Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

rogue12016.98: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story  (Cinema)

Frak me, this film was terrible. Awful.

Nah. I’m kidding.

Now, this is how to make a Star Wars movie. It isn’t perfect, there’s a few missteps that mean it’s some way short of greatness, but its a hell of a Star Wars movie. Infact, I haven’t seen one as good as this since 1980- it’s the Star Wars film we’ve been waiting for since The Empire Strikes Back. Its the film that Return of the Jedi deliberately wasn’t, that the prequels weren’t, and The Force Awakens failed to be. What I’m trying to get at is that, well, Rogue One feels authentic. Genuinely ‘Star Wars’ in a way that only the 1977 and 1980 films really were.

Instantly all my gripes about The Force Awakens being a contrived and nervous attempt at rebooting a franchise that doesn’t need rebooting rather than simply continuing, are simply forgotten with this beauty. I came out of the screening buzzing like a twelve year old back in 1978. I knew it wasn’t perfect but man, I’ll forgive every misstep because what a great Star Wars film it is. Genuine Star Wars. Surely there’s no better praise than that. It even possibly revitalises watching Star Wars: A New Hope in future- a hell of an achievement. What a great two-parter/double-bill these two films will make on Blu-ray someday.The writers even managed to put to rest the old joke about how lousy the Empire’s engineers were for building a space station with a dodgy exhaust port. After near-forty years that old joke is finally done.

As usual, I’ll leave spoilers out of this so will keep details vague. I’ll turn to spoilerific details in a few weeks maybe, as it’s best that people see this film knowing as little as possible. I must point out that I deliberately avoided the last few trailers as each successive trailer was clearly revealing too much- what is it with the marketing boys these days, can’t they just tease anymore? As I have already pointed out, the film isn’t perfect, but it nails the look and sound of Star Wars, has so many nods and treats for Star Wars fans, particularly of the original trilogy, that it feels like the perfect Christmas present for someone like me. Fan service isn’t always a bad thing. I didn’t even really mind the rather contentious (apparently) issue of bringing back a Star Wars character (or two) using cgi. It just felt right, and even if it isn’t quite a resounding success (the tech clearly isn’t quite there yet) the kid inside me just reveled at the sheer audacity of it. In a narrative sense it works and its dynamic is one of those things that likely will add to rewatching A New Hope.

Rogue One is a great Star Wars film- the Star Wars film I had given up on ever seeing (especially after The Force Awakens). Wow-  Disney, you turned me around. Keep the anthology films as good as this and the Star Wars franchise will run and run and that $4 billion will seem like small change.

Yep. I really liked it.




9 thoughts on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

  1. I keep feeling like I need more distance to judge / digest these new Star Wars movies — I guess it’s so iconic that any addition isn’t readily computable in one go, at least for me. I did enjoy Rogue One though, even if it has some clear flaws. How big they are I’m not sure. Nonetheless, I may write something longer about it in the next couple of days.

    1. Hmmm, yes, time will tell I guess. Its hard not to be swept away though from the sheer relief of it feeling so ‘proper’ Star Wars, and some of the neat things they did- like the Red and Gold leaders from A New Hope featuring prominently during the space battle- just made it feel like a film genuinely made for the fans. I really didn’t mind much of the fan service, and my only real issues with the film at present are really concerning the pacing of the first half of the film. It felt a little sluggish, but the pay-off of the last 50 minutes or so, which is possibly the best 50 minutes of any Star Wars film other than maybe TESB, just made me ready to forgive almost anything.

      And I for one even enjoyed Tarkin. I kept muttering WTF under my breath, I couldn’t believe they had the nerve to even try it. And I suspect that although it looked a little ‘off’ on the big screen, it might look better down on a tv screen.

      1. I thought the fan service was very well judged — it’s subtle enough that more casual viewers won’t even notice it but fans will delight in it, which is pretty much the perfect balance.

        I agree that the early parts of the film are its biggest issue. It looks like the reshoots were focused on the climax, which is interesting — reshoots get such a bad rep, but maybe that’s what made it so good?

  2. Matthew McKinnon

    I’m afraid I had many, many serious problems with it, and I don’t think seeing it in Laser IMAX is going to fix that. I don’t want to go into a big rant about it because different strokes and all that.

    But… suffice to say I went in at then end of a wonderful dreamy nostalgic afternoon, fully prepared to enjoy it – and was so ground down by the dreariness of the first hour that I never really recovered much interest by the time the massive space battle arrived to liven things up.

    I also have a hard time with the ‘there was nothing original’ line people trot out about TFA, when so much of this film was just familiar material being recycled, but people are going mad for it. I mean, this is the 4th Death Star film!

    There were lots of little things that kept me chuckling throughout – particularly, as you say, the pilots from ANH turning up, along with Geraldine James OBE, but overall it was a bit of a slog.
    That Edwards – he really is the kiss of death.

    1. Its funny what works for some and not others, eh? I agree the pacing has issues in the first half. I guess the real test is on a second and third viewing, where things like that can grate but I really, really enjoyed it this first time. Even returning to the Death Star was fine- certainly better than that stupid planetkiller nonsense in TFA. Most fun I’ve had with a Star Wars film in many years.

      And you know, its good that its actually divisive and people have issues with it. Its doing something right I think if some SW fans like yourself aren’t convinced. No doubt TESB had a similar effect on many. Its in my top three SW films for now, so it was right up my street. If only the score was better.

  3. I liked it as well. Didn’t love it, but it was fine I guess. I saw it two times and it won a lot on the second viewing. You already know the characters and in your mind compensate the at times poor character development.

    Can’t wait for Rogue Two and their explanation for the design flaws in the second Death Star 😉

    1. Ha, I hadn’t thought of that- some studios would have greenlit that in a heartbeat. Hopefully Disney/Lucasfilm will treat Star Wars with more care. But never say never in Hollywood!

      1. Disney does care a great deal about Star Wars, just have a look at the talent they keep hiring. The cast for the Han Solo film is stellar so far and the new faces on TFA were a breeze of fresh air. I’m only curious what’s coming after Ep9. Will we get another sequel trilogy? Or will they open a whole new chapter apart from the Skywalker family? Possibilities are endless. Or maybe they’re gonna hit the TV market with some live action series, just like they did with Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Luke Cage etc. exciting times!

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