Thoughts About Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
This is not a preview or review. This article is meant as discussion, and is only meant for those who have already seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and are interested in reading and commenting.
Overall I thought Rogue One was great and I’m already looking forward to seeing it again. As expected, it felt just a little less simplistic than most of the main storyline Star Wars films, it felt a little more “gritty”, and the settings felt a little bit more “lived-in”.
I really liked the opening with Jyn Erso as a child. One problem I’ve always had with Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace is that (in my opinion), the opening with young Anakin was too “light”. I didn’t really feel like he was a slave. I didn’t fear for him or really feel that he was in danger. And this makes the character feel flat and cartoony. This sequence in Rogue One had feeling to it. It felt more plausible. Most movie storylines are far-fetched; if they were too realistic, they’d be boring, right? But at least if there was a conflict like this, involving a kid of this age, I think it could possibly go down this way.
I’m curious to know what others thought about the computer-generated faces that were used for Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia. As well-done as these were, they really stuck out for me, I found them to be distracting and interruptive to the story. I have no problem with almost any kind of animation in film, but I guess when something is this close to looking real, but not quite enough to completely look real, it’s one of those things that takes me out of the story and reminds me that I’m watching a movie. I trust that the filmmakers made the best choice available here; I have to believe that on a film of this scale that they must have shot these few sequences with live actors that were very similar-looking to the actors who originally played these parts. It was exciting to see these faces, and they’re really well done, really close, but next to real actors, real live action, these still looked to me like they stepped out of a cinematic from a video game.
I loved seeing Vader. I liked that he had his mask and suit off and we got a glimpse of that when we first see him. It was an even better surprise when he dispatched some rebel troops with his lightsaber and the force. A rare glimpse of the relentless Darth Vader in action. I’m glad that the filmmakers were able to have him get into a bit of tense action without trying too hard to tie directly to the first sequences of A New Hope; I love the original Star Wars film as much as anyone, but when I re-watch it, one thing that bums me out a little is how much Vader gets his dander up in the first sequences he’s in. He’s formidable and intimidating, but the level to which he yells at the rebels and his own henchmen makes him seem a bit less in-control than the powerful-but-frighteningly-calm Darth Vader we see later in that film and then in others. “You are in command now, Admiral Piett.”
I liked the amount of the force and Jedi lore that was involved in the story. I was telling a friend recently that I really like Star Wars stories that have a fair amount of the force as central to the story, and I was afraid there wouldn’t be much in Rogue One, or possibly even any. I liked what was done with the blind monk warrior character, and though he was not a Jedi, he certainly made it clear to us that he believed in the force, and while it wasn’t necessarily obeying his commands, it did seem to surround him and protect him to some extent. I also appreciated that Kyber crystals were mentioned enough to make sense, just enough to intrigue those of us that would notice, not so much that it felt like an overabundance of pseudoscience (ahem, Midichlorians).
I thought the ending scenes of the film were awesomely exciting, and dramatic. What a strong finish, what a climax, I can’t remember such a good crescendo and ending in any film I’ve seen recently.
There’s a lot more to discuss for sure. But these are my initial reactions. Drop us a comment – what parts of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story really stood out for you?