Star Wars Rogue One came out last week but I don’t need to tell YOU that.
I’ve often pride myself on being at the first showing of every blockbuster, comic related movie that comes out. It isn’t because I want to be the first or that I simply have to be there. No, it is more because, as each day passes that I haven’t watched it, a small part of my soul dies.
Rogue One was no different.
I had tickets to the night before the opening (December 15, 2016) and was looking forward to getting my “geek” on. Needless to say, after consulting with my wife, she politely reminded me that I had two Christmas parties to attend…the same two that I missed last year due to a scheduling conflict with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And so I didn’t go. Yes, I lost some points with my friends but I gained some valuable ones with my wife.
Alas, it would be 2.5 days before I would get to see Rogue One…a long…seemingly never-ending…2.5 days.
After much anticipation, I saw it yesterday (December 18, 2016) and I have to say, it was worth the wait. Was it perfect? No, but it was definitely worth the wait.
Obviously, I am a little biased. I am the guy with a Star Wars tattoo that sprawls from my kneecap up my thigh, to my…well…ass. I love Star Wars and that can’t be expressed enough. Knowing that, I thought I would give you guys my opinion and create a Rogue One review.
Rogue One review
What you need to know, if you didn’t already know, this is a true stand alone movie.
This movie does not happen directly after the events of Revenge of the Sith and the infamous Darth Vader “Stella!!!” scream. Rogue One actually leads right into A New Hope. Saying that, if you have never watched A New Hope, you won’t be lost with what is going on. This is contrary to the events of The Force Awakens.
I suppose The Force Awakens could be watched without having ever watched any of the others but it is most likely that you will be a little lost. Besides, if you choose to not watch the others, you will have no idea why the crowd cheers when the Millenium Falcon appears. The Force Awakens was able to utilize the power of nostalgia. Rogue One, while it made an attempt to, could not. After characters like Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and others appeared on the screen during The Force Awakens, it didn’t leave too many others to be introduced in Rogue One.
While different from every other Star Wars movie, it is able to hold its own. In the first 5 minutes, you quickly realize that this movie is different from the others. While the other 7 tend to focus on the battle between the Jedi and the Empire, this movie barely makes any mention of the Jedi. Don’t take this the wrong way. There is a Lightsaber and the Force is mentioned numerous times but the movie is different. This is a true War Type movie. It becomes apparent very quickly that this movie is about two rival factions trying to silence one another.
Not the same
Before you get your expectations that this movie will be what A New Hope was all those years ago, forget that thought. This movie is not A New Hope. Not even close. Rogue One doesn’t pretend to be. It is a story within the Star Wars universe that follows the hopes and dreams of a new set of characters. I will say that knowing their fate made the ending a little anti-climatic, however, this doesn’t detract from the storyline, it adds to it. I suppose waiting in anticipation of the inevitable is half the fun.
If you didn’t know, Rogue One will answer the questions, “How does Leia wind up acquiring the plans that will destroy the Death Star in A New Hope and more importantly, “Why the hell did The Empire build something inside the Death Star that if hit, would destroy it?”
I won’t explain the reasoning or happenings of either but understand that in the movie and for the purpose of this Rogue One review, it kind of makes sense…kind of.
As it should be, the movie is visually stunning. It seems that the team behind Rogue One and The Force Awakens have an understanding that using real-life terrains and not those generated by a computer are the way to go…thankfully. The Force Awakens had some breathtaking views and scenes, however, I would argue that they paled in comparison to Rogue One.
The planet Scarif, in particular, is beautiful. I’ve been to a few all-inclusive resorts in my life and Scarif could very well have been one of them. Beautifully manicured trees, velvet sand, and spectacular buildings all surrounded by a clear blue body of water. From above, you get the impression that it is a lush planet, home to more than…well…I won’t say.
On the other end of the spectrum is Jedha. Jedha is beautiful in its own right. Sandy, dusty, and filled with plateau after plateau. Jedha slightly resembles Jakku or Tatooine without feeling like a desert. Utilized and explained as a Holy City of sorts, Jedha is meant to resemble a place like Jerusalem. And you know what? It does a great job of doing it.
All this aside, the movie isn’t without its problems.
I will say that the first hour or so was, forgive me for saying, painfully slow.
As the first hour passed, I looked over at my wife and saw that she was a little lost and justifiably so. The movie panned from scene to scene, place to place, trying to get a context to its audience as to what exactly was going on, and why the galaxy was in the state it was in. There was a brief moment where even I felt all the jumping grew tiresome. Eventually, the jumping would come to an end and the story was able to progress.
Leaving the theater, I couldn’t help but wonder how many people felt lost like my wife did in the first hour.
The movie also took a much darker route.
If you have watched any of the other movies you know that they lean to the light-hearted side of the equation. Rogue One doesn’t do that. The comedic relief is few and far between and comes from a likely source. Is it forced? Yeah, probably. As I understand it, once the script was made and the draft versions were shown, Disney did not like what they saw. It was too dark and had to be lightened up so that it would attract a wider range of audience and appeal to children.
Did that work in their favor?
No, I don’t think so.
I only say this because, as a viewer, I could see the blatant attempt to modify the tone of the movie. Somewhere along the line, Rogue One lost who it was or what it was trying to become.
While I felt for Jyn Erso, I didn’t FEEL for her.
Don’t get me wrong. Her character was what Star Wars has needed and is trying to do with the new movies; a strong female lead. All this aside, I had a hard time connecting with her on a deeper level. Perhaps it was because she could feel, at times, cold and uncaring about the world around her. It would take for the movie to be 2/3 completed before I could see that she actually cared.
Maybe, just maybe, Rogue One, unlike most other Star Wars movies, lacked an interesting male/female dynamic. Rogue One possessed characters who seemed forced to work with one another and their on-screen chemistry showed it. At no time did I believe that the two actually cared about each other. Not even could the closing moments change my opinion.
When it is all said and done, Rogue One was solid.
Do me a favor and don’t let this Rogue One review change your opinion. You NEED to see this movie.