Spoiler Alerts Ahead:
So I finally got to see Rogue One today with my son…
What did I think…?
OH MY GOD IT WAS SO AWESOME!!! JYN’S MOTHER GETS KILLED AND JYN HIDES IN A HOLE UNTIL FORREST WHITAKER FINDS HER. THEN SHE’S IN PRISON, BUT GETS BROKEN OUT BY THE REBELLION. THEN THEY GO ON THIS HUNT WHICH THEY DON’T GET THE PROOF THEY NEED, BUT THEN THEY KNOW WHERE TO GET THE PROOF AND THEN THERES FIGHTERS AND STARSHIPS GOING BOOM BOOM AND WE SEE THE BIG WALKER TANKS GOING BLAM BLAM!!! EVERYONE ON THE GROUND IS RUNNING AROUND BLOWING SHIT UP AND YELLING AND IT WAS AWESOME!!!!
Ahem… okay, Nerd/man-gushing over. Let’s get serious.
So Jyn Erso is basically a criminal who was orphaned after her father is taken by the Empire to continue his scientific work… which isn’t described at this point. The man taking him is pretty much the main villain of the movie. Dressed like Admiral Thrawn, he holds the rank of director.
After Jyn’s father is taken by the Empire and her mother is killed, she is raised by a rebel fanatic known as Saw Gerrera… yes, THAT Saw Gerrera:
Jyn is abandoned at 16. She lives a life of crime until she is captured… and then freed by the Rebel Alliance. She is brought before the High Command, including Mon Mothma, whom we all know from Return of the Jedi:
I give a lot of credit to whomever cast this role… they did a pretty damn good job!
Throughout the story, it is revealed that the project being worked on by Jyn’s father is none other than the Death Star. During this, we see a power struggle between the main villain and… Governor Tarkin as portrayed by Peter Cushing!?!?!? WTF????
Actually it’s not the legendary Peter Cushing at all as he passed away of prostate cancer in 1994. Through the magic of CGI his face was recreated… and honestly it was a pretty convincing likeness, unlike other really bad CGI effects… (Looking at you Twilight Baby!)
Long Story short, the father tells Jyn right before he dies that he intentionally built a fatal flaw into the Death Star, that would easily destroy it. A defected pilot, a former Jedi Temple Guard, and several members of the Rebel Alliance disobey orders from their dispersing command council and go attack an imperial records base to get the plans for the Death Star in order to exploit the weakness.
The group is getting gunned down until a… rather impressively large rebel fleet appears and attacks the Imperial Fleet in orbit. The Jyn successfully steals the plans and transmits them to the rebel fleet before killing the director. The Death Star appears on the scene under the command of Governor Tarkin and destroys the base, killing Jyn and the few members of Rogue 1 that are still alive.
In orbit, Darth Vader arrives on the scene in a Star Destroyer and takes out half of the rebel fleet. However the ship that intercepted the Death Star plans downloads them, and hands them off to an officer who makes his way to another ship that’s docked onboard and launches. The ship fleas for Tatooine and the plans are handed to a woman in a white dress who states that they have been given hope… and then we see her. Somehow Disney managed to reverse the aging process and get Carrie Fisher back to her teenage self… Just kidding, its CGI again, but again its impressively done!!!
So her ship takes off into hyperspace, Darth Vader gives chase… and the rest is history…
So… what did I think of this movie? I LOVED IT!!!! The action was great, but the movie did have a few problems…
The action – The movie was non-stop action from start to finish. It literally kept you on the edge of your seat and engaged.
The scenery – From Yavin, to Jedha, to every other planet, everything is fleshed out and awesome.
The effects – As Star Wars fans, it’s almost expected that we all hate CGI, but to be honest, it worked pretty well here. The meshing of practical effects and CGI made it very difficult to tell which was which. The attention to detail in both Tarkin and Leia’s faces is very well done to the point where it is very difficult to tell that they are both CGI.
The story – This was a standard shoot-em-up action adventure which really gave a lot of background into the ‘First Victory’ of the Rebellion.
Homage – Throughout the movie, we get nods to other Star Wars mediums. Forrest Whitaker’s character is from the last Season of the Clone Wars Cartoon, and in the Yavin base, we here the name ‘General Syndulla’ over the intercom.
This is a standalone – The closest this could ever get to a sequel is A New Hope. Truly a rarity in Hollywood these days. We almost never see a single movie go without an open ending. No, this ties everything up neatly to make way for Episode 4.
Besides Jyn… there really isn’t much. Each character get’s a few lines of dialogue to explain their back story and that’s it.
I found the editing to be somewhat rushed and sloppy. You were never really given much time to be immersed in any one scene before you were immediately jump-cut to another.
This is a complaint going back to when we first found out the plot, and its something I never understood… why was this called Rogue One? Rogue One was supposed to deal with the adventures of Wedge Antillies (Canon) of the Rogue Squadron (Also Canon, see Battle of Hoth).
Story-wise, this movie was much closer to the ‘Dark Forces’ video game and storyline and would have been more appropriately titled.
Red Leader and Gold Leader:
Yeah, during the final battle of the movie, stock footage for Red and Gold leader were taken from ‘A New Hope,’ it was updated and really remastered, and put into this movie with new voice-overs to make it look like the same actors were playing the leaders that would later die in the Battle of Yavin… it’s a quaint trick… but it did kind of take me out of the moment, especially since I immediately recognized the footage. It’s a minor quip, but one worth mentioning.
The Title Crawl:
Again, minor, but this is a Star Wars Movie. The format should really have been followed. Again, not a huge deal, but still a bit off-putting not seeing what we all know and love at the beginning.
The Rebel Fleet:
This may seem like another minor quip… but to me it wasn’t… When they said that the Rebel Fleet was on its way, I pictured a few medium transports, 2 squadrons of fighters, one, maybe two Nebulon B Frigates, and an assortment of Corelian Corvettes.
What we got was a massive flagship, hammerhead corvettes that we saw in Star Wars Rebels, a pretty decent number of ships, and THREE squadrons (Blue, Gold, Red).
Okay, as awesome as this was, it really changed the dynamic of Galactic Civil War… in A New Hope, the rebellion is little more than a rag-tag band with only a few squadrons of ships and a small fleet that is constantly on the move… certainly nothing that could take on one, let alone TWO imperial class Star Destroyers. It really gave a more David vs. Goliath feel of desperation… This kind of killed that. Yes, I know that over time the Rebellion gets bigger and adds more ships, but its supposed to be relatively small at this point.
The trailers –
Like what you see? I know I did… too bad half of these scenes AREN’T IN THE MOVIE!!!
Remember the quote ‘This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel!’
Yeah, not in the film.
Nor was a scene that I was dying to have put in context. The part where we see a rather beat up and angry-looking Jyn limping to the end of a platform where a Tie Fighter appears out of nowhere:
That is a TEASE!!!
What I’m on the Fence about:
THE ENTIRE MAIN CAST DIES!!! – I mean on one hand I get why they did this. It is certainly easier and less messy than retconning after the fact like Disney often likes to do. It’s also a pretty bold choice in that, yes the Rebellion won, but the victory is bittersweet. As is the ending of the movie. But still, unless you’re watching an Alamo docudrama or a horror movie, something like this isn’t always expected or welcome… it does kind of suck to see this happen to characters that we were all excited about getting to know and love.
Overall assessment: 3.5 / 5 Stars.
Again, I loved the movie, but it seemed to place an emphasis on action over story. In most cases this is fine, but this is Star Wars we’re talking about. Even so, there was enough story there to satisfy and keep me interested. It’s a fun movie with a lot of really great scenes and plot devices driving it forward. I went in with VERY high expectations even for a Star Wars movie and to not walk away disappointed, is saying a lot! It’s not perfect, but then again almost no movies are!
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