cinematography and visually appealing shots. I loved Gareth Edward’s vast vision of this Star Wars film. From the beautiful shots of the vast red plains of Jedha littered with giant rocks and half buried Jedi statues to Jyn atop the tall tower on Scarif with X-Wings and Tie Strikers fighting around the building. Those shots were so cool it stuck in my head, among many other things

One of my favorite parts is when Cassian and Jyn are going through the city on Jedha and the camera sweeps upward to show the massive underbelly of the Star Destroyer parked above the city. That is an amazing shot that really displayed the menace of the Empire at that time in the galaxy.

This is also the first Star Wars movie that really made the Death Star scary. Gareth Edwards did an incredible job showing how terrifying it would be if you saw the planet destroying space station in the sky. One of the many shots that accentuated the menace from the iconic weapon is when the Death Star eclipses the sun and blasts the sacred city on Jedha to oblivion. That was a frighteningly beautiful shot that truly enhanced the movie.

Overall Gareth Edward’s vision was stupendous and I hope he gets to make another Star Wars film.

 

My Review of Rogue One

Spoiler Alert

This post will contain spoilers so if you don’t want to know any details please do not read any further. I hope you enjoy and happy new year!

The New Locations

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I love that this movie showed us six brand new worlds that we’ve never seen before in Star Wars. There was the planet where Galen and his family resided, the Rings of Kafrene, Wobani, an imperial labor camp, Jedha, home to the last Jedi temple, Eadu, and Scarif. Even though it was brief my favorite new location was the trading outpost at the Rings of Kafrene. The concept of a small city placed in between two asteroids is amazing. I hope the next Star Wars has cool, original locations like Rogue One did.

The Return of Grand Moff Tarkin

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Having Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One was brilliant! The CGI used for him wasn’t the best but putting him in the movie was a great move because it cemented this film in the timeline of Star Wars. He was the best surprise of the movie and to me, was the real villain. Krennic was just the angry puppet. This also shows that Disney can bring any character back to the big screen.

The Action in Rogue One

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Death Troopers Ph: Jonathan Olley �Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

This movie was full of intense action that was superb in IMAX. The part where the rebels start fighting the stormtroopers in the city on Jedha is one of the many great action sequences. There were so many fantastically loud explosions and so much commotion it’ll take me a while to see everything that happened at that part. One of my favorite pieces in that sequence is when the walker came through the streets firing at everything in sight. That was really cool! This long action scene also allowed Jyn to show off her very impressive skills. Having Chirrut and Baze finish off that part by having them take down about a dozen stormtroopers was perfect and one of the highlights of the film to me.

The part when the Death Star blows up Jedha is my favorite part of the movie. I’ve always wanted to know just exactly what’s it like for the people on the surface of the planets that get annihilated. The Force Awakens gave a slight hint of how horrifying it is but Rogue One really elaborated on that terrible experience. I love when Bodhi is looking and there’s that giant cloud of huge chunks of rock and dirt coming towards them. When they barely escape and they show the space shot where the fire and dirt is reaching up into space all I could say was “Wow.” That part was jaw dropping in IMAX.

The action on Eadu was okay. I loved when Chirrut turned his stick into a crossbow and shot down that tie fighter. That was awesome. Baze protecting Jyn and Cassian from the droves of stormtroopers emerging from the facility in his perch on the rocks was another amazing part. I think he has the coolest gun that I have ever seen in Star Wars.

The space battle was fantastic. I loved how several times throughout the battle the camera had you in a cockpit flying alongside the other X-Wings. At those moments in IMAX it kind of felt like Star Tours at Disney World except without the moving seats. This was, for me, the best space battle out of all the Star Wars films.

The greatest part of the action on the surface of Scarif was when Chirrut, Baze, and the rebels are busy fighting the stormtroopers and that giant AT-ACT appeared out of the smoke. That was another one of those beautiful shots that enhanced the film because it truly showed how difficult it is to fight against the Empire.

