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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With all the rumours flying about that Disney had interfered with the
creative process on this one, just as when Alderaan blew up - I feared
the worse. Fortunately my fears were unfounded.
Rogue one is as engrossing as it is seamless and while its not perfect it had everything required to make a great movie. I guess everyone has different expectations of Star Wars. The plot which I will only briefly describe involves a group of rebels attempting to secure the plans to the Death Star, the designer of which, having a morale conscience, built the deliberate flaw (The exhaust port which Stewie Darth Vader asked about in Family Guy) so that it could be easily destroyed as long as the information fell into the right hands. This information is contained in an archive and it falls to the daughter of the designer, Jyn Erso, to not only restore her fathers name but get the designs to the rebels who are just itching to get on with events in Episode Four (New Hope) and blow the thing up.
So does it hold up? Well, yes, not only does it hold up I would put this film on par with Empire and also Episode IV and this coming from someone who saw the first film on the silver screen in 1977. Gareth Edwards is a director who understands all the combined elements that make a Star Wars Film great. First a good script with the right mix of drama, action, pathos and humour and above all a story that actually makes sense, secondly good well written, rounded, characters that are interesting, diverse and unique, third great visuals - there's so many memorable shots in this film and so many of them are the shots you always wanted to see, fourth well directed action that looks and feels real, that is tense and that you can follow, fifth - tension, this film has it in spades, Sixth nods and references to the original trilogy - they come in abundance, some are comedic, some pure nostalgia while others are entirely appropriate and work so well within the story. Seventh - real sets, please give me a London Underground station redressed over bland CGI sterile sets any day of the week. Here the technology enhances the story and the tension and at no time tries to substitute for either. It is the perfect mix of live action & CG effects. I have not seen them so well combined since Lord of the Rings.
This is a man who clearly understands his craft of what makes for a great film. I was highly critical of the prequel movies, which really are a masterclass in how not to make a film, here the total opposite is true. I am not a die hard Star Wars fan in any sense and was fully prepared to be very critical of this film, but find it hard to find fault in it anywhere. The supporting cast were especially good here, everyone from Riz Ahmed to Forest Whitaker giving it their all. The new villain of the piece is brilliantly played by Ben Mendelson (Hard to believe this is the kid from The Big Steal!) Donnie Yen's character was beautifully written, I could have watched another movie just about him alone. The cast feels truly international, as any universe should. Many British actors really make their mark in smaller roles including Duncan Pow & Ben Daniels as Rebel Foot Solider and General Pilot respectively while the likes of Sharon Duncan-Brewster & Jonathon Aris as Rebel Senators argue the merits of the attack in a tense conference debate - gone are the boring council meetings of the prequels. Strong drama is the key ingredient of the day. Here the Rebellion is shown as a far more tangible real faction, not everyone agrees with each other, things get messy and sometimes the wrong people are killed - the film even begs to ask the question, how better really are they than the Empire??? - we know of course, but its great to see such shades rather than just plain good and bad guys.
The film contains so many pure Star Wars moments. I have no doubt the Droid (Voiced with skill by Alan Tudky) will become a favourite of many and new aliens and ship designs are not thin on the ground.
Chiefly in the acting credits, plaudits must go to Felicity Jones who plays Jyn with real conviction while Diego Luna avoids a Han Solo portrayal of Cassian, her would be ally and sometimes adversary. The appearances of Vader and Tarkin (Incredible) are entirely warranted and in proportion with the rest of the film.
One or two of the subplot characters are a little underwritten (perhaps deleted scenes and a longer cut will reveal them to be less so) but that really is nit picking, I had no issue with this at all. To juggle so many major and minor characters in a single narrative in a tight running time, for any director is no mean feat and Edwards manages it extremely well.
I have no doubt Edwards had to steer an entire army of Executives in order to deliver the film he wanted. Perhaps one day someone will make a film about that? I have no doubt it would make for quite a story - Whatever were his obstacles, he clearly overcame them. He has done himself and every Star Wars fan proud. Pure class.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rogue One is the first Star Wars film to be set outside the Episodic
Sagas. With that, there was a lot of pressure on it to perform and
launch this new series of Star Wars films.
By far, this is the least kid friendly film. This was at it's core, a war film, something we have never really gotten in the Star Wars universe. With the war theme we got an overall darker tone than we are use to, and it really suited the story they were telling. We never have experienced the war side of Star Wars because the stories have always been focused on a force user rather than the events around them. Because there are no jedi, we got to see more of the Rebellion and the Empire and the battle that is taking place during the original trilogy.
Offsetting the darker tone of the film, I thought this was perhaps the funniest Star Wars film. There are so many one liners and comedic moments that brings a lighter tone to the darker moments. I think much of the comedic moments came from the droid character K2SO. For the most part, he was the comedic relief and because of that, you are drawn to his character and is a stand out.
