The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Star Wars: Rogue One (4/4/2017)

Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action.

Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk and Forest Whitaker

Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla 2014)

Jonathan's Rating: Worth Buying

Todd's Rating: Worth Buying

Dynamic ImageTODD’S WORD: I am one with this movie, this movie is one with me… I am one with this movie, this movie is one with me.

JONATHAN’S WORD: In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

TODD’S WORD: If you get chills when the theater goes dark and the “Lucasfilm” logo lights up the screen as that familiar music begins to play, then you know exactly how I felt. In fact, as I sat in the theater with my son as the movie began I immediately went back to 1980 sitting in a similar theater with my dad watching Empire Strikes Back. The Star Wars’ films played a huge role in my childhood and I still love them today (well maybe not The Phantom Menace). I love that I can say that I loved Rogue One!

JONATHAN’S WORD: I agree wholeheartedly (and I actually liked The Phantom Menace, even though it did have its problems). The Star Wars franchise has a unique place in my heart. I saw the original Star Wars in the theatre in 1977, then listened to it over and over again on cassette tape (yeah, you heard that correctly- cassette!), and have been excited with each release since.

I agree with most in that I think Episodes 1 through 3 (the ones with Jar Jar) were the weakest. I also differ with many and think that J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens was the best overall (yes, that is blasphemy to some). That being said, I enjoyed Rogue One more than 1-3, as much as 4-6, but not quite as much as The Force Awakens.

TODD’S WORD: I’m also a huge The Force Awakens fan. Hard to beat J.J. Abrams. But that’s a high standard to compare with. I think Rogue One was equally amazing.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Don’t get me wrong, I liked Rogue One. But I think audiences need to know that it’s kind of a “downer.” I liked the movie Glory also, but you don’t walk away feeling good about life.

TODD’S WORD: But it’s a story that needs to be told, nevertheless.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Sure. But that can cut on the “enjoyability” factor for many.

TODD’S WORD: I loved it just the same. Plus, it had the added bonus of setting up the original Star Wars that we all know and loved.

JONATHAN’S WORD: True. I’ve had several friends ask me, “Where does this film fit in the saga of Star Wars films?” The simple answer is “Episode 3.5.” In short, it’s the “prequel” to that first Star Wars that hit the screens in 1977, the one where Luke met R2 and Threepio!

TODD’S WORD: Where Han shot Greedo!

JONATHAN’S WORD: Where Princess Leia had that cool hairdo with the cinnamon rolls on each side! (Funny that never went mainstream in the fashion world.)

TODD’S WORD: We digress.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Rogue One set up Star Wars perfectly. Honestly, I don’t think any film has possibly done it so well other than maybe the 2011 The Thing, which set up the 1982 The Thing so perfectly it tingles your spine.

TODD’S WORD: The Rogue One story is familiar to Star Wars fan. We all knew the plot and even the ending, but the way the film filled in gaps and introduced us to new characters was exceptional.

JONATHAN’S WORD: The characters were very likable.

TODD’S WORD: None more than Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. Besides being strong and brave, she gives us a character with integrity that we can cheer for as well as imitate.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Rare these days.

TODD’S WORD: Cassian Andor is another new character. Like Jyn, Cassian is likeable, strong and worth cheering for.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I guess I would have liked a little more humor. I know the film required a serious tone, but that didn’t prevent earlier films in the franchise from providing plenty of humorous dialogue between characters.

TODD’S WORD: I think the droid K-2SO provided more than a few laughs.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I agree. But he was literally the only one.

TODD’S WORD: Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Îmwe and Wen Jiang’s Baze Malbus were two of my favorite characters.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Me too. They literally made the movie for me.

TODD’S WORD: From battles on the ground to the epic battles in the stars, the action sequences rival my favorite Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Blasphemy!!!

TODD’S WORD: It is without a doubt the most intense Star Wars film to date…and the last 10 minutes is just awesome. I won’t give it away, but I will say I have been waiting for that scene my entire life.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I am not even close to riding the same bandwagon, but I did enjoy the film enough to buy it… but probably only because it so perfectly set up the original Star Wars. If not for that, it was a little slow, and lacked engaging dialogue.

TODD’S WORD: I have to mention a few familiar faces that were so great to see. Of course there is R2-D2 and C-3PO, but we get a good dose of Darth Vader and Governor Tarkin. There is also a quick cameo of Princess Leia.

JONATHAN’S WORD: God rest her soul.

TODD’S WORD: We didn’t need a Rogue One movie, but I for one wanted it and loved every second of it…it’s “Worth Buying!”

JONATHAN’S WORD: Probably a “Rental” for most… but I’ll probably “Buy” it.

There is no sex, nudity or profanity.

There are, however, many combat scenes depicting skirmishes between the Rebel fighters and the Imperial troops, with laser gunfire and explosions peppered throughout the scenes. Despite the number of battle scenes, there is very little portrayal of injury or bloodshed. Many yells, screams, bodies falling or flying through the air.

SPOILERS: Many of the main characters die in the movie’s finale. This can be emotionally upsetting to some viewers, especially younger children. Darth Vader’s epic fight scene is brutal. He may be too scary for the younger viewers.

  1. What is the main theme of Rogue One?

  2. Where do the Rebels find their hope?

  3. Read Jeremiah 29:11

      For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

  4. Where can we find our hope?

  5. Pray about your future to the God who knows your future.

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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