On a cold, dreary, Friday the 13th, the second Friday of 2017, I am sitting at work waiting. Waiting for people to finish their job so I can begin mine. I am running out of ways to look busy while everyone else around me looks to be swamped. I flip from window to window, immediately address any emails that come my way, and try not to look amused as I click through Imgur. But all of this bores me. I need to do something that actually makes my brain function and distracts me from the anxiety of waiting on other people.
I have an epiphany. I have not written anything in a while for the blog. I haven’t even finished the second half of that last post. I have also come to the realisation that in all the hecticness that is the holiday season and the chaos in closing end of year tasks I have not written my Rogue One review. This is a travesty.
I have talked so much about this movie since I saw it that I am almost at a loss for words as it just seems I am repeating, rehashing, or restating everything I and others have said. But I have also had many arguments about the movie because, being my difficult self, I did not fully agree with the opinion of others on the film.
Now, before your blood starts to boil as you probably think it is because I didn’t like it, let me set the record straight, I liked the movie a lot. Like A LOT. But I will say I am not as in love with it as many other people are. Your blood has cooled down but it is still simmering. The thing that does not make this movie great is a complete opposite reason as to why most films fail today. The first half, maybe third, of the movie was a bit lost, meandered, where as the rest crescendos into utter epic-ness that blinds you as to what came before it.
Now this specifically isn’t a bad thing. This actually ensures that people come out of the movie loving it. As one guy in the theatre screamed as soon as the credits began to roll, “I FUCKING LOVED IT!”, it is true, that was my first reaction as well. But in the discussion that followed and general review of the film, the curtain that was dropped at the end of the film lifted showing some of the wreckage that is the beginning of the movie.
Don’t get me wrong, the beginning isn’t really bad, like 90s prequels bad, as it does its job with the introduction of characters and setting up the plot without inducing confusion and disgust. It is just done very choppy and sort of haphazard. You are introduced to interesting characters that aren’t really used, because of this there are several plot holes, and situations that seem important that are never really explained. Also, at the end of the movie where everyone dies, spoiler!, the only one I felt something for was the robot. As K-2SO fell and his eyes dimmed I was verklempt, misty eyed. Where as the other characters I felt almost nothing. To fix these things the movie would have had to be substantially longer or maybe even made into 2 films. I think that may be the only time I will ever argue for something like that. From what is presented there is a lot of content that could have been used to fill the gaps and bolster emotions towards the doomed heroes. Based on previous experience, they are probably going to be made into a cartoon or written into the book world but still keeping as much of it out as they did it is too choppy.
From the point that the Rogue One crew begin their mission, after they get off of Jedah, that is the moment the story really comes together. The main characters are all there, the plan to execute the main plot of the film has sort of been explained, and there is a clear path to a conclusion. We all know where the movie is ending it is all about the journey to get there. And that part of the journey is great. The action, the plot twists, the other people they encounter. As the story goes it just gets better and better. An amazing up hill battle that at the end the summit is just spectacular. I mean when you see Darth Vader just massacring those rebels and then Leia. WHAT! AMAZING!
On the way up the cinematic mountain as a seasoned viewer of Star Wars films you will notice things that separate this movie from all the others. There is a reason why they call it Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and not “Star Wars: Rogue One”. Right off the bat the difference in title lets you know that this is within the Star Wars realm but it is not entirely a Star Wars movie. This is because Star Wars is about the Skywalker Family and they play a small part but they are not the focus of the film. This may also be why they did not have the crawl at the beginning of the movie. What is happening in this film was already in the crawl of the original and it is not necessary as nothing “important” leads to this. Something else I noticed was the music, the score throughout the movie is different than the other films. It is just off enough to be noticed as it is in the Star Wars style but not completely Star Wars. And when Darth Vader first appears they do not play his march. It kind of threw me off and killed the scene a bit but at the same time it was an EPIC scene (who knew he lived on Mordor and had a sense of humour?). And the cinematic nature of the battle sequences were handled differently than the other movies. How the ships were tracked as they engaged, formations, angles, it seemed to be from another Sci-fi universe.
Some may think these things were done purposefully just because it is a new film but I think it is a whole lot more than that. It is all about being in the world but separating itself from the other movies. It is like Star War’s cousin, related but not in the immediate family. That is why Star Wars: The Force Awakens does not have the same issue. Even with a mainly new cast, new story, new director, it still sounded and looked like a Star Wars film. These aspects could easily be over looked as the flash and boom of the movie can be overwhelming at times but they are there. I think they did this right but after watching the Star Wars films so many times I found it distracting at a certain level. It is just because it wasn’t expected not because it was bad.
Despite a few minor issues that kept the movie from going from good to great, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a fantastic additions to the Star Wars cinematic universe.