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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

My generation grew up watching Star Wars movies and have a fair amount of nostalgia for the Star Wars saga. Rogue One is the story of events immediately preceding the famous Episode IV: A New Hope. The hardest thing about talking about Star Wars is this nostalgia factor; People get remarkably passionate about this topic. And I think that’s a good thing, but I think it obscures looking at the movie as its own thing, opposed to seeing it as a piece of a larger franchise. But I’m going to try to ignore the fandom and the hype and look at this movie on its own merits.

The plot is, our heroes need to steal the plans to a devastating super weapon. If they do not succeed the Galaxy will continue to be ruled by the tyranny of the Empire. Our heroine Jyn Erso is recruited by the rebel alliance to find her father who designed the weapon. It’s a race against time set in a fantastic galaxy.

I think this movie is decently made by talented people but it is not perfect. The first act drags out. Forest Whitaker has some type of ridiculous accent which made me smirk at its weirdness. (I think there’s a rule that if you’re an Oscar-nominated actor in a fantasy-type of movie you have to have a weird accent. Think about Jeff Bridges’ accent in The Giver, or Tom Hardy’s in The Dark Knight Rises.) Some of the dialogue is a little choppy. Whenever anyone mentions the word hope in a significant way it feels like it was added on at a later date which makes sense because I have heard that Rogue One has needed extensive reshoots.

The action is good, it’s like Saving Private Ryan meets Star Wars. It has gravitas and our characters work well in the scenes. I think the acting from the cast is good. I was so glad to see Danny Yen in this movie; his character is great. I think the movie would have sunk without the cast they chose. The special effects are pretty cool. They even brought back Peter Cushing and a young Carrie Fisher decently. Using CGI to reconstruct the face usually looks a bit more plastic-y but these were pretty good. I think the movie is pretty well shot. Also appearance of Darth Vader does not disappoint.

I think Rogue One is alright. I went in with average expectations. For me, no prequel or sequel will ever be as good as the original vision that I experienced I was entertained by this movie. That is what really matters. Star Wars is entertainment but it’s entertainment on the mythical scale. There’s something in Star Wars that awakens the child inside of us and thrills that child. After the first act, (which drags,)  the rest of the movie had me glued to my seat and takes me away again to this land of adventure and heroism. I found myself moved by the character sacrifice and inspired by the themes addressed. Is it as good as the original Star Wars? No. But it’s a Star Wars story and I was glad to have watched it. I think you’ll enjoy it too.

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Posted in All Reviews, By Courtland Hopkins.

One Response

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  1. I didn’t like it as much as you did, Courtland. I hoped they would really do something different, since it was a standalone/non-episode. It felt like more of the same, and that seemed like a missed opportunity.

    The third act action scene was really similar to “Return of the Jedi,” as well as “The Force Awakens,” and even “A New Hope” — a scrappy squadron of troops fight a space battle so that a smaller team can secretly do something on the ground that will turn the tide of the battle. They need to retire that formula. There are other ways to write an action climax.

    There were way too many noble sacrificial deaths, which meant that for me, by the end, the big one didn’t matter that much.

    Wouldn’t it have been great if they had just gone ahead and made a heist movie — Ocean’s 11 meets the Star Wars universe? That sounds like more fun. I would’ve enjoyed that movie more.

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