The Unfortunate (and not so unfortunate) Demise of Everyone in Rogue One

pao-main_1588acf7 It’s sad because everyone died in this Star Wars film. K-2SO’s death was one I was not expecting. Before I had watched the movie I had predicted that he would undoubtedly live. A main droid has never gotten killed in a Star Wars movie so why would he? As I watched him riddled with blast holes from the horde of approaching stormtroopers I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness. He’s going to die.” And he did which was horrible.

Chirrut’s death was just as saddening. I really hoped he wouldn’t die because he was so cool. At first when he miraculously reached that switch I was so happy because he made it without getting shot. Then when he got knocked forward by that explosion as he was walking back to the ship I was shocked. At least he got to say goodbye to his best friend Baze but it was still sad.

Bodhi’s death was sudden and not that depressing. I wished they could’ve made his death a little more memorable.

Baze’s death was at least better than Bodhi’s. He shot Death Trooper after Death Trooper while taking blasts of his own. Unfortunately the last trooper he took down still had a ticking grenade in his hand and he became the third person to fall to an explosion. Fourth if you count Galen Erso on Eadu. The writers definitely weren’t trying to get creative with their individual deaths. They just decided to have each of them get blown up.

Director Krennic’s demise was well deserved. I loved when he looked up after getting shot and saw the Death Star in the sky. The weapon’s destruction that he thought was so beautiful was going to be his doom. He got the ultimate karma.

Jyn and Cassian’s death of course is the grimmest. The prequel trilogy tried to tell the love story between Anakin and Padme but thanks to bad acting and a terrible script when everything crumbles for them it’s not even close to sad. The romantic arc between Jyn and Cassian is perfectly written because it never feels forced or unnecessary. When they’re taking that elevator ride down to the beach they both realize like each other a whole lot. Their fate is unfortunately sealed however when the Death Star fires on the base. When they’re hugging each other on the beach and the bright light washes over them it’s a very solemn moment. I really hope the next Star Wars doesn’t have as high a death count.

Darth Vader is Back!

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It’s been decades since the iconic villain has had any substance in the Star Wars saga. In Rogue One he appeared in only three scenes but his impact on the film lived up to his standards. His first appearance in the movie was fantastic. First of all, Darth Vader has a castle? What?! And it’s on Mustafar?! I loved how Rogue One not only tied itself to A New Hope but it also recognized the prequel trilogy by putting his castle on the planet where he met his gruesome fate. The next time I watch Revenge of the Sith the Mustafar scenes will have an entirely new meaning.

I loved when the door opened and you could see Darth Vader’s shadow on the wall behind Director Krennic. That was a beautiful shot because it showed how nervous Krennic was while also displaying the menacing, awesome presence of the Sith Lord. Their conversation was brief but wonderful. When Darth Vader choked Krennic and then said, “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations” I was so excite Darth Vader was back and just as great as he once was.

The last scene with him was incredible! I remember when I watched it the first time I was wondering why the rebels were so scared. Then when out of the darkness came his iconic breath and blood red lightsaber my eyes widened in gleeful horror. I feel so sorry for those rebels. Darth Vader sliced and force choked his way through them like as if they were nothing. At that moment you realize just how frightening it would be to see Darth Vader if you weren’t a Jedi. I remember when I first heard Darth Vader was going to be in this film I was hoping he would have at least one scene where he would terrorize the rebels. Before this scene came I thought that the movie would end without him doing anything truly substantial. I’m so happy I was wrong. This, for me, is the second best scene with Darth Vader of all the Star Wars films. If him telling Luke that he was his father wasn’t so crucial to the Star Wars saga this would hands down be my favorite scene with him. Let’s hope there will be more standalone films in the future with even more Darth Vader in it.

The Conclusion of Rogue One

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And then when you think the movie can’t possibly get any better they throw a Leia bombshell on everybody. Seeing her at the very end of the movie was so fantastic because not only did it connect Rogue One and A New Hope like a puzzle piece but it showed, once again, that they can do so much with CGI these days. This was the perfect way to end the movie.

