I’ve had a few hours to think about Rogue One. I went in skeptical, because Force Awakens was such a Hollywood soft reboot it was insulting to our collective intelligences, as well made as it was, and I was expecting this movie to be a member berries-filled ride as obnoxious as that. Starting as a prequel where we know exactly where the plot goes (spoiler: someone steals the death star plans and they find a weakness in its construction!), it’s very easy to have low expectations on the film, with the assumption that it would be filled with the same member berries that made Force Awakens so disappointing after time to process it.
My next worry was because the writers of the film had been so publicly obnoxious that it was going to be some big political finger wag, and as films like Star Trek: Into Darkness have done not-subtly-at-all, would throw viewers out of the movie.
I am pleased to say that none of this turned out to be the case! Rogue One was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll break down my thoughts on different points, but I really don’t have any complaints, which is rare for me for a film, let alone something where I know so many deep background details of the universe like Star Wars.
Plot: We knew what the plot is, they didn’t try to get overly cute with it. It worked really well, it hit on themes of family, redemption like every Star Wars movie. Not much to say here, but was satisfied. It did not just follow a former movie shot for shot or do anything bothersome in that regard. It had its own arc and was satisfying.
Pacing: I am As one would expect from a modern Star Wars movie, lots of action. This had a real feel of being disoriented in a war at times, and that helped push the fast pace of the movie along. I am VERY impatient with movies, I can’t sit for 2 hours. I didn’t look at my phone once, which says a lot.
Characters: Quite a cast of characters. Almost felt like a roleplaying group in a lot of ways. The main villain was a bit mustache-twirly, but they did throw in a couple of lines to try to give him some sort of sensible motivation. On the rag-tag-band of good guys side, I liked everyone. Each had something to add and felt unique/distinct, didn’t ape any prior Star Wars film characters.
Addition to Star Wars Lore: We knew the plot. Did this add anything to the lore? I think so. I honestly think this makes such a good lead in for A New Hope that I would watch these films back to back when revisiting them. It’s really that good.
Effects: the battle scenes in this were even better than Force Awakens. It felt great. I like the way they’ve integrated CGI now to where it feels more real than cartoony. It’s finally stopping bothering me in films. I do wish they went a little lighter on the action scenes because it does feel unrealistic at some points, and the super big explosions and rain of debris and all that are over the top, but such is the perils of modern filmmaking. You’d be hard pressed to find a film these days that doesn’t do that. There are complaints of a couple of the CGI characters all over the internet, that did not throw me out of the film at all and was very well done in my opinion.
Member Berries: Of course, the film had a few moments where you are brought back with nostalgia. Many were comic relief moments. They didn’t throw me out of the film much, there weren’t too many, it wasn’t over the top. It was tasteful, though a couple do stick out. At least through one viewing, they didn’t bother me.
Score: Not John Williams. Not much you can do about that unless it was John Williams. Most of the movie it didn’t bother me, a couple points with call backs I did start to notice the music and wished for John Williams. A valiant effort at least.
And I think that’s about as far as I can go without spoiling the movie. As far as something i didn’t categorize, they did take the setting and create some great feels like WW2 war zones in space, which was pretty cool to watch. I liked the overall feel to the movie quite a bit which is hard to quantify.
Overall, loved it. I hope to see it again!