A Brief Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Separate Spoiler-Free and Spoiler Sections)
[THIS IS MOSTLY SPOILER-FREE UNTIL I SAY SPOILERS AHEAD]
The movie many of us have been anticipating has arrived–Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It’s already made a considerable amount at the box office (past 20 million before even the opening day) and people are lining up, waiting. Sure, it won’t make as much as Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, but it’s surely going to still make a dent. In fact, I think some people will like Rogue One more than Force Awakens. Rogue One is many things Force Awakens is not. Rogue One is a gritty war movie, not a character arc like Force Awakens. It doesn’t follow the same story mechanics and motions of the typical episodic Star Wars movies. Some people will love that and some people will just be okay with it. I liked this movie a good deal, but I didn’t emotionally connect as strongly as I did in Force Awakens.
This isn’t about a moisture farmer looking for greater things. This isn’t even about Jyn Erso, the main character whose dad is partly responsible for the Death Star. This is about the Rebellion. This is about the cause. It’s not really just focused on one person (even though there is a main)–this focuses on the desperate beginnings of the Rebel Alliance. The start of the Rebels where it seems more like guerilla tactics and acts of sabotage against the Imperials. Rebels do unthinkable things in order to accomplish their goals. This isn’t the shining Rebel Alliance we know from Episodes IV-VI, this is gritty. They have to do whatever they possibly can to get ahead and prevent the galaxy from being crushed. This is a war movie, not a character arc as I’ll say again (although there are slight character arcs in them as Jyn changes from politically-neutral to a full-fledged Rebel).
It leaves you stunned. It leaves you appreciating the Rebel Alliance and all the sacrifices that were made to bring hope to the galaxy when times were darkest. It was devastating and incredible. In fact, it was also very relevant to the times we are living in now. In one scene in particular on an Empire-controlled moon filled with rebels, I was reminded of what is happening in Syria in the present day. It was overwhelming and emotional to watch because I knew it was happening in real-time in another part of the world. This wasn’t a shiny side of war. However, there was amazing comic relief from Alun Tudyk’s droid character, K2S0, and also great characters you meet along the way.
Overall, Rogue One is a good movie. I may not have personally liked it as much as the other episodic versions of Star Wars, but I still enjoyed being in the galaxy and seeing a very different take. I absolutely want to see it again to absorb more of it as there were plenty of great easter eggs that were so fun to find. It’s a busy movie and I want to understand the characters more and hear each piece of dialog. It was amazing how perfectly they fit the movie in between Episode III and Episode IV–it was uncanny. There is basically no wiggle room between the two–they killed it on that mark. Rogue One is a movie worth seeing at least once, especially if you like war movies!
[POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW]
I just wanted to share my personal opinion of highlights and lowlights of the film:
- Excellent acting: every person got very much into their role and lived and breathed it
- Good writing
- Great comedic effect: K2S0 and the Jedi-like duo had amazing lines that kept you laughing
- So many easter eggs: scenes basically cut from A New Hope like the Death Star firing sequence
- The CG and effect work on battle scenes and especially bringing the old Gold Leader and Red Leader back to life looking exactly like from A New Hope–I was obsessed
- There was this one scene from the perspective of first person on an X-Wing coming from hyperspace: it was surreal and adrenaline-filled (I would see it once more just to experience that again)
- The relationships between the characters had depth and range
- The duo of Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Their lines were great and the comedic effect was necessary and wonderful. They also brought the importance of the Force to the film
- K2S0. Alan Tudyk had a hilarious lovable performance of the droid, I couldn’t get enough of it
- The plot may have been predictable, but it was still executed very well and had you holding your breath until the very end
- It brought more to the Star Wars universe!
- 100% absolutely the fact that Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia were CG’d into the movie. Yes, they put all their blood, sweat, and tears into that and it looked good, but it was obviously not real actors. CG ages so quickly (have you seen the Prequels lately? The CG already looks bad) and if it already doesn’t look quite real, then it’s going to look horrible in seven years. The old films still hold up because it was basically just props and basic effects without a ton of CG. Although Tarkin did a great performance, I felt that they just should’ve had a replacement actor instead.
- The beginning was very choppy: they jumped you from planet to planet, character to character without giving you a breather. It felt so rushed and it didn’t seem necessary.
- They didn’t get Vader’s look right (though they did get the voice right–James Earl Jones back atcha!). It almost looked like he was wearing a Halloween version of his mask. Where was the chain that held his cloak to him? How did they forget these details? His cloak should’ve been pulled over his shoulders more. He just looked weird.
- I didn’t feel as emotionally connected to this movie, but that may be because I like the other style of movie better
The more good Star Wars movies around, the better. As always, stay hungry and fit!