I give Rogue One a 95 out of 1oo. There are a few flaws but the story and endearing characters were so flawlessly written into this film that it definitely deserves an A. It also, without a doubt, is the best prequel. The cameos and nods to A New Hope never felt forced or unnecessary and only enriched the story of the 1977 film.

For me this is definitely one of the best Star Wars movies ever made. I can’t say it is the best for the reason that the other Star Wars episodes are just that, episodes. Those movies can’t reveal everything in one film. If the original trilogy could somehow be jammed into one movie it would be a very, very good movie full of plot twists.

Rogue One was such a fantastic entry into the Star Wars universe that I’m now super excited to see the Han Solo movie in 2018. If it’s anything like this film it’s going to be very enjoyable.

The Characters of Rogue One

Spoiler Alert

This is my list of the main characters in the new Star Wars movie from my favorite to least favorite. Now, all of the new people are great but some outshine others for various reasons. I will be talking about the characters in the movie so if you don’t want any details please do not read any further. Otherwise I hope you enjoy.

Captain Cassian Andor

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Cassian is hands down my favorite character in Rogue One. The reason why is because he was the most surprising. From the trailers and commercials I thought he was just the regular rebellion officer who was helping Jyn. I had no idea that he was a cold-blooded assassin who did all of the dirty work for the Rebel Alliance. In fact, I didn’t even know the Rebel Alliance was so ruthless behind closed doors. And picking Diego Luna to play him was brilliant. His accent immediately differentiated him from anyone else we’ve seen in Star Wars and his grim, stern expression summed him up within a few seconds without you having to know him for long.

Watching his transition from being the semi-villain to becoming a man with a conscience was to me one of the highlights of the story. And if it weren’t for him Jyn might’ve died at the hands of Director Krennic instead of from the blast of the Death Star. I’ll get to that later. So yes, he is my favorite new addition to Star Wars. Unfortunately he’s in only one movie.

K-2SO

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If Cassian hadn’t been such a surprise K-2SO would’ve definitely been my favorite character. K-2SO is C-3PO if he were cold, very straightforward, and could fight. He has the same humorous personality and literally made me laugh out loud. I mean when he slaps Cassian for speaking when Jyn and Cassian are supposed to be his prisoners I couldn’t help but laugh at the hilariousness of the situation. Or when you first meet him and as Jyn is trying to escape he picks her up, slams her to the ground and says, “You are being rescued.” That is simply hilarious. I could just go on and on about all the funny things he did in the movie but that would take too long. Is he my favorite droid in Star Wars? BB-8 still reigns supreme in my opinion for his extreme cuteness. (Can you call a droid cute?) Yet he is definitely a brilliantly conceptualized droid and will be remembered as one of the best new Star Wars characters. Too bad he also is in only one movie….

Chirrut Imwe

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Donnie Yen (Chirrut Imwe) Behind the ScChirrut Imweenes on set during production. Ph: Footage Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

I remember when I first saw Chirrut in the early trailers. He looked so cool with his stark blue eyes. Then I found out he was blind and my liking for him grew even more. His ability to use the force in the movie is limited but brilliantly used as his source of sight. He can read people better than those who can actually see and his sweet personality makes him instantly lovable. And that fight scene with the stormtroopers on Jedha is epic. Once again he is another character that was so cool. I wish he wasn’t in just one movie. It really is a shame.

Director Orson Krennic

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) Ph: Jonathan Olley �Lucasfilm LFL 2016

He is definitely a fantastic villain in Star Wars. From when I first saw him in the early trailers with that grand white cape I was super excited to see him in the movie. He was definitely a different villain than someone like Tarkin or General Hux. He emitted a sort of posh vibe that was accentuated by that beautiful white cape. And unlike Tarkin and Hux he had a blaster of his own which he used to nearly kill Cassian in the tower on Scarif. He was also very ruthless with his band of Death Troopers always by his side to kill at his command. When he ordered the troopers to kill the assistant scientists instead of Galen who admitted he betrayed him I was shocked. It was a ruthless lesson to teach Galen and one that truly cemented his villainous ways. And his shuttle is pretty awesome.

