https://plus.google.com/+LeonardBalsera/posts/WdGU5w8tZup -- and speaking of which, critical is welcome here but hatin' is not.and I saw Rogue One today, which means I'm ready to discuss spoiler-y stuff (in the comments.) But if you want a spoiler-free critical yet appreciative review, check out 's post:
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- From my friend Damien Duffy:22w
- First, the non-spoiler impressions: it was a fun, exciting action movie for the holidays. It also explored a mode or tone we had not scene much in the previous Star Wars movies, a WWII feel. It had another great cast of characters, new interesting locations, beautiful cinematography and CG. I adored Alan Tudyk as the voice of droid K-2S0, and loved the rest of the casting -- so many great actors.
Now, spoiler space.
Despite exploring a darker tone, the movie fails to be a grown-up movie; it's still a big kid/adolescent fantasy. We were brought within sight of considering moral questions such as:
- Aren't the Rebels/Alliance terrorists? If they are, does that make them the "bad guys"? If they're "good guys," what does that say about our real-world rebels?
- Conversely, are the Empire forces just loyal military personnel doing their job to pacify the Galaxy?
- Given that droids seem pretty damn sentient, how ethical is it to use them as forced labour? To (re)program them to the point that they are willing to be destroyed for their (original or new) masters?
And yet we didn't quite make it there. We just stood there, getting a glimpse. The movie itself never explored any of these questions, except to let us know that Saw Gerrera's methods were getting too much Imperial attention for the Alliance Council's taste.
I appreciated that we touched on the concept of redemption for working for the oppressor (Bodhi Rook the pilot), for knowingly doing dirty deeds for the cause (Cassian Andor the Rebel spy), or even for failing to protect their assigned charge (Chirrut Imwe the blind temple guard). But these too we barely glimpsed. (K-2S0 the reprogrammed Imperial droid doesn't get the benefit of free will of course, so his sacrifice is rendered meaningless.)
I enjoyed the amount of ethnic diversity... among humans, anyway, but the gender balance was awful. Yes, I know the main character is a woman, I noticed, thanks. But aside from Jyn Erso we get a few exchanges with Mon Mothma, a glimpse of Jyn's mother Lyra, another of Senator Pamlo, and that's it for interaction scenes. We also get a a few pilot voices and one pilot face during the final battle, which I suspect were added in post-production since we don't see women among the rag-tag Rebel pilot group scenes (that my eye could catch, anyway, and I was searching for them.)
Finally, the plot seems to have been pruned into shape like a topiary. For example, the visit to the planet where zyber is being processed and Galen Erso is designing super-weapons is completely unnecessary for the story, except as an opportunity to see Cassian balk at his orders. It's visually quite interesting, but it makes zero sense. Heck, why is everybody running out of the secure facility protected by half a mountain to play-act on the balcony in the rain? This left me wondering whether the entire plot section had been shifted around at some point during the making of the movie.
Another example: the original trailer suggested that Jyn was already a rebel sympathizer, acting on her own ("I rebel!") but in the final version, she is dragged into this because of her father's role, then wants to walk away like a Corellian smuggler. It's Saw who talks her into continuing, but by the time she goes back to Yavin IV, she's committed enough to give inspirational speeches.
Don't get me wrong, I had fun and I enjoyed the movie, but when a friend says she felt about it like she did after Fury Road: hell no, girl. We have very different tastes in movies.22w
- Oh, and I wanted to spend more time learning about Bodhi, Chirrut, Baze, K-2S0 and Cassian, and somewhat less of shooting, much as I love my space battles.22w
- I cried when Chirrut died and Baze walked out in his blaze of glory.22w
- I loved it, completely bought into the plot as I was watching it - but the lack of women thing bothered me.22w
- I liked it quite a bit. One of my takeaways from it is that I don't know the names of any of the characters who didn't appear in other movies. I don't know if it's because they chose names that aren't that memorable, or what, but I suspect it's because all the characters were flat archetypes and didn't matter as people.22w
- I forgot to mention something I loved about the writing: there was no "chosen one" plot involved. Every hero was someone who busted their tail for a cause they believed in.22w