Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rogue One Review

Remember long ago, when Star Wars never came to the theater?  We would wait years for the possibility of a sequel or prequel.  Then eventually we gave up hope ever seeing another big screen version again.

But things have changed.  Disney gave us a new hope.  Last year they released The Force Awakens, and now this year we have Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Way back in 1977, Star Wars (aka A New Hope, aka Episode IV) was released in theaters.  This is where the franchise first began, telling the epic story of a boy, a girl and a Death Star.  One of the important elements of this movie was the plans to destroy said Death Star.

But where did those plans come from?  I'm glad you ask!  Because even if you didn't want to know, Disney is going to tell you about it anyway.  Rogue One is essentially Star Wars Episode 3.9, giving creators plenty of room to write episode 3.1 - 3. 8.  And realistically, I'm sure as you read this, someone is working on a novelization of Episode 3.95.

If you recall this time last year, I was not a huge fan of The Force Awakens (aka Episode VII).  As the kids say, it was "aight".  Visually it was nice with some cool moments, but for the most part, the story felt like an elaborate re-hash of A New Hope with some fairly shallow characters.  And, if you know anything about me, my opinion of the movie's director, (J.J. Abrams) is fairly low *COUGH*overrated*COUGH* (read all about it here).

So you can imagine my curious anticipation to see director Gareth Edwards involved.  For the most part, I was not disappointed with his efforts!  Some scenes were a bit muddy and dark, but he also included many visually amazing moments with action you could follow, without resorting to a shaky cam or lens flare! *gasp*  I also loved getting to see some new worlds in this universe like Jedha and the tropical Scarif.  And just watching ships launch and dogfight in space was very cool.  Even the ground fights were fun to watch.

My biggest concern going in, was this would be a very dark, uncomfortable war story.  At it's core it is, but they remind us, it takes place in the Star Wars universe, so they know how to make it exciting as well.  There were definitely a few clap and cheer moments to appreciate.

The story presents us with a lot of new characters although, some of them are a bit forgettable.  For myself, I mostly appreciated K-2S0 (Alan Tudyk), Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), and of course Chirrut (Donnie Yen).  However, this is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor's (Diego Luna) movie, and they did pretty decent too.

But other than a few dark, murky scenes and some extraneous characters, I can't find much wrong.  If I'm nitpicking, I would complain about Vader's appearance.  He didn't seem as tall and narrow as he should.  But I'll just imagine he did some binge eating before the movie, then a quick Force workout before the events in Episode IV. 

Did this story need to be told?  Was all the fan service really necessary?  Of course not!  But it really looked cool, especially for fans.  Trust me, you'll be very happy.

And if you've never seen a Star Wars movie before, what rock have you lived under??  But this is a very good place to begin before seeing Episode IV. 

What about Episode I - III you ask?
Those are not the movies you're looking for...