Kim, Connor, and I finally made it to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The general consensus by fans and reviewers has been extremely positive. I don’t think I can really argue that point.
Rogue One was, first and foremost, entertaining, at least as a war movie. My wife wasn’t interested at all. She felt there was no emotional hook, and on that, I agree. But as an action movie, and as a piece of nostalgia, it worked.
FOREWARNED — HERE BE SPOILERS
Let’s break things down a bit —
Yeah, well, the Third Act really, particularly the dogfights. I was really invested in seeing proper X- and Y-Wings in action and all that. I was not disappointed.
The pace. Yes, pacing can really make or break a movie and I thought the director did a great job of keeping all the pieces moving. Even when the plot was a bit askew, the story pressed forward, never lingering long enough for any serious harm.
The acting was solid throughout and the special effects were, mostly, outstanding.
I liked the characters quite a bit. I thought they were fleshed out enough for what they were asked to do. K-2SO was a highlight, really. Alan Tudyk’s delivery was spot on, with great comedic timing. And, like everyone else, I thought Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen were terrific. They made an excellent team.
All the call backs and Easter Eggs to A New Hope, especially Ponda Baba and Colonel Evaza, Red & Gold Leader, and did I see Biggs Darklighter?
Michael Giacchino is one of my favorite composers. His soundtrack for LOST is one of my most important writing aids, and his recent turn at scoring Doctor Strange cemented his work for me. But Rogue One’s music felt flat and lifeless. There were moments, usually taking their cues from John Williams’ legendary work, but overall, it didn’t work.
Saw Gerrera. Yeah, he didn’t really work either, mainly because of STORY.
Yes, the THIRD ACT was stellar, but the plot leading up to that desperate battle, and the first victory of the Rebellion, was really rough around the edges, held together only by good direction and acting from all involved. Pity the writing couldn’t have been a touch better.
Look, it was a bloody thrill to see Tarkin and Leia. It really was. And I forgive the inadequate CGI, but let’s be honest, it wasn’t good. Tarkin was slightly better than Leia, but we are still a few years away from seamlessly integrating CGI and RL Characters.
Okay, Vader gets his own talking points, because he was the best thing about the movie.
The Good? Easy enough. Vader, physically, was a menace and awesome presence. It was nice to have one of the greatest movie villains of all time returned to his former glory.
The absolute best thing, hands down, in the movie was the Dark Lord walking through those Rebel soldiers during the film’s climax.
I also really dug Castle Vader on the planet Mustafar.
The Bad? Not enough. Not nearly enough. Giving Vader even more of a presence in the movie would have gone a long way to erasing some of the first two acts’ issues.
The Ugly? James Earl Jones. His voice acting was flat and uninspired.
So where does Rogue One rank
in the Star Wars TV/Movie Canon?
1. Star Wars
2. The Empire Strikes Back
3. The Clone Wars
5. Rogue One
6. The Force Awakens
7. Star Wars Holiday Special
(Boba Fett Animated Feature)
8. Revenge of the Sith
9. Return of the Jedi
10. The Phantom Menace
11. Attack of the Clones
I’ve been a fan from day one, obviously. In May of 1977, I was two months past my 11th birthday. Star Wars was my everything. It was the first movie I saw by myself, sitting in a packed house, staring up at the screen from the first row, last seat on the right side of the theatre. I was spellbound.
I bought the toys, hung up the posters, collected the trading cards, read the comic books and novelizations, and drank from the K-Mart Frozen Coke plastic collectible glasses.
I have watched the franchise spiral out of control. But nothing could ever diminish the joy I felt watching that movie for the very first time. The third act of Rogue One rekindled a little bit of that… Now I’m just waiting for someone to stitch the ending of Rogue One together with the beginning of the now-called New Hope.
Come on, Internet. Make that happen. Just be sure to edit out the opening scrawl.