So, the latest installment in the ongoing Star Wars movie franchise opened last night at 5 minutes past midnight and I had the privilege of attending the Banbridge showing on behalf of the Emerald Garrison. The film is already critically outscoring other recent releases like Fantastic Beasts and Passengers but when you watch Rogue One for yourself you will see exactly why! 



Over a year ago when I first heard about the ‘Disney Star Wars takeover’, I was very unsure about how it would pan out. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I am very well versed on all the intricate nerderies of the series and I will wear that badge proudly and as such a fan, I was understandably worried at what would happen after such a large international company would start pulling its weight down on the series.


These fears were damped however with last years release of The Force Awakens, because although it lacked some of the depth of previous Star Wars films, I felt like the tone it struck was the right kind of ‘We’re back, baby‘ that the series needed to re-establish itself after such a long gap (movie wise anyway, the TV series and novelizations are a story for another review).


Many dedicated Star Wars fans disagree with me because they look back on the original trilogy of films with rose tinted glasses, viewing last years film with a great deal of Resistance (pardon the pun) because of all its new characters, locations and plot points despite bringing back a lot of classic elements from the older films. It seems that Disney noticed this potential rift in the Star Wars fan base however, even before it happened, because this is where Rogue One comes in.


As stated at the beginning, this is a spoiler free review and I shall be sticking to that very strictly even though it makes it very difficult to chat about some very important things from the movie.


After much deliberation, the best way I can think to phrase this without any sort of spoilers is to say that while Rogue One brings in a lot of recognizable elements from the original trilogy such as many of the classic vehicles, characters and costumes, as well as regular nods and throwbacks to past plot points meaning that it appeals to fans who wanted to see something more familiar than what they saw in The Force Awakens, it is NOT, pandering in ANY way, which in all honesty was my biggest fear for the film.


Put simply, Rogue One is fantastic and I could gush about it for days. The pacing of the film is perfect because it switches between intense action sequences and slower, more dramatic set pieces that come together to make this not just the best Star Wars movie ever made, but in my opinion one of the best films I have seen in a long, long time.


Now I hope you will excuse that this review is a tad long, but I have something else to discuss as well as the film itself and that is the opening night banter that surrounded the movies release! As I mentioned at the start of this review, I attended the opening night on behalf of the Emerald Garrison, and I know that about half of you were wondering what that even was, while the other half are now scrolling up to see if I did actually say it. The Emerald Garrison is a costuming/charity group formed in 2007 to raise money and awareness for various charities throughout the island of Ireland and brings joy to children across the island by dressing up as their favorite Film and TV characters.


Last night the Emerald Garrison (as well as the 501st Ireland Garrison which is a similar club) attended opening night screenings of the film across the country to add some Star Wars atmosphere to the night and help get the crowd hyped up to see the film. I was there in my TIE pilot costume (i’m the one with the red stripes) and had mad craic, as seen below.



”Would you like sweet or salted popcorn sir?”


As I write this review now I realize how weird it feels for these two parts of my life to come together like this. I’m writing a film review… but chatting about dressing up?? Ah well, it fills the space that I wanted to fill with spoilers.  😛


It is so rare these days to find a movie plot that actually moves along at the right pace, and while some accuse Rogue One of a clunky start, I disagree and say that its story progression is first rate because it builds so perfectly into a rising crescendo ultimately ending with one of the most heart stopping climaxes I have ever witnessed.

Even if you are not a fan of Star Wars, and don’t have any of the story knowledge from previous films, you can still enjoy this for what it is, a no holds barred war movie that throws morals into the wind, with stunning visuals and special effects that top almost everything produced in the last decade.

With that, I shall end this review, because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay away from the Dark side and just launch into a full spoiler filled gush about this!

May the force be with you all! 😉


Many thanks go to the staff at Banbridge Omniplex for inviting us along to the opening and for your hospitality.

Photo credit for these two images also goes to Banbridge Omniplex.

Chris Hastings

Chris Hastings

Chris, a Microbiology student, sci-fi writer and self-proclaimed nerd.
Chris Hastings

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