While still on the cast and characters, I thought they were near perfect. While the characters themselves aren't as fleshed out as we get during the saga films, for the role themselves, they served their purpose. Apart from K2SO, I thought Donnie Yen's character, Chirrut was a close second standout. I really enjoyed his character because of his connection into the Star Wars law.
How much you enjoy Rogue One is, for the most part, going to depend how deep you invested you are into the world of Star Wars. As someone who read Cataylst in the lead up to Rogue One, I felt as though my experience during this film was enhanced so much. There were so many moments that was so much meaningful and heartfelt because I knew the backstory to some of these events and characters. There is also a lot fan service in Rogue One that on paper, it seems like it's too much. But what stood out was that not one of the fan services felt shoed in. All of it felt like it had a place in the movie and should of been there regardless of if it was a fan service moment or not.
Walking out of this film, you are going to be on a high and that is because of the fantastic third act this film has. Rogue One has a third act that will rival that of Return of the Jedi. This is one of the best space battle I have ever seen. While I love the one in Return of the Jedi, personally I rank the opening battle from Revenge of the Sith above it. However, the space battle in Rogue One beats them all. It had the feel that Return of the Jedi brought in their space battle but with the action and visual effects the space battle in Revenge of the Sith.
Stepping back from the space battle, the third act has a terrific ground level fight. This was where the war tone was heavily present. This was a scene we see in a WWII war film but with a Star Wars skin. There's no better way to describe it, and that is a good thing. What really enhanced the war toned ground fight was how well it was edited between the action happening on the ground and the spectacle of a space battle happening above them.
I have to mention Vader. While he isn't in it all that much, when he is, his presence is felt. Without giving so much away, his final scene is perhaps one of my favourite scenes I have ever seen. The short scene alone rivals the Airport scene in Captain America: Civil War for me. It is so exciting that it has the capability to make any major Star Wars fans cry with happiness.
Overall, I loved this movie. This did what it need to do and prove that they can make Star Wars films that isn't all lightsabers and Skywalkers. But what this film does the best is enhance A New Hope. As soon as I walked out the cinema I wanted to go and watch A New Hope. Personally, I really struggle with watching A New Hope but with Rogue One it makes me excited to go back and watch the original Star Wars.
Maybe it's because I had higher expectations for episode VII and almost
none for this one, I feel like this movie managed to achieve what the
other one couldn't.
I'm not saying that it was perfect, but it sure was good enough for me, and it will be good enough for many other die-hard SW fans. Leading female actor wasn't that good in my opinion, but otherwise this movie had everything a SW fan could wish for. Good old characters, good old places, and an overall good old SW feeling. Fits into the story line quite well, CGI was a bold move , could've gone bad, but it played out quite nicely.
Overall I think SW fans will love it, but anybody not deeply immersed in the saga would also enjoy it.
Rogue One was quite awesome, and quite different from the movies that came before. It was frightening, tense, very dark, VERY dirty (literally: maybe Mon Mothma was the only character without a layer of filth make-upped onto her face. And she looked so much like Mothma from ROTJ!) Some differences were somewhat striking, but overall it absolutely felt like a Star Wars movie should feel. Lots of familiar faces to see, super tense and exciting and beautiful. I was SO fortunate to be able to attend the premiere at the Pantages Saturday night, and can't wait to see it again Thursday night! There's never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan!
The strange thing about this movie is that it is more of a war drama
than the sci-fi adventure one might expect from a Star Wars story. It
is dark, it is gritty and the main characters are traumatized and made
homeless by a brutal civil war waged by an oppressive Empire.
Consequently, the main characters don't start out as heroes but turn
into heroes by the choices they make. It is in many ways the most
realistic description ever shown in a Star Wars movie of how ordinary
people become warriors because there isn't much of an alternative but
fight. "The time to fight is NOW!" and the actors do a great job of
conveying that feeling to the audience. Sprinkled in is a fair bit of
humor and comedic relief. We get good creature designs, ample special
effects and a lot of fighting: Ground battle, urban combat, space
engages, close quarter fighting; you name it, they give it to us. And
don't think those fights are Disney squeaky clean. To a degree you get
war in all its nasty brutality. The final result is a good action movie
set in the Star Wars universe. Somewhat lacking in the light saber and
Force aspects a true fan might wish for but still well worth the money
you spend on it.
Go see it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've been an avid Star Wars fan since 1977. I've seen all the live
action films multiple times and even sat through the Holiday Special
and the Ewok spin-offs. I was looking forward to Rogue One and booked
tickets well in advance for the first show of the first day.
I was surprised to find the cinema mostly deserted - especially after the full houses I experienced during the first couple of weeks of The Force Awakens' run.
Having watched all the trailers, TV spots and clips, I had a good idea what to expect and, as the film began, those expectations were justified. This was a more 'grown-up' Star Wars: darker, more violent and morally ambiguous. I was loving it and thinking it might well turn out to be my new favourite Star Wars film.
But... it began to feel very rushed. The action sequences and special effects were superb and there was no doubt this was a film set in the Star Wars universe but characters were being introduced and killed-off at such a pace it was hard to keep up and even harder to care about them. We were whizzed at breakneck pace from planet to planet (complete with some slightly jarring captions to tell us where we were) and then it suddenly began to sag.
As the hastily assembled Rebel crew went on their mission to find Galen I began to lose interest and even found myself nodding off. It was all a bit boring.
The pace soon picked up and I got back into it but I was disappointed with Vader's first appearance and completely distracted by the CGI Tarkin. Vader seemed too small physically, the voice sounded off and the dialogue (especially the final quip) seemed out of character. Resurrecting Peter Cushing in digital form was a brave move but the technology is still not quite there and I began to feel more detached from the plot and characters as I analysed the strangeness of his appearance.
As the film moved to its final act, I was wowed by the visuals but, by now, I had no real interest in the characters and their deaths just came and went with no emotional impact. In fact, my mind was wandering as I noticed more and more how much of the previously released footage wasn't in the final cut of the film - including some of the most spectacular shots such as the TIE fighter looming in front of Jyn on the gantry and the beautiful shot of Krennic striding towards the shore surrounded by the floating bodies of his troops. Rogue One had lost me and was beginning to disappoint.
As Vader made his final appearance I was, at last, feeling some excitement. It was a great scene but... that final shot of CGI Leia was a real 'What? Why? No!' moment. Terrible. Less in this case would definitely have been more.
As the film ended, there was no applause and everybody got up and left immediately, leaving me to watch the credits alone feeling more than a little underwhelmed. It is not a bad film. The design and special effects (CGI human faces not withstanding) are superb. The cast are interesting and do a good job with very limited characterisation. But Rogue One ultimately failed to involve me emotionally in the story or characters and, in the end, it kind of felt like watching somebody else play a beautiful video game.
What a ride. This review will be filled with hyperbole, but I won't
I saw and enjoyed Star Wars: Episode 7 a lot. It wasn't perfect, but it was good, and got me back into Star Wars mode again. Rogue One, however, surprised me in probably being the best Star Wars movie produced in this millennia, and I'm being serious.
First of all, manage your expectations. Rogue One isn't a new type of cinema experience, or unique. It's also a prequel, so the story has somewhere specific it has to end up.
With that in mind, Gareth Edward's movie is pretty close to an instant classic, in my opinion. It doesn't rush along, but give us ample time to get some sense of characters and locations. It doesn't dwell on exposition, other through character, and actual plot.
This is the story about how the rebel alliance acquired the plans for the death star, and it manages to give the plot and characters in A New Hope more meaning, and gravitas.
It's hard to tell why it's so good without spoiling a story that was such a delight to experience unspoiled, so I'll sum it up really, really short:
The only negative things I have to say about Rogue One, is that two CGI characters were 99% perfect instead of 100%. That's actually the reason I withhold my last star out of 10. It'll make sense after you've seen the movie. Other than that, this is everything I hoped for, and then some.
Gareth Edwards and his crew accomplished something I never thought
would be possible: they contributed a great Star Wars film to the Star
Wars saga and canon.
This movie was great as far as Star Wars is concerned. It truly *felt* like a real Star Wars movie, and not a cheap fan service attempt like the Force Awakens was (although the Force Awakens was very fun, it felt like it didn't take Star Wars itself seriously enough).
So what worked with this one? Here's the list:
It felt like a totally believable space fantasy story, and furthermore a totally believable Star Wars story. It clearly was Gareth Edwards doing his own thing with Star Wars but also paying total respect to the path George Lucas originally paved with a New Hope.
At the end of the day this story is a GOOD Star Wars story and it feels like it can be placed alongside the original trilogy in story quality.
2)Not only the story, but the fact it was taken seriously.
Whether you like the Force Awakens or not, you got to admit, it felt a bit cartoony. It didn't feel like a *serious* addition to the Star Wars saga. It felt as if that the people involved certainly liked Star Wars, but in a very fan-servicy sort of way. Everything felt very "fun" in the Force Awakens, but not serious. Rogue One doesn't fall into this trap. It was an amusing and fun ride surely, but the story was clearly priority here.
Furthermore, the story elements and movie went *dark* when it needed to and didn't hold back. If the story needed death, that's what we saw. If it needed to show slaughter and killing, we saw it.
3)No element of Star Wars was abused.
There was no over abuse of lighstabers, the Force, or any old Star Wars characters. Wherever there was any fan service in this movie, it was done VERY tastefully. A respectful nod to the previous movies, but it never went "HEY LOOK HOW COOL THIS IS. THIS IS SOMETHING YOU GUYS LOVE, RIGHT?"
4)The characters and the actors that played them.
Star Wars is never going to be known as a movie with "great acting", but full credit should go to the actors in this edition of Star Wars. They did a great job of bringing life to these characters enough for us to care about them and the action occurring on screen, but not so much that it distracted from the ensemble story.
5)The pacing. This movie was perfect Star Wars pacing. And by perfect Star Wars pacing, I refer to Empire Strikes Back. This was not an overly speedy movie that gave you no time to think, and yet it was not an overly slow and drawn out movie.
6)The tie-in with the original trilogy.
This story takes place before A New Hope. And as much as Rogue One completely does it's own thing and takes its own direction as a standalone film, it *beautifully* ties in with the original series. As I said above, I completely believe and accept this story as great Star Wars material as much as I do George Lucas' original stories.
Overall, this Star Wars film is a 5/5 Star Wars film. I only rate it 7/10 on IMDb because, well, Star Wars is Star Wars and not the Godfather :D. As far as Rogue One stands in movie history, it's a great action movie. But as a Star Wars film it now has a special place in my heart.
My personal new Star Wars top 3 ranking goes as follows: 1)Empire Strikes Back 2)A New Hope 3)Rogue One
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rogue One - another worthless Hollywood cash-in that runs at snails
Die hard fans will obviously find enjoyment in this film - entering the star wars universe again, the stunning visuals, and soundtrack... But look closely at the film itself and there is not a lot on offer.
It starts out with this awfully paced run of throwaway scenes to showcase the main characters in the story - they go far to quick to feel any emotional connection with them later on in the film.
Two large chunks of the film are worthless dialog (that sound like video game instructions) and this 'epic' beach siege at the end that clearly looks like the Atlantis hotel resort in Dubai. Once you see it in your head - you can't take what is going on seriously.
The cast are also not well put together, the main character Jyn Erso is unlikable - half her lines are rushed and predictable and her acting made me cringe. On the other hand the characters - Chirrut Îmwe (blind fighter), Saw Gerrera (dying extremist) and Orson Krennic (Empire deathstar leader) offer some great nuggets of depth but aren't in it enough to justify their full potential.
SPOILERS!!: I did enjoy however the stunning cgi restoration of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin, but when a young cgi of Princess Leia appeared at the end of the film acting as the lead into 'A New Hope' - felt cheap and reinstated the fact that this was a cash-in film and i was stupid enough to fall for it and go see it!!
Rant over! x
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Review Context: I am a genuine Star Wars Fan. My ranking: 'Empire
Strikes Back' 1st. 'A New Hope' 2nd, 'Return of the Jedi' 3rd. All the
other Star Wars movies, including this one, right off the radar.
This one, Rogue One?:
Acting = 0 out of ten. 0.5 for the computer generated characters.
Felicity Jones = minus 1000 out of ten. Why on earth did they put her in it? Her acting is so bad she is simply unwatchable.
Forest Whitaker must have caught something from the other actors, because this was the worst I have seen him. What voice was that? Breathing like Vader? What??
Where is any of the Star Wars magic? None of the star wars movies outside of the original trilogy even touch the same soul, and spiritual mysticism, magic and excitement. This felt like a waste of time. I could have written a better story and script myself. This was so disjointed, no continuity, I squirmed and shuffled in my seat in agony.
One blind dude who can sort of use the Force? What a bore. His acting was almost as bad as Felicity Jones'. "I am one with the force.. nuh, nuh, nerrr" no you're not.
I couldn't understand Diego Luna's dialogue, nor many of the other actors. What was the point in the robot? Misfiring comedy was the final nail in the coffin of this tripe.
"I have a bad feeling about this..".. again?! Really? How wincingly weak can you make it?
The dialogue between Darth Vader with Orson was inanely boring and erratic from the first line, I switch off and wondered if I'd left the heating on at home. They couldn't even get the electronic tone right. The original trilogy had you on the edge of your seat with every line Vader spoke.
Ben Mendelsohn as Orson, was terribly mis-cast, his voice, like many of the other characters was sharp and hysterical, with no conviction.
What happened to the music?! No love put into it, no excitement generated at ALL! Awful. Just keep the Star Wars theme until the end credits?! Why bother?
Action: the wobbly hand-held first person is way too old hat, and doesn't work. Whose firing on who and... why? Non-consequential blasting for the sake of it.
The last battle at the end had some hope, then it just threw in some Walkers, and some other things we might recognize, to help it sustain some resemblance to 'star wars. Some climbing, falling in a futuristic tunnel..
Then there was a sudden rush to tie in the ending with the start of 'A New Hope', which culminated with Disney animated Princess Leah taking the Death Star plans? She seemed so much more involved than to just pay such weak homage to her & just at the end? Why do that? How irritating, like the rest of the movie. Star Wars stupidly destroyed.
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