Rogue One
So all in all - this film may have not been the homerun TFA was at first glance. It is a much darker and gritty Star Wars than we are used to and that is good. What the film may lack in character development, pacing and chemistry, it more than makes up during the home stretch in the final battle scenes and the last shot.
Acting
Directing
Cinematography
Script
Timeless
The Good
  • Amazing tribute to SW fanfare
  • Besting every SW battlescene on the screen
  • Perfect use of Darth Vader
The Bad
  • Lenghty and jumpy in the beginning
  • Lack of chemistry between the cast
4.3Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)

So presumably this was supposed to be the biggest movie night of 2016 – well after the November 8 election (only that it became a reality horror movie which hasn’t stopped since) – so here we are to see the first Star Wars “spinoff” story under the helm of its new owner Disney. Lots of stuff had been written about it e.g. the controversial reshooting but here we are – moment of truth. Was it awesomeness pure or just another exchangeable money milking franchise. So just so you know before reading – there will be

SPOILERS
.

My first response after just having seen the movie and coming out of the theater basically something on the lines of this:
Courtesy of: http://reddit.com

Courtesy of: http://reddit.com

After thinking about it a little bit more in detail, I would like to provide a more differentiated look at Rogue One. Due to the fact that this is a Star Wars movie, I do get goosebumps when the screen in the theater showed the oh-so-well-known lines “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away” but regardless erwinreviews was in there to provide a (sort 0f) unbiased review of this film. And truth to be told, in the early stages of the film, I did feel that it was struggling to cram all the story, characters and stakes into the first hour in order to build the stakes and the universe. Presumably, the reason for that is to have the film be able to stand on its own feet which is an effort I do generally applaud. However, it felt a little jumpy at times and lacked the right pace and execution.

Courtesy of http://themarysue.com

Courtesy of http://themarysue.com

The other minor problem, the film had was its cast and their chemistry (or the lack thereof) – looking at the grand strategy of how Disney is reviving the Star Wars franchise, it becomes evident that for each installment they inject enough elements from the original Star Wars to satisfy the fandom but still put in the effort to build some new and interesting characters who can make the franchise interesting on their own merits. For The Force Awakens – JJ Abrams hit a home run with enough Han Solo and Chewie for the fans and the addition of Kylo Ren and Rey for the new universe – it just worked perfectly. In Rogue One (and sorry for the direct comparison), I wanted to let my Star Wars bias really love the main characters just as much as the ones in TFA but something did not feel right about their chemistry. Felicity Jones was good but felt like a copycat of Emily Blunt’s character from Live.Die.Repeat – only not as tough. Also Diego Luna and Forest Whitaker were only ok but were not able to create the same excitement for me as other Star Wars characters have done in the past. And I was actually seriously disappointed in the Bodhi Rook’s character as I was expecting so much more from Riz Ahmed. Having said that, there were two great (unfortunately only temporary) additions to the Star Wars universe: Donny Yen as Cirrut Imwe (aka Blind Awesome Jedi) and Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus (aka Hawaiian sidekick) – and luckily there is Lord Vader. So let’s now shift over to the really good parts of Rogue One:

  • Lots and lots battle scenes
  • Darth Vader
  • X-Wings and Tie Fighters
  • Huge final shootout
Staring off on a more general note – all the battle scenes in this film are beyond spectacular in almost every aspect (choreography, setup, payoff) which brings me back to Blind Awesome Jedi – almost every action scene with him was just pure awesomeness and I couldn’t get enough of it. Even in my sleep, I was probably still repeating those sentences:
I am with the Force, and the Force is with me
Courtesy of http://zoobadoo2000.tumblr.com

Courtesy of http://zoobadoo2000.tumblr.com

Then of course, there is the big teaser of all Rogue One trailers and the big looming question about how much Vader we would end up getting – and the response was, not a whole lot but what we got was beyond amazing. Granted that we would probably be cheering and taking our bras off and throw them at the screen if Darth Vader would just take his morning poo while reading the Empirial Times Magazine but nevertheless – the pure fear Vader instilled in his opponents during his scenes was just so rewarding – and well the one scene which you know when you watch it – made me repeat my Jonah Hill move all over again. Finally as I said earlier the movie did have some lengthy and jumpy sections in the first two thirds but guys do get a payoff in the final third. Once, it is clear why Rogue One is actually called Rogue One and the crew rides off to their final mission – we get the finest Star Wars action I have seen in my lifetime; X-Wing vs Tie Fighter battles as far as you can see (and who can get enough of these) plus admiral Akbars brother in his dentist chair strategizing and laying it on the Star Destroyers – pure awesomeness (again).

Additionally, the fights on the ground in the Abu Dhabi/Hawaii of the galaxy against Empirial Troups plus a new breed of Supertroups (in black suits) had some of the best cinematography I have seen in a long time. I believe this where Gareth Edwards could truly show all his talent as a director and master for destruction. One could maybe argue that it was a tad too long but then again who can get enough of Star Wars battle sequence, I for sure can’t. Finally, one of the biggest payoffs was that the studio actually dared to give the characters not the easy way out, the X-Wing flying away from the fireball of destruction, still making into hyperspace – no these heroes died for their purpose, they gave the rebellion a new hope and sacrificed their lives for that – in one of the most rewarding final shots I have seen in a long time (I literally gasped for breathing in the final shot). It was just brilliant how well the film was able to execute the final shot while building the segway into Episode IV.

So all in all – this film may have not been the homerun TFA was at first glance. It is a much darker and gritty Star Wars than we are used to and that is good. What the film may lack in character development, pacing and chemistry, it more than makes up during the home stretch in the final battle scenes and the last shot.

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