Jyn Erso

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(Felicity Jones) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Felicity Jones) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

I thought Jyn was a great new heroine in the Star Wars galaxy. Felicity Jones did a fantastic job molding into that character and making us forget who she was. My favorite aspect of Jyn was her toughness. She didn’t need anyone’s help and could take care of herself. Rey is still my favorite female character because she not only was an independent cool character but she ended up becoming a Jedi. Wow! I’m still amazed about that. So yes Jyn is an awesome addition to Star Wars but she still had to get saved at the end instead of taking Director Krennic on by herself unlike Rey who single handedly took down Kylo Ren twice. I definitely give her a thumbs up for killing all those stormtroopers on Jedha like a pro, though. That was pretty cool.

Bodhi Rook

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) Ph: Jonathan Olley �Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

Bodhi was great. He showed up earlier in the movie than I expected. And I liked how he was quick to have an attitude. If played by the wrong actor Bodhi might’ve been slightly annoying but Riz Ahmed played him perfectly. His expression when he first saw Saw Gerrera was one of the highlights of the film to me. And poor, poor Bodhi. I feel sorry for him. That interrogation he endured was horrific. I’m not surprised he nearly lost his mind from that experience. And his signifigance to A New Hope even happening is great because right before he died he was the one who sent the message to the rebels to receive the plans for the Death Star. That makes Bodhi a hero in the movie that I didn’t expect.

Baze Malbus

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(Jiang Wen) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Jiang Wen) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

Baze is yet another great character in Rogue One. His use of his very awesome, huge gun is incredible. One of my favorite parts in the Eadu sequence is when all of those stormtroopers come running out of the building and he just takes them down within seconds from his perch on the rocks. You can tell he is a hardened veteran who has been fighting the Empire for a long while.

Saw Gerrera

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) Ph: Giles Keyte ©Lucasfilm 2016 LTD.

 

Saw was another surprise in the movie. He emitted a slightly frightening presence with his hoarse voice, Darth Vaderish suit, and his brutal tactics. You can tell that the years and years of war had driven him slightly mad. The only time you can see who he used to be was when Jyn came to see him. He died much earlier in the movie than I thought but his significance to the movie with him relaying Galen Erso’s message to Jyn was crucial to the development of the story.

So this is my list. I really wish Cassian and Chirrut hadn’t died because they were so cool. I would love to see them in other movies. I am glad that these characters are now part of the Star Wars universe whether they are in one movie or not. And let’s hope in future Star Wars movies there will be even cooler characters that don’t last for only one movie.

 

Why Rogue One Is a Fantastic Movie

What To Expect From Rogue One

First and foremost, this is my favorite Star Wars movie to date. I watched it twice in two days and both times I found nothing wrong with this movie. It’s rare to come across a movie that is very, very close to perfect but this was one of those films. Let me elaborate a little bit further without any spoilers for anyone who’s reading this who hasn’t watched the movie yet.

As soon as the iconic words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” disappear you immediately know this is not your average Star Wars film. Once again, this is spoiler free so I won’t tell you why but the very first second of the movie is entirely different. If you’ve seen the trailers you’ve seen when Jyn Erso’s a little girl and Director Orson Krennic comes for her father, Galen Erso alongside his troupe of menacing Death Troopers. This is the prologue of the movie and immediately sets the intense tone of the film. When you come to the end of the prologue the words Rogue One appear with the classic Star Wars music which is modified slightly and then the story begins.

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Within the first fifteen minutes you are introduced to Jyn Erso as an adult, Captain Cassian Andor who for me was the best surprise of the movie, and the wonderful new droid K-2SO. Their introductions perfectly illustrate who their characters are without having to inform you too deeply into their back stories.

