(All images Copyright by Disney & Lucasfilm)
I know you've all been eagerly awaiting my Rogue One review (sarcasm) especially after my glowing The Force Awakens review (more sarcasm). Well, here it goes...
I want the opening scrawl back. That was weird. Honestly. It felt weird & empty. Didn't you think so? It was just so plain & there. Bam! Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That's it. At least we got the "A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away."
Some of the stuff Disney is doing is just weird.
First off let's talk about the trailers. The trailers made our main hero, who honestly wasn't really a main hero, out to be much more of a badass than I think she ended up being. Not that she wasn't a badass, she just ended up being less snarky & sarcastic than the trailers let on. Many of her trailer lines were completely cut from the film. "I rebel!" was nowhere to be found? Really?! Why cut the tag line from our hero? The only reason would be that she seemed to snarky. Ugh. I liked snarky Jyn. Still, after the second viewing it did appear that they kept the character consistent at least. The first viewing I was waiting for many of the trailer lines & felt let down that I didn't get them. That's a bit of bad marketing.
(What happened to this?!)
I like Jyn. I don't love her. I wanted to love her for purely selfish reasons (My name is Jen). Having a Star Wars character share your name is pretty awesome, so of course you want that character to be the best Star Wars character ever. I did like how brave she was. Determined & brave. That's how I'd describe her. Okay...now for the
You only have yourself to blame if you read any further.
I pretty much figured the entire team would die & I was right. Her ending was okay, but I'm not sure I buy that anyone that determined & brave would simply sit on a beach & wait for death. I would try to hunker down or get underground or hide behind a box or something. I get it, the storytellers had to let the audience know she was dead, for good, dead dead, otherwise all of us fans would have theories out the wazoo of her survival. So, fine. I get it.
Cassian, whoa what a surprise! Not who I thought this character would be at all. I liked being surprised. The dude is serious. His beliefs are serious. He's a zealot for the rebellion & willing to do whatever it takes. I'm not sure I understand his sudden attachment to Jyn, though. He's going to kill her Father, he's going to kill her, then suddenly he's decided to get a gang together & follow her to certain death. This was a little fuzzy to me & needed more attention, but okay, whatever.
All of the characters needed a little more depth, but I liked them all. For me, Bodhi was the one I really rooted for. I'm not sure what about the character grabbed me, but it did. His desperation, the fact that he understood what was happening, yet no one would take him seriously or listen to him until he met the Rogues, I'm not sure.
I loved how each character was essential to the mission. Every single one had an important role. Without each one in place, the mission failed. This is why I say that Jyn isn't really the hero. They are all equally heroes. That is something I really loved & that was something that felt old school Star Wars to me.
In the originals, Luke might have been the one we followed, but without R2, 3PO, Chewie, Obi-Wan, Han, Leia or Lando, Luke would have failed. The strength in friendship & working together is what saved the galaxy & Rogue One showed us that again. Of course, this time with opposite results for our heroes outcomes. This time everyone dies. They were all pretty damn good deaths though.
I was so happy to see so many aliens! Not just one bar scene, but a whole galaxy of them! Familiar & new!
(These guys are super cool.)
(A Frog & a Space Monkey!)
We even got a fun glimpse of Dr. Evazan & Ponda Baba! Um, awesome. Those of us that are Expanded Universe, now "Legends" fans had zero problem with those two showing up in another shady place. It was perfect.
Mon Freakin' Mothma, ya'll!
(Oh hell yes!)
There was a whole lot of fan service, but unlike J.J. Abrams, whose nostalgia was vomited at us in a sarcastic or obvious way, or as I like to say, in a way that the "casual" Star Wars fan would eat up, Gareth Edwards gave most of his nods more subtly & respectfully & to those of us who have been lovers of the expanded universe stories. It was beautifully done.
I was ecstatic that some of the Star Wars Rebels characters & ships got mentions & screen time. If you aren't watching Star Wars Rebels...well, what the hell are you doing with your life!? Seriously, Rebels is great!
(You can see the Rebels ship the "Ghost" here.)
(Chopper! The funniest droid EVER.)
Now, let's get to the biggest problems I had with the film. There really aren't many. My biggest problem was that Cassian shot Krennic. We saw Jyn with her pistol shooting Stormtroopers & shore troopers left & right, but we get to the pivotal moment when Jyn & Krennic face off & she either doesn't have her pistol or she just can't bring herself to shoot this bastard. What?! So, from behind, or to the side, Cassian takes the shot to rescue Jyn from Krennic. I literally shouted, "UGH, for real!" in the theater. Look, they were trapped & all probably going to die. They knew that. What purpose did it serve her character to allow Cassian to shoot him instead of her? He killed her Mother & enslaved her Father & she just stands there with her mouth open? SERIOUSLY!? I thought we had decided to move past this type of thing. Princess Leia would have NEVER just stood there. Neither would Rey. So, why did Jyn? I do not buy it. Nope, not one bit. Boo!
The Music. Alright, Mr. Giacchino only had 4 weeks to compose the score after they booted the other composer & scrapped all his music because he was on another project & couldn't re-score the re-shoots. We call that BAD MANAGEMENT. I don't blame Mr. Giacchino, and good lord, how do you follow John Williams? I missed the themes. John Williams always gives the characters their own piece of music & it was sorely missed here. The fact that Jyn didn't have her own sound kinda broke my heart. There were moments, when you just knew in your heart, that John Williams score would have had you in tears & Mr. Giacchino just didn't quite pull that off. Still, I get it. 4 weeks. Try to meet John Williams levels. That was an impossible task.
The other problems were, I wanted more character depth, but it's hard to do that with such a large cast in two & a half hours. That two & a half hours went by fast & I really wanted to stay longer.
The scrawl omission. Mistake. I don't care what you think DISNEY.
Really, that's it. That's all I have to complain about.
Krennic was a great villian. Seeing Moff Tarkin was amazing. I thought the CGI was great. Even the Leia CGI.
Now, the thing I loved most. Holy crap, how amazing was that Vader scene at the end? I mean, holy crap, kids! You know they get the plans, but that was filmed so well that I was sitting on the edge of my seat, white knuckled, yelling in my head (and sometimes out loud) "OMG! Go! Go! Crap! Crap! %#$@, crap! ^%$#!!!!" Not only did it put me on the edge of my seat, but it clearly defined Darth Vader as the scariest villain in cinematic history, AGAIN. This guy is a monster! A big scary monster with a lightsaber and his own freaking castle!
Finally, we got to see Vader's castle. More fan service for us Expanded Universe fans.
So, yeah, I loved Rogue One.
Thanks, Gareth, for truly understanding Star Wars.