Hi there good people, just fyi: there be spoilers ahead.
As you may or may not have known I did not see Rogue One when it came out in theaters.
My dollars are my best form of protest and I shan’t share them with people whom I don’t care for so much. Like Roman Polanski or Woody Allen or EJO (google that one when you have a minute).
Anyhoo, I finally got around to seeing Rogue One and I watched it with an open mind because, duh, Star Wars.
I loved the graphics, they aren’t perfect when it comes to Grand Moff Tarkin or Princess Leia but I think they both were a great addition to the movie, and I’d love to see way more of that. If Princess Leia was such a huge part of the Rebel alliance then I’d like to see more of her in this movie proving it.
Similar to CGI Young Tony Stark in Civil War and CGI Young Michael Douglas in Ant Man, the technology is right there and I’d much rather see CGI characters I care about than new characters I have no attachment to.
And really that lack of attachment is what drives my luke (HA!) warm feeling for this movie.
I like the way it started, felt for young Jyn Erso’s plight in the first few minutes of Rogue One. But she has no midi-chlorian count so she really isn’t the one they care so much about right? No, they really just want her pops, Galen Erso, because they need to hurry up and finish that pesky Death Star. So they can either go peaceably with the bad man and stay together as a family OR! they can send the kid to a hiding place after she watches her mother get pew pew’d to death for no real good reason. She waits in the hiding place, alone with no food for who knows how long until Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) shows up and takes her to God knows where.
So that’s how it started off for me. Irrational thinking on the mom’s part, gets herself killed, the dad still goes to work for the Empire and the adorable little girl (who actually does have a stormtrooper doll she plays with, so how bad can the empire be really?) ends up an adult in an Empire prison system 15 years or so later.
Why not use flashbacks to show us how she got where she is, just something to endear us to her more than “Hey she’s pretty and can fight like a badass.” Early on in the movie a higher up from the Rebel alliance reads off an interesting list of crimes Jyn has been accused of. Awesome! Show me some of those things. Show me something about what happened to her in those last 15 years. I want to like her but for fuck’s sake give me a reason.
Next we get introduced to Cassian Andor. Lucky enough to have an informant with insider-Empire information who knows important things about the Death Star, I would think that would be an informant for whom the Rebel Alliance would be grateful. One whom they would protect at all costs. Nah, Cassian shows up way late to the meeting, so late in fact that the guy is short on time before he gets discovered. The (injured!) informant pleads with him “Walk with me!” because he is willing to share his information, but he’s got to get the hell out of Dodge and his ride ain’t gonna wait. Cassian doesn’t care and keeps stalling him, a couple Imperials show up and Cassian just shoots them, causing a ruckus that draws even more attention their way. He then shoots the informant instead of helping him out of that hell hole. LOL whatevs, Cassian gets out safe and sound though.
So here we are, second main character in and not only do I have no attachment to him, but I think he’s a bit of a dick.
I want to LOVE the good guys so hard. That’s the way it should be. Root for the underdog, rail against the establishment, Maaaaaaan. But In the first 15 minutes of the movie neither side did anything particularly virtuous.
Even when we meet the comic relief character, K-2SO [a droid voiced by Alan Tudyk] he’s a bit of a prick. Come on now. Anyway, K claims they are rescuing Jyn, but it’s really more of a kidnapping. They want her to help them contact Saw Gerrera. If she refuses they threaten to send her right on back to that labor camp. Dick move. Eventually they let her know that somehow she is the only one who can get to Saw because he kills everyone else that comes near him? But what about the hundreds of people he has working for him? You can’t maybe make a deal with one of them?
Their explanation is shitty, but because if she doesn’t help she doesn’t get her freedom, she says “Okie doke.” Right before she and Cassian leave to find Saw, Cassian is called back and told that he should just go ahead and kill Jyn’s dad. Fuck him and his information. The Rebel Alliance makes terrible decisions in this movie.
Let’s stop here for a minute — all of the above happens in the first 17 minutes or so of a movie that is over two hours long. Your first twenty minutes really should endear you to someone, anyone. Instead it made me hate almost everyone. Again, I would have liked to know more about Jyn but that didn’t happen.
The best characters for me were introduced about a half hour in. Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus. If only every other character had been so likeable so quickly, then I’d be in Star Wars heaven.
I want a series of movies just based on them. Mad amounts of impressive martial arts, light sabers and blaster rifles PLUS comic relief. These are the types of Star Wars characters I know and love and these are the types of characters I expect to have more of in a Star Wars movie.
Whenever one or both of these gentlemen were on the screen I knew I’d get a snippet of greatness that would satisfy my urge for Star Wars nostalgia way more than just about anything else.
Moving on — At some point after the Rebel Alliance once again disappoints everyone involved in the movie some defector volunteers led by Cassian come forward to help Jyn extract the Death Star plans from an Imperial facility on Scarif. Other than Cassian, these defectors are a rag tag bunch of guys WE HAVE NEVER MET BEFORE, yet I think we are supposed to like them — because redemption. Uh, no.
So things lead to more things, there’s a lot of shoot ’em up action, and yada yada yada, the Death Star Plans make their way to Leia and the Death Star is used to destroy the Empire’s own facility and just about everyone involved in this movie.
Look, I’m well aware that a lot of you loved this movie. I did not.
Here’s my TLDR:
The Good: Graphics were great. The sneaking in of beloved characters from the original series is perfect! Yes I heard Wedge Antilles say “Yes Sir!” to the soon-to-be-blown-to-bits senator from Alderaan. Gold and Red Leader Footage from back in the day, perfect!
The Bad: When it came to most of the characters in this movie, if I may quote the late great comic genius Kevin Meaney, “I don’t care.”
The Ugly: They killed off that awesome kung fu Jedi and his rifle toting friend instead of somehow making them their own franchise. That is unforgiveable.
So, yeah, if you made it this far into this post, then you are a wonderful person who deserves some sort of reward for your effort. Head on over to amazon and find yourself a free song or a free kindle book and pretend I gave either or both to you.
‘Til next time, keep on keepin’ on.