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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Rogue One

(Gareth Edwards)




Rogue One has the difficult task of being the first Star Wars spin-off and having a story that doesn't revolve around any previously known Star Wars characters. Add onto that, the fact that we already know the outcome of this story. So how do we care for a story and characters when we know the ending? Rogue One tries to answer these questions and more and actually delivers something a little different for the series.

The Empire is building a powerful weapon that can destroy planets and the rebels are losing time. Fearing the end to the cause, a rogue group of rebels take it upon themselves to strike first and steal the plans to the Death Star, which details a small weakness purposely built into the system.

Even though I sat there knowing full-well that those death star plans make it into the hands of Princess Leia, then to R2-D2, then to the rebel alliance, which leads to Luke blowing up the Death Star.....I still found myself enthralled with Rogue One. There is a lot to digest here, so let's dig in.

First, the film starts off slow and weak. We jump from planet to planet to get our bearings and are introduced to a few characters that will eventually lead the story. One such character is Cassian Andor, a rebel who first hears about this weapon. He's tasked with leading Jyn Erso to help find her father, the man who helped build the Death Star. Despite both Diego Luna and Felicity Jones being good actors, I felt a little disconnected with their characters here. Which is a shame because they are suppose to be the core emotional pull for the audience. It's their sacrifice and determination that is suppose to corral the viewers behind this team and while they try, I never felt like they really hit it high enough.

Even though I was let down with their work in this film, two other characters more than make up for it. Donnie Yen's Chirrut and Alan Tudyk's K-2SO steal the show. Yen's trust in the force makes him a weapon of mass destruction despite being blind. He has numerous "kick- ass" scenes that brought a smile to my face....the man has a stick for crying out loud. Then we have Tudyk, the comic relief. His android is above and beyond more interesting and tolerable than previous tall androids from the series. Yes, C-3PO is annoying. Here K-2SO is given a winning personality and Tudyk runs with it. It doesn't hurt that he knows how to take out some Stormtroopers as well.

Ben Mendelssohn is always reliable when you need him to look menacing and play up the villain role. He does so here, to great effect. The one cast member who totally blows it though and is hilariously awful is Forrest Whittaker. I'm not sure what he was thinking when he decided to play up this character, but he ruins all the scenes he is in. He brings the film down a few pegs and is one of the main reasons why the first half of this film is rather weak. Things eventually pick up and the film finishes strong. A much better second half, which takes the film into a more war like genre, creates suspense, thrills and genuine excitement to see space battles again.

So where does this film fall on the Star Wars scale? Well, it certainly is better than the prequels and some might even say better than Force Awakens, but I feel that some hardcore fans will feel a little put off by Rogue One. It feels different. It's more depressing, more action and chaos oriented. No jedi and even no John Williams. This is the first film not scored by John Williams. It's noticeable, not bad in any way, just noticeable. No opening crawl text either. I can see these small things rubbing those hardcore fans the wrong way, but do not be alarmed, this film is entertaining and worth the watch.

Ever since Benjamin Button was able to digitally make Brad Pitt look like he's in his twenties again, films have been using this to their advantage. They have not perfected it yet, people still look a little weird when digitally altered. Rogue One does this with some key characters, mainly Grand Moff Tarkin. Great to see the man in this film and it looks pretty decent as well. Sometimes though, it might take you out of the film experience. Then we have another classic character pop up, Darth Vader. Anyone who has seen the trailers know he's here. His screen time is limited...but the second time he shows up is probably the best scene involving Darth Vader in the entire series. Bold statement, but everything about the sequence was so well executed that I couldn't have asked for anything more.

A satisfying Star Wars film that tries to be a little different. Despite knowing how it will all end, the film does an admirable job of making you care for some of the characters and giving you edge of your seat excitement and entertainment. Easily recommended.
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Suspect's Reviews



In the Beginning...
I saw this a couple hours ago. I'm a big fan of Gareth Edwards and I think he's given us a better and more authentic Star Wars film than The Force Awakens. He's clearly a fan and he understands the little details that make Star Wars what it is, which keeps the film from falling into a pit of imitation and self-awareness. For much of the run time, Rogue One feels like a natural extension of the original trilogy.

That said, there are a few moments where the film stumbles, but they are largely minor complaints. A few odd lines of dialogue here, some questionable choices there. More than anything, I was hungry for a little more meat on the bones, character-wise. But seriously, there's nothing here that'll keep anyone (especially fans) from having a wonderful cinema experience.

Except...

WARNING: "Rogue One" spoilers below
We are now living in an era where real people, living or dead, can be recreated on-screen through the "magic" of CGI. I'm not sure how I feel about this. But I can see how it might rub some viewers the wrong way.

Grand Moff Tarkin, originally played by the late Peter Cushing in 1977, appears in this film quite extensively. His likeness is completely digital and his voice is mimicked by an actor. A few other familiar faces appear, as well: both Red and Gold leader (via some kind of deft appropriation of existing footage) and, just before the credits roll, Princess Leia (rendered in the same style as Tarkin, with a voice stand-in).

First, let me say a part of me was extremely excited to see these characters on-screen again. It's truly incredible what digital artists can create these days and there's something wonderful about the prospect of seeing people we never thought we'd see again. Even though these digitally rendered characters aren't perfect, they're still probably the best I've seen.

That said... it's kinda unsettling to know that a person who is no longer alive has just appeared once again in a film. The implications are complicated, of course. I'm sure the family was consulted and permission was given, but the decision alone begs a lot of questions. Is it right or wrong? Is it poor taste? What's even being recreated: the character or the actor? Or both?

I don't know the answers. I am glad they've opened the door, however, and I'm sure it'll invite a lot of discussion (and probably some outrage too). It's certainly intriguing with respect to future Star Wars films. Disney has already cast a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), but given this new precedent they could just as easily re-create a 26-year-old Harrison Ford... with the real Harrison's permission, of course.



I am the Watcher in the Night
Agreed.

Rogue One succeeds more often than not, especially in giving us a different take on the SW universe.
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I'm more around
or
,

But oddly enough I agree a lot about what you said. I already wrote my review for the site I review for and even still we have a lot of the same things to say, even though I didn't read yours intil now...

The things about the story being weak and all over the place, especially fron the beginning, and how the film gets better in the end and how Yen and K-2SO are the best and how you compare the latter with C3PO, pretty much everything.

Unfortunately, the story was all too weak and messy and the characters