Monthly Archives: December 2016
When it comes to prequels, they’re easy to mess up. We’ve already seen the story, why must we see how that story came to be? Especially when we know the fates of many of the newer characters, since they were not in established movies and lore of a particular franchise. In the case of Star Wars, it had real, real bad luck with its prequel trilogy. It tried to make the story as big and grand as the original trilogy, but the original trilogy wasn’t big and grand; it was a simple redemption story that we made big and grand. With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, quite simply put, it does more for the original trilogy than the three prequels ever did. And while it has problems, overall, it’s an incredible tale of a fight for not freedom, but hope for that freedom.
- The BATTLES
- It’s not Star Wars without a few good battles in the film. The battles in this film, unlike most other films in the series, are hard fought, fast paced, and long, though not long winded like in say Transformers: Age of Extinction. The perils in these battles feel real, and you genuinely care about most of the characters going into them, knowing what the fates of some of them could be. The cinematography in these fights is great-lots of good close ups of TIE fighters, of the AT AT Walker firing upon a beach full of rebels, and the camera spins and angles fit nicely with adding great atmosphere and tone to the film. While in the other films these fights did have a sense of serious air to them, here, thanks to the overall tone, you feel the reality sinking in, and get the sense that this is indeed a much darker, grittier Star Wars film.
- The ENTIRE SECOND HALF
- The first act-as most people have said-is pretty wonky. It’s oddly paced, and seems to jump from place to place. As soon as the second act hits-you’ll know when it does-then it’s like the entire movie does a 180. The scenes become tight, the battles more intense, and the characters seem to fit better into the story.
- The SCORE
- The music is wonderful. Composed by Michael Giacchino the same man up composed Up, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Jurassic World, and Inside Out. The man knows when to hit the emotional moments, and when to get that crescendo just right. He also gets those battle scores down to a T; it feels like Star Wars, yet it feels like something new.
- The CHARACTERS
There’s quite a few colorful cast of characters in this film. And like most “Group films” some get the shaft, others the spotlight. Jyn Erso the main lead, she’s pretty bland. Some could argue that the reason for that, is as main character, she is meant to be the audience avatar; someone we can easily slip into and imagine ourselves in her situation. But it’s important to make your main character interesting and she just isn’t. She has a tragic past, sure but that’s really the only thing that defines her character. There’s a really cool blind warrior named Chirrut Îmwe who believes heavily in the Force even when no one else does-he’s a big minority there. Seeing him have so much faith in something most people in this universe believe is a Myth thanks to the destruction of the Jedi thanks in part to Vader himself….It’s really uplifting in their dark world. The other standout character is a droid called K2-yes named after the second tallest mountain in the world after Everest itself. He’s pretty hilarious-complete opposite of the worrisome C-3PO.
There are also returning characters such as Grand Moth Tarkin, who even at one point states “You may fire when ready.” One must remember that THIS DUDE and the Emperor were the only dudes Vader himself took orders from. He’s a pretty big deal. Of course he’s in this movie. It’s interesting to note that he IS CGI, but if they were to ask Peter Cushing I’m pretty sure he’d give them full permission because he does stay in character throughout his screen time in the film. Vader makes a few scenes and BOY is there an AMAZING Darth Vader standout moment that trumps even a few from the Clone Wars, Rebels, and the beloved Original Trilogy. He’s dark, menacing, and BRUTAL. And it shows why he’s so feared throughout the galaxy.
- The FIRST ACT
- When everyone says the first act or first half of the film is “meh” or “a little off” or “slow building”….they’re pretty much right. It just jumps from planet to planet, there’s no real time character building. It makes you wonder if you’re just along for the ride-if it’s the main story you’re here for rather than the characters and their plights. I’d say if you had it on Blu-Ray to fast forward it, but that wouldn’t help you at all then you’d be REAL confused. So, just sit and bear through the first say half hour and then it just picks up and becomes the huge epic war movie that feels unlike any Star Wars film to date. It’s just…..oh man if they polished up the first act this movie would be near flawless.
Rogue One: a Star Wars Story is not without problems. The pacing is weird, especially in the first act, the characters aren’t entirely fleshed out, and something about it feels off. However, after that second act hits, you feel like you’re truly in this galaxy far far away, fighting to save the lives of millions of innocent people. There’s not only the threat of Tarkin, but Krennic, and the underlying threat of Darth Vader. Some would complain that he isn’t in the film enough….I personally like that he wasn’t in the film all that much; this isn’t Vader’s story. Here, it’s Tarkin and Krennic. Next movie, Tarkin and Vader. Movie after that, Vader and the Emperor. And then Vader and Luke. It builds up to Vader rather than “here. Here’s Vader have fun.”. There are plenty of fun little Easter eggs in the film to please the hardcore fans, and the death scenes hit hard and close to the heartspot. You feel for the Rebellion, yet you also leave the film questioning them as well. It’s a smaller story, in this grand universe Lucas set up all those years ago, and it truly does seamlessly fit into the Original Trilogy. There are also good moments that show the Rebellion aren’t all squeaky clean like the Original Trilogy makes them out to be….It clears things up in that trilogy that seemed to make no sense as well. Overall, it’s an intense, gritty look into what went into stealing the plans for the dreaded Death Star. It’s not ALL THAT grand, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s a smaller story, in a grander tale. It does what it’s supposed to do and does it well.
I’m going to give Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a 4.5/5-it’s a great, emotional ride that seamlessly fits into the Original Trilogy; perfect for most fans of Star Wars.
How would you rank the Star Wars films? What did you think of the first of many Star Wars anthology films? Let me know in the comments below!