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Film Review – Rogue One

Good evening everyone! Just got back from seeing Rogue One and I gotta say, I’m excited to be doing this spoiler free review of this movie. Let’s jump into this head first and very minor spoiler in this review.

Everyone who knows me well knows how much of a sci-fi fan I am. My love of the future is untamed in my breast and I’m looking forward to all the joys of the future. Self Driving cars, cyborg bodies, robots, space ships. Give me it all. I want it. So naturally there’s a few movies I’m looking forward to this year. Rogue One has long been on my radar of movies I was going to see. The other is Passengers. And I can’t wait to see that one either. Though I might cringe a little on that one, but it looks promising.

So the first thing to note about this Star Wars feature is that it’s not really a Star Wars flick. Not in the standard way we’ve come to think of Star Wars movies and after watching this I can say without a doubt that this is not a typical Star Wars movie and that is a breath of fresh air to the series. We have no John Williams for our music, but we still have our grand sweeping epic orchestral music. There are subtle nods to what Mr. Williams has provided for us over the last few decades and you can hear it teased in a lot of the themes for this movie. Honestly I don’t feel the sweeping orchestral music was a good fit for this piece. Hear me out. This is essentially a spy movie set in the Star Wars movie and you kind of expect a certain type of music for your spy flick. Look at a Bond score and you’ll see kind of the same notes and patterns and they get carried into most spy flicks. Oh sure there are some very epic battle scenes in this. And here is where I will give away one minor spoiler. The man in the slick suede suit that’s black like tar needed more line. The last action scene could have, and SHOULD HAVE, been extended like another 5 to 10 minutes. I wouldn’t have cared at all because it was Darth Vader. I love the villains, more so because Vader is pretty much the typical Fallen Paladin and is supposed to be a full cycle of rising to the heavens and then crashing to hell. Its sad it didn’t really happen in the prequels but the original trilogy managed to make you invested in the Empire’s black fisted general.

The first few minutes of this movie are confusing and we do several scene shifts which to my knowledge really don’t serve much of a purpose other than to give us new names and locations in the Star Wars universe. It’s not like there aren’t billions of planets in the darn series. So a few more planets aren’t going to make an impact in my mind for Star Wars. Luckily they avoid Tatooine in this movie. I’m also very glad that this has the theme of Empire and it’s self contained. This is a very much one and done movie and that’s good. There are too many movies that are planning to have sequels and that has polluted our entertainment options.

So we have a bunch of new characters that honestly they’re a lot more compelling than what we saw in Force Awakens. I honestly don’t really care about Finn or Rei. Maybe because I’ve already seen that story before I’m less vested in Rei and Finn. But these characters are new, granted some of their motivations are a bit dodgy but they still on the whole feel a lot more compelling to be with. I liked our robot sidekick in this movie and I think it was nice to portray him differently than the typical protocol droid. His snark isn’t quite as bad as HK-47 from the Knights of the Old Republic but it was refreshing. I would never have a robot that was so subservient as C-3P0. If I’m blasting around the galaxy I want a willing companion to be by my side, not a slave. I’m not into that. Of course that sort of puts me on the side of IG-88A from the expanded universe and the wanting to ensure that Robots aren’t subservient, of course IG-88 and it’s siblings wanted to destroy all organic life, so they’re very much like Terminators and there’s only so much coexistence you can have with a creature who wants to utterly ruin your society.

Now as far as technology, just like all the other prequel movies, the tech is far too advanced when you consider that A New Hope is 18 years, give or take, after Revenge of the Sith. This could be fixed quickly by just republishing or making a remake of episode IV with updated tech. That was always what got me about the Knights of the Old Republic games. The tech was way beyond what we saw in the original trilogy. And this is an example of the technology we have to make things now. But even if you read the books you never really get a scale of the advancements in the Star Wars universe. From a tech stand point Star Wars is really very backwards. I’m a fan of Star Wars because of it’s Space Opera nature, but when it comes to tech I’m going to always side with Star Trek. You can see a real progression tech wise in Star Trek which is neat.

This movie very much wanted to be a war movie and a spy flick all in one and it did a pretty decent job of both. But in no way is this a Star Wars movie. It just doesn’t fit the format of the last 7 movies that have been produced. They’re going to be making a Han Solo movie and I wonder if it’s going to be more like Rogue One or if it’ll be more like the series we have going forward. I’ll admit I’m not a huge Solo fan. I never really cared for him. He wasn’t really all that interesting a character to me. Now how Fett and Solo crossed in the expanded universe was where I cared. I’m sure they’ll make a Fett movie and I’m actually dreading that. Because I don’t want to remember Fett as a clone from the 2nd movie. I really don’t. I hate the idea that they cloned Boba from Jango Fett. It was always a bit of a mystery of his origin and I liked that. It seems like no writer in Hollywood likes to leave a mystery. They have to have an Easter Egg or a reveal somewhere. I’m not going to be shocked to find out that the Mon Calmari in this movie, spoiler they have aliens on the rebellion side, is related to Admiral Ackbar. I’m just glad that the admiral that is in this movie is not Thrawn.

I would have cried, legitimately cried, if this bad guy was supposed to be Grand Admiral Thrawn. I, like so many star wars fans, felt that Heir to the Empire should have been the 7th Star Wars movie but luckily this is just some other Grand Admiral that they needed for the movie. And I’m OK with that. I’m OK that this is a one and done movie that ties up completely in the time allotted. I’m glad that we have a new cast to work with and I’m glad with the story. This was a very good popcorn flick and I highly recommend you go watch it when you get a chance. There’s no danger that people won’t see this. It’s Star Wars. The name Star Wars will bring people out in droves to see a movie. The theater I went to see it at was mostly empty, I went to see it in the middle of the day on Friday out in the boonies so there was no fear I wasn’t going to be able to see it. My only regret about this movie was that I didn’t see it in IMAX or 3D. This is one of the few movies I think would have looked awesome in either format, but because the theater isn’t IMAX and because they don’t make 3D goggles or 3D clip ones I don’t go see 3D movies. Maybe someday they’ll make something for those of us who wear glasses 24/7 but until then I’ll just lament the fact I don’t have 20/20 vision.

Incorrigibly yours,

J. E. Flint

Published inFilm Review