3 1/2 stars
I quite enjoyed this new Star Wars flick which is in fact an immediate prequel to the original 1978 movie (Episode 4 for the geeks). If you recall, at the beginning of that movie, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) has secret information about the Empire’s Death Star weapon that she gives to R2D2 so he can relay it to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness). This movie tells the story of the Rebels who risked their lives to obtain that secret information.
What I liked about this movie is that they manage to introduce us to a whole squad of new characters in a way that is clear and convincing. They all seem to fit well into the Star Wars universe that you already know. The cast is diverse with Latino actor Diego Luna as a rebel captain and spy, South Asian British actor Riz Ahmed as a defecting pilot and Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen as a bo staff wielding blind Jedi monk. The ubiquitous Felicity Jones does a fine job as the film’s heroine, daughter of the conflicted architect of the Death Star.
On the down side, by my count this is now 4 out of 8 Star Wars films that have had the exact same plot, i.e. We Must Destroy the Death Star. If Disney hopes to continue this franchise in perpetuity they’re going to have to come up with some new stories.