Star Wars Rogue One Review Before and After
Tonight is the night. It’s the night wherein Star Wars is either setup for years of success and glory or ignominy. I haven’t yet seen the movie, but I figured, before the movie started I would capture some thoughts and ideas as to what my hopes are for this movie. To put this all in scale and scope I’m a big Star Wars fan. I hate Star Trek, and adore all things Star Wars. Normally, I sit in line for a full day (defined as 24, 30, 36 hours) in order to get tickets. And then I stand in line for 8 to 12 hours just to get a good seat.
But now? Now? With technology, I bought tickets while in bed. And got seats weeks in advance. So instead of standing in line for hours upon hours (which, I have to admit am sorely missing… free pizzas from the local radio station… interviews with the local TV station… games of scrabble on top of a pile of 20 pizzas we couldn’t eat… crazy stupid star wars games… meeting crazy awesome people I would never talk to in real life) I will be hanging out with a pile of friends at a pub trying to drink away my guilt for not having to stand in the cold.
So expectations? Let me list a few:
LAUGHS – I expect the new droid K-2S0 to be funny. I also expect the writing to be crisp and wry. Sorkin funny and quick on the delivery. (I could be setting the movie up for failure I’m thinking.)
Technocolor Glory – I have done a ton of reading about how ILM recreated the death star. Get this… the original 3 foot model for the Death Star was put into storage after the shooting was done. And, someone forgot to pay the bill, and it was bought by a guy who started the Star Wars museum. But come to find out ILM couldn’t get access to it, so 4 guys spent over five months building a CG version of the death star using a couple of key negative frames from the original print as reference. So yeah, I expect ILM to knock it out of the park and when an Oscar in special effects.
Clever New Weapons – Have you guys seen the Kylo Ren video of him watching the Rogue One Trailer? Greatness right there. Watch it. In that he laughed about the surface to air missiles being fired into the face of the AT-AT. I’m sure we won’t have light sabers, because this story isn’t about Jedis. But i still want to see up close and personal some new technology like we saw in the battle for Hoth.
Continuity Plot Holes Filled – there are so many gaping holes from A New Hope that need to be filled and Rogue One is the perfect film to fill them. For example, why would someone build a DEATHSTAR that had a massive gaping security hole that allowed a pipsqueak with a tie-fighter blow it up? Also, I want to see the Rogue One group hand off the plans to the death star to Princess Leia… and for the win… I want to see Princess Leia insert the plans into R2-D2. Right?
Family Connections – One of the great things about Star Wars is that it is all about the Knights of the Round Table. And if you’ve read anything about King Arthur, and Lancelot and Guinevere and Morgan Le Fay, you know that it was possibly the most incestuous story of all time. Morgan tricks Arthur to sleep with her by making him think she was Guinevere, and Guinevere sleeps with Lancelot. And Guinevere’s and Lancelot’s kids somehow end up being Arthur’s downfall … right? Wasn’t one of them the Black Knight? And he was the one that killed Arthur? At least in one of the versions?
Regardless, the beauty of Star Wars is that the family connections are small. It’s a small kingdom and a small family with connections throughout Europe, I mean, throughout the galaxy. Right? It’s all about the connections. And the lineage. And the blessed line. No? So in this movie, I expect to learn more about the family that created the Death Star, and about the heritage there that will eventually interweave into the main story families.
A Good time – Mainly I just expect a good time while seeing some of my favorite characters inhabit one of my favorite stories of all time.
So with that, I’ll publish this story like this, and get back to this tomorrow. And I’ll have a chat with myself via time through this blog post. We shall see what we see tomorrow!! Until then, May the Force Be With You!
JUMP FORWARD IN TIME 12 HOURS
Alright. So, now I can address that schlep up there that hadn’t seen Rogue One yet directly, and thankfully he can’t talk back too much. I will be posting these thoughts every paragraph or so, in case you want to stick around and comment as I go. (I did a live blogging post session when I wrote my Arq review and it was actually pretty fun – and had 20 to 30 people at times. I won’t be adding live blogging chat or live blogging updates this time as those technologies basically broke my website for quite a while afterwards.)
Please be aware, I’m not going to pull any punches here – this conversation will be spoiler filled. If you want to avoid spoilers, stay within my Rogue One Overview section and you’ll be fine. Dip below that, and all bets are off.
Rogue One Overview
Some of my main concerns around the movie not feeling like a Star Wars universe story were not validated at all. In fact, if I do have a gripe with the movie, it was that it was TOO MUCH in the vein and the world of Star Wars – but I’ll get to that later. Overall, from a Star Wars fan’s perspective it was quite good. There were so many nods to A New Hope that it became hard to keep track of them all. They were literally everywhere. We see younger versions of several of the Cantina characters. We see Bail Organa several different times. We see lots and lots of nods to Episode 4. And they really weren’t obnoxiously placed or annoying. But if you were watching there were there to be enjoyed.
We also have the same expansive scope and feel of the original movies… which, I didn’t expect. I had assumed the scale would be tighter, and the scope would be smaller. But that wasn’t the case at all. Somehow they made the plans a huge deal. Which… worked for me. It also had similar humor, and levity as past movies. Which was welcome. So yes, over all I’m giving it an 8/10 light sabers in spite of the fact that there were no light sabers in this movie… oh wait. (We’ll talk about that later.)
Rogue One Humor –
K-2S0 was funny. He played a very very good C-3P0 replacement
Rogue One Characters –
Jyn Erso definitely was a highlight for this particular film. Definitely nothing on the scale of a win like Rey of course. But Jyn was good. Very safely played and good. I would have thought I’d have more to say on that topic. But I really don’t. Her complicated back story was interesting. “The Imperial flags don’t bother me, I just don’t look up.” And once again we saw her complicated issues with her parents and her loss play out across the screen which in turn made her a muddy soup of different sympathies.
Personally, my favorite character in all of the Star Wars canon was Peter Cushing’s, Grand Moff Tarkin. No one brought the heat like Cushing did back in the day. Those cheek bones, that hair?!? his commanding British accent? YOU MAY FIRE WHEN READDDYYYYY… Brilliance. And to have General Tarkin back again? I really was quite impressed. And if you don’t know… Mr. Cushing died back in 1994, so his availability to reprise his role was severely limited. That being said, it really was very good. Except, there was a slight disturbance in the Force with his mouth. Something slightly off. And maybe a bit too detailed compared to the other actors on the screen. Possibly needed just a 2% gaussian blur overlay? Dunno. But dang it was good.
There were something like 30 friends and colleagues of mine at the theater last night and somehow, I was sitting next to the one non-Star Wars fan (don’t ask how this happen, you don’t want to know… but basically I built him something and he owed me one, so I forced him to come. Regardless) out of the bunch. And believe it or not, he had zero idea that Tarkin was a CGI character in the film. None. Actually was quite shocked when we asked him what he thought and then told him. So for those of you that didn’t know he was dead, I’m sure he was fine. Actually very good even. A treat to see again really.
Darth Vader. Ok, this was a personal favorite of mine. Holy cow did I dig the Vader sections of this movie. We learned several new things about him. He was a for real bad ass when on screen. And best of all he owned the Rebels that were unlucky enough to land in his way. And the overall tightness between this movie and A New Hope? Let’s just put it this way – I can’t wait to have a Blu-Ray version of this movie so I can watch Rogue One and A New Hope back to back. Definitely would see more of the details I missed last night.
Oh and Princess Leia was back too. But I’ll wait for the next section to address that particular topic.