Spoiler-Free Review, But Important For Families To Read:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an amazing film. Intense, gritty, emotional and . . . scary. It is a film that longtime Star Wars fans will love, as it cleverly fills in some of the backstory to Episode IV: A New Hope.
The new characters are wonderful, with my favorites being heroine Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a blind warrior monk named Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and K-2SO, an Imperial Droid that was reprogrammed by the Rebels. Masterfully voiced by Alan Tudyk, “Kaytoo” provides well-timed comic relief, especially in the third act of the movie, where the tone is dark amidst epic battle scenes.
In keeping with the Star Wars films – especially The Force Awakens -- the creatures in the film are breathtaking. Rogue One is visually stunning to watch. A talented, diverse cast of exciting new characters carries out a very ambitious script, and there is no room to blink or you might miss a key moment. Jyn Erso is the very definition of resilient and courageous. I would choose her to lead any mission any day.
One observation for families – this is not a children’s film for sensitive, younger kids. It has a different feel than The Force Awakens, or, for that matter, all of the previous Star Wars movies. There are no adorable little Ewoks, no childish aliens such as Jar-Jar Binks (thankfully, because he was way too annoying for words).
If you are looking for purpose, action, excitement, and phenomenal battles, this is your film. But if you are thinking of bringing younger children, I suggest you either see it yourself first or read some detailed plot reviews (not included here to avoid spoilers).
Now, many people will point out that the movie is rated PG-13, which makes it clear that young kids shouldn’t attend with parental guidance. However, The Force Awakens was also rated PG-13, and Rogue One is far more intense.
Since Rogue One toys are being heavily marketed to younger kids at retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart, parents may believe that this film -- like The Force Awakens -- would be a great family film for kids of all ages. But after attending the press screening, I must advise families that this movie is darker than you might expect. Darth Vader is positively terrifying in one scene, and I am not certain that my younger two children (ages 6 and 9) are going to be able to watch the whole film.
The movie is fantastic, but be prepared before bringing little ones. And May The Force Be With You.
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