At the rebel base Cassian and Jyn are given a mission to go to Jedha, a planet where one of the earliest Jedi temples resides. I won’t tell you what the mission is of course but it’s definitely compelling to watch.

Within the next fourty five minutes you are taken on a wild ride that just doesn’t stop. You are introduced to the other characters Bodhi Rook, Chirrut Imwe, Baze Malbus, and Saw Gerrera in perfect fashion. The way they end up a team is one of the most flawless forming of a group I have ever seen. Before the movie I had never known these characters but the writers perfectly conveyed who they were within minutes.

You’d think after the movie’s first half they would give you a slight break and allow you to reset but they don’t. The movie only grows more intense until by the end when the credits start rolling you feel like you’ve experienced a Star Wars movie unlike any other.

This film definitely is a Star Wars Story, for the tempo is much more urgent than the Star Wars episodes because everything concludes in one movie. Michael Giacchino composes the movie so beautifully that I never found myself wishing John Williams had composed it. His take on the Galaxy we all know and love was astounding and definitely one of the highlights of the film. It also, unlike the prequels, perfectly integrated into A New Hope like a puzzle piece. The cameos and nods to the 1977 film were precise without feeling overdone or forced. We were told that this would be a gritty war film and yes, it had that feeling. This is hands down the most violent of all the Star Wars films I’ve ever seen. They really pushed the boundaries of what we’ve all come to know as Star Wars.

And then there was Darth Vader. He only has a few scenes but his role in Rogue One was beyond perfect. The way they brought him back to the movie was something I have always wanted to witness. His menace is felt straight through the movie screen and they truly brought back the reason why Darth Vader was so loved and feared in the original trilogy.

The Force Awakens was an amazing movie but at the end of the day it took a lot of direction from A New Hope. This was an entirely new film that we have never seen before and even though we know what happens at the end it was such a perfectly written movie I was still being surprised with every turn. And the most incredible feat of all, A New Hope, which was definitely one of the most boring Star Wars movies is now actually good. When I see the words in the opening crawl of the 1977 film it makes so much more sense because I now know who the “rebel spies” are. A movie that can enhance another movie is a pretty great film.

If you haven’t seen this wonderful movie yet please do. You will not be disappointed. And please watch it in IMAX. The increased price for the tickets are well worth it, for this is definitely one of the loudest movies I have ever watched. And the grand scale of the movie and planets is definitely worth seeing in IMAX.

I hope you enjoyed this review and if you want to see my complete review full of spoilers I’ll be doing that next.

My Experience With Rogue One

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I was walking up to the doors of the movie theater ready to get the tickets for Rogue One when from a distance I could see the unmistakable tall figure of none other than Chewbacca. I immediately had to take a picture with the beloved character alongside of course, my sister. This was already making my Star Wars experience one to remember. Inside of the busy movie theater lobby there was also Kylo Ren with his glowing red lightsaber and Boba Fett with his rusted clothes and ragged cloak. I totally got excited when I saw Kylo Ren with his silver lined mask and dark robe. It was an amazing experience.star-wars-1

Once we got our food we went into the IMAX theater and the place was already packed even though First Look had just come on. We eventually found our seats at the bottom which was definitely a different experience, for I’m used to sitting at the top. All the seats had been sold, a sign of how excited the people were to see this movie. The trailers before Rogue One even came on were spectacular already setting the tone of the movie I was about to see. Then the IMAX ten second countdown started and I grew excited to watch the film I had been waiting to see for a year since The Force Awakens. When Lucasfilm appeared on the giant screen and I read the famous words, A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I knew there was no turning back. It was time to see if Rogue One was going to be as good as it seemed. And it was.

Rogue One took me on a two hour and three minute ride I will never forget. It made me laugh, gasp, shake my head with wonder, grow teary eyed, and completely thank George Lucas for selling LucasFilm to Disney. When I left that movie theater I knew that this was going to be a night I would always treasure.

My next post will be a spoiler free review about Rogue One. If you want to know what to expect then you should definitely read it. And as always from a Star Wars fan to another May the force be with you.