Saw it today. I loved it. It definitely has a different feel than most Star Wars movies, and I'm hoping that the side movies each have their own personalities, much like the Marvel movies. This one was pretty dark, very gritty, and really amazing.
I liked how there were warring factions within the Rebellion. I thought that was an interesting, realistic touch.
I haven’t seen this movie yet (and don’t intent to for a while), but I decided to brave the spoilers and read the review. (I mean we know what happens, right? The rebels steal the plans.) This movie will have to be pretty good, though, to supplant the radio version (which I own on CD). The radio version adds an additional four (I think it is) chapters to the beginning of the original Star Wars (“A New Hope” to you late-comers) which not only details how the rebels stole the plan, but also shows more of Luke and his friends on Tatooine and a pod race. NPR did all three movie of the original trilogy, but I’ve listened to these four new chapters many times more often than I’ve listened to the whole thing.
We saw it Friday night and loved it. My take on it was "Star Wars as an actual war movie." SPOILERS ahead ...
I saw a LOT of familiar elements, but I confess I didn't always twig to them immediately because they were so out of context -- that is to say, because they were deadly serious and not played as the original movie was, as a familiar Western fantasy/romp where you know the white hats are going to win.
For example, you had the "I express irritation but secretly like you" pseudo-romance of Han and Leia mirrored in Jyn and Cassian. But whereas the former was a broadly played screwball comedy trope, the one in Rogue One seemed much more subdued, reality-based and uncertain in its outcome. And whereas the two couples started in the same place, one was a comedy and the other a tragedy.
Speaking of Cassian, he was the rogue that Han was described as (but really wasn't). Han was a smuggler and a pirate, but he clearly had a heart of gold and never really did any bad things -- except when he shot Greedo, which was really self-preservation (and Greedo deserved it), plus Lucas tried to erase even that act later. Cassian, on the other hand, DOES do really bad things, even though it's in the service of a good cause. And when we see him shoot first, it's to silence a fellow Rebel, and it's literally in the back. Both Han and Cassian are "charming rogues," but one is mostly charm while the other is mostly rogue.
Once again, we see characters sneaking around an imperial base. The Empire invading a remote, peaceful farm. Characters clambering around on lighted towers. Someone having to sabotage a shield so the Rebels can all get away. Characters pretending (badly) to be Stormtroopers at a security desk. A Mon Calamarian leading a space battle. Someone on a tall tower with wind battering them in desperate battle. A damaged father-child relationship. Peter Cushing (!) being evil and English. The guy we saw in Mos Eisley saying "Hey, Watch it!" showing up on Jedha saying the same thing, with Cassian responding with Obi-Wan's line "We're not looking for any trouble." And so forth.
So many familiar elements. But unlike the last movie, I didn't feel a cloying deja vu. Instead, it felt like an entirely different movie -- a war movie.
The only time I did feel a little treacle trickle in was quickly righted. That was when Cassian said "Rebellions are built on hope." It seemed like such an odd argument for anyone to use to try to convince someone to join the Rebellion, especially for this character, who seemed so beaten down and desperate that he shouldn't be able to even spell "hope," much less believe in it. It seemed more writer-ly than natural, and the rest of the movie had a very natural feel. But then it was used twice more (that I remember) in the movie, each time to indicate a sea change in a character's development. By the third time I heard it, I was believing it, which is good storytelling. (I still think it's a dumb line, but the actors really sold it.) And, of course, it led to the retconned title of the movie that follows next chronologically, which I sometimes forget ("A New Hope," in case you sometimes forget, too).
As to the lack of a crawl at the beginning, what would it say? If you re-read the crawl at the beginning of A New Hope, it basically describes the events leading up to and through Rogue One, so there wasn't much more to say.
Speaking of the opening, I loved that the Star Wars theme was re-introduced as a variant in a minor key. Isn't that what this move is? A variant in a minor key?
Anybody else see Saw Gerrera as an analog of Anakin Skywalker? He breaks away from his "order" and goes rogue. He loses both legs. He relies on some sort of breathing device. He's the Darth Vader of the Rebellion!
How about K-2SO as an analog of C-3PO? Greek chorus that irritates the humans. (Although funnier.)
Cassian, of course, is a Han Solo analog.
Jyn is our Luke/Leia analog.
But she's not a Skywalker, and every other movie has a Skywalker at the center. And what a Skywalker brings into play is The Force, which is how the Rebels always survive. Without it, well ...
Another thing. I read a review where the reviewer was just blown away by how this movie ended at the exact point that A New Hope begins. He literally said "I didn't see that coming!" To which I respond: You were the only one, pal. Seriously, I imagine everyone on this board saw this coming before they ever went into the movie, and if not, certainly by halfway through. That's how stories work, dumbass! And you call yourself a reviewer? I guess all you have to do be a movie blogger/reviewer these days is have access to your Mom's iPad.
My only question while watching the movie was how they'd get the plans from Scarif into the Tantive IV and above the skies of Tattooine being attacked by the Empire. They solved that by having the Tantive IV be some sort of shuttle or drop ship of the Rebel flagship that leaps into hyperdrive on its preset mission* to Obi-Wan Kenobi ... on Tattooine. (With Darth Vader in hot pursuit.)
* As discussed earlier in the movie by Mon Mothma and Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits).
Speaking of Vader, his massacre of the Rebel defenders was awesome and terrible. The sound of his lightsabre lighting in the dark. Emerging from the shadows. Effortless, wordless carnage. Whoa! It almost makes me remember Darth Vader as I viewed him in the first three movies, before the prequels introduced me to whiny, spoiled-brat Anakin and destroyed (for me) one of the greatest villains in history.
Oh, I also briefly wondered if they'd show Leia, and if they did, how they'd de-age Carrie Fisher. As it turned out, they did show her, and de-aged her the same way they portrayed Peter Cushing, with a live actor amended by CGI effects.
More will probably occur to me, but that's enough for now!
It really is.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Mon Mothma sounds like she should be in a Godzilla movie.
I'm really hoping we get a different taste for each of the "sideways sequels". I'd love for the Han Solo movie to be a space opera version of The Sting.
Do they have any other movies announced aside from HS?
We finally saw it last week. The "reprogrammed Empire droid" was wonderfully entertaining. The ending was unfortunate for the protagonists but was realistic and heroic. I was fascinated and blown away by the motion-capture appearances of the long-dead Peter Cushing and the 19-year-old Carrie Fisher, which brought a tear to my eye, having watched Rogue One after Carrie's death.
I think it was great, but I liked The Force Awakens more.
It took me a while for me to warm up to Rogue One. I never really had a handle on any of the characters involved, particularly Jyn. I liked watching everyone, but I didn't feel much in the way of personal stakes for any of the characters -- aside from Chirrut, who I gather *believed* he had what it takes to be a Jedi and his last walk was a measure of faith that he was.
Cassian, Cherrut, Baze, KRS-1 were all fun to watch; when Cassian killed his fellow resistance member, I was immediately invested in him. But his crisis of faith ended when he planned to kill Jyn's dad, which just didn't seem all that urgent of a mission. I mean, the Death Star's already up there, right? I wanted more of the Cassian we saw in his first scene, and he just wasn't there. Both Jyn and the rogue Empire pilot were pretty much cyphers to me. I was happy to watch them go along with the plot, but I wasn't sure what they, in particular, wanted. I liked the scenes on the desert planet, but when they got to the rainy planet, I felt the whole movie start to drag.
But then they got to the final planet -- and I was hooked! The war scenes were exciting, the subterfuge in the control tower was good, and I enjoyed watching character after character make the ultimate sacrifice. There was heroism here, and for once it wasn't heroism of the individual that won the day -- it was a heroic effort by the entire team.
I think I liked Force Awakens better -- I like the operatic majesty of the Star Wars universe, and the mysticism that goes with it. And the characters in particular speak to me more.* But this was a good one.
*Though I'd like to see another adventure with just Chirrut and Baze somehow; they had the most potential to me.
I liked this a whole lot better than The Force Awakens, which I thought was average at best.
My main problem with Rogue One and it still bothers me is that the character names were so forgettable. Like I read Rob's sentence:
Though I'd like to see another adventure with just Chirrut and Baze somehow; they had the most potential to me.
And I'm thinking, "Who the hell is he talking about?" A friend of mine told me he had the same problem the names as well before I saw the movie.
I thought it was great besides that.
A weird post script after I saw the movie and got in my car, the radio was playing the Star Wars theme music, and I hear, "RIP Carrie Fisher"
Oh, don't think I knew those names without looking 'em up! I didn't know Jyn's name without looking it up -- I got her real name and the alias she used mixed up. The only name I knew was KRS-1*...and that's because they spell it every time.
*Assuming I have that name correct.