I pronounce Gareth Edwards as the Curse-breaker or Breaker of the Curse of the Prequels. Whichever sounds cool. Well, I wasn’t expecting to be so amazed but Star Wars did it again. I think in the current generation of Star Wars movies, this might be the best i.e. better than the Force Awakens and probably as good as the Empire Strikes Back or maybe better.

DIRECTION – I’d like to personally thank Gareth Edwards for using the definitive scenes properly and not cutting away just when everything is building. Yes, I am talking about Godzilla. I was really worried ever since I heard Gareth Edwards is directing it and all the flashbacks of Godzilla started and I remembered seething with anger while watching it in the theatre. In-spite of all the bad things that has happened in 2016, I can certainly say that 2016 has been the year of redemption in movies from Ryan Reynolds to Ben Affleck and now Gareth Edwards. He managed to keep the whole story grounded and give it the stature of a war-movie. Darth Vader was used appropriately. I mean, if you consider pooping your pants with utter fear as appropriate. I was amazed, because I know what happened before Rogue One and I know what happened after Rogue One, but I still cared for all the characters. My major complaint in TFA was that glossy feeling which J.J. Abrams’ movies have and all that lens flares. I hardly noticed any lens flares. That gave the whole scenario a more realistic feel because this is a very sad story and even though the jokes were kept at a bare minimum there was the over-looming sense of doom through out. Not in a bad way, but in a way that was necessary for the movie.

STORY – This is Star Wars Episode 3.5, perfectly tying up the end of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. I mean perfectly because I haven’t read the comics. I am poor, judge me. In A New Hope we start from the acquiring of the plans and everything begins from there and all throughout the Original Trilogy this act of rebellion is always mentioned and how their sacrifice shouldn’t go in vain. Now after this movie, the gravity of their actions are fully understood. The one major plot-point of the New Hope is always made fun of and that is the major flaw in the plan of the Death Star and why was there such a major flaw in such an awesome machine and blah blah blah. It was never explained how it was there. I hope everyone of those “critics” watch this movie and show up with their over-smart faces now. Yes, that major flaw was kept intentionally by Galen Erso and relayed at the opportune moment so that the Rebellion and Alliance can have a chance at beating the powerful Empire. Thank You, Galen Erso. Ultimately this story isn’t just about tying up the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. It is the sacrifice of a father for a greater cause followed up by the bravery of his daughter to bring about the change and give everybody a fighting chance.

CINEMATOGRAPHY ( and CGI) – I suppose this should be the Gold standard for use of CGI. This movie is CGI heavy but never makes you feel like there is CGI in every scene. Whereas movies nowadays that boast of CGI look so fake. AH! Once again a prequel that broke the curse of CGI. The Starship Destroyers looked so real and the Death Star looked so real. It had the realism that was in the Original Trilogy, without looking like they are made of Lego blocks. The glossy feel was gone and there was a gritty feel. The space wars with the X-wings also felt so real. Eadu felt like the place I’d go after a break-up. Amazing CGI work to bring back Tarkin. The CGI kinda felt off on Leia, kinda, a little bit. The colour grading also added to the realistic feel of the movie. The one definitive, most awesome scene in the entire movie is obviously…….THE DARTH VADER LIGHT-SABER SCENE. The Rebel guards looking into the dark corridor and then you hear the breathing noise and in the darkness a red light-saber lights up. It was pure cinematic gold. The end scene when everything goes up in flames is also just a sight for the eyes.

ACTING – All round, wholesome performance except two. Just let me mention the two negatives because there are a lot of positives to talk about. They are Forrest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera and Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook. Forrest Whitaker didn’t have enough screen-time but over-acted through out. On the other side Riz Ahmed had ample amount of time but he keeps the doing the same thing through out which is fumbling to show urgency or fear and the dude is supposed to be a pilot. To the positives then. Felicity Jones is the shining stardust of this movie. She gives a balanced performance. Diego Luna is the Han Solo of this movie. Every Star Wars movie or TV series has one. I had predicted that Donnie Yen is going to be one awesome butt-kicking rebel. Well he topped that with a very emotional performance a laser shooting cross-bow. Mads Mikkelsen is a good guy in this movie, and quite convincing at it. Throwback performance by Jimmy Smits was good. Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma was very believable. Amazing CGI work on Tarkin, just amazing. Ben Mendelsohn as Krennic showcased through such an intense performance that how vulnerable his character is even though he is in such a strong position. One character which you will certainly think about and smile and that is Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO. Funny, witty and honest with a fighting spirit. Fun cameo by R2-D2 and C3PO. Last night I was watching The Exorcist, the TV series and guess who was also in Star Wars? Father Marcus/ Ben Daniels as General Merrick. I was so surprised to see him there and that too in an X-wing. The actor who portrays Darth Vader doesn’t have much to do because it his lines and actions which elevates the character still one word for Darth Vader –  AWESOME!

FINAL VERDICT – If you are a fan of Star Wars, watch it. If you’re not, watch it all the same. If you are a fan of war movies, watch it. Just watch it. Take your kids to watch it. Introduce them to Star Wars. Star Wars TFA was last year’s Christmas gift (even though I don’t celebrate it after knowing Santa isn’t real) and Rogue One is this year’s Christmas gift. Again, a huge standing ovation to Gareth Edwards. You did a good job, sir. Take a bow.

Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director – Darth Vader