Project Happening’s Rogue One Review
The story I’d been waiting for. SPOILERS: Why build a Death Star with a fatal flaw? What was the “great cost” the rebellion faced retrieving the secrets of the doomsday device? We’ve experienced loss before. In A New Hope we watched Leia and Obi Wan lose an entire planet. When we first meet Han Solo and Chewbaca we know these are two space pirates that have been in a few jams and can take care of themselves. The role of a Jedi seems infinitely full of secrets, loss, and hope. Like Luke however, we are new to these galaxy stories when we enter Episode 4. Yet even a simple space farmer could feel the gravity of what was lost to the rebellion. A quiet statement in a room full of rebels that screamed for an explanation. Almost four decades later we got our answer: Rogue One.
The droids are better. The bad guys are just as good, and you want them just as dead. The planets, wardrobe, language, jumble of alien life, and quest feels, sounds, and looks like Star Wars. The detail to the visual and sound effects do not disappoint. The heros that band together to form our beloved rebel scum are perfect. I was swept away by the story from the first visit to Jyn Erso’s steam farm on a planet with black sands. The ride doesn’t stop until the final credits.
Not starting a Star Wars film with an opening scroll of yellow words across my screen felt hollow, yet I understand this is the story that paves the way for the rest of the legacy. I was not a huge fan of the repeated chant about the force used by several characters. A bit too much CGI for me at the end. I understand we can’t really build forcefields around entire planets yet, but I would have liked less shots from space and more on the planet. I would have liked to have more background on Cassian Andor’s character, but perhaps that is yet to come. I am not sure if I will rewatch this film on repeat as much as I rewatch other Star Wars films, but overall I enjoyed the journey from beginning to end. For me it had everything a Star Wars film should have with a new story to tell.
It’s a tale of two halves. The first half of the movie moves too slow for the minimal amount of character-building it accomplishes. Then again, these characters weren’t long for a galaxy far, far away, so it’s nothing but a wasted half. Had the first half accomplished its goal, I would have cried at least once at the end. I feel nothing when they all die at the end of the movie, which, I think, was meant to be emotional. I’ll admit it, normally I cry at war deaths in movies, like Tex Cobb in Uncommon Valor or Blaine in Predator. The second half is great. Those emotional moments are only emotional because they are allowed to happen in a Star Wars movie. I would have never thought a Star Wars movie would kill off the movie’s main cast. What about spin-offs, or novels, or comics? I suppose they can just make stories pre-Rogue One. Regardless, I’m glad it happened because it let the second half go all out. No need to fabricate some cheap way of surviving. It goes right into the next movie so seamlessly it may as well have been Episode 3.5.
The strong second half saves a bad first half.
For this movie I made it a point not to read any spoilers or any reviews before seeing it. I already knew the basic premise of the plot so I wanted to be surprised by some of the characters. For me, the best part of this movie was its characters and the actors that portrayed them. I of course knew about Jyn (Felicity Jones) already after seeing the trailer, but not much about any of the other characters.
Overall I really liked every character and was impressed by the acting in this movie. Cassian (Diego Luna) was on top of his game. I really liked this character and I thought he was perfect for this story. He really complimented Jyn very well. And special appearance by Darth Vader was great. Oh, and I also really enjoyed the K-2SO character.
With all that said, the highlight for me was Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic. I first saw Ben in Bloodline, where he is the star of the show. When I saw him in the beginning of this movie, I was pleasantly surprised and it made the movie that much better for me. He did a great job in this movie as well.
It was great to finally see how the plans for the death star were obtained on the big screen. I can’t wait for this movie to come out on bluray so I can watch it and A New Hope back-to-back. Going into the movie I pretty much had a good idea that most of the characters would die in the end, but I was pretty surprised to see that all of them died. It was bittersweet. Overall I thought it was a good choice though, even though I would have liked to see a solo Cassian movie. I thought his backstory was pretty interesting.
This movie is perhaps the best Star Wars movie since the original trilogy, a bold statement, but I feel it’s warranted. I really enjoyed the flow of the movie as it builds up each character just enough to get you invested in their fates. The action was top notch, the acting and dialogue were taken seriously, and then mood was not that of a whimsical movie. Seeing how Galen Erso intentionally created a weakness in the death star lifted a long carried weight off my shoulders, how would the Empire not notice an oversight like an exhaust port that could lead to the total destruction of their super weapon? Now I know why. The fact that our heroes perish in the end is very important as I think the movie was trying to show the sacrifices needed to win a war. As Capt. Andor put it, “The rebellion is all of a sudden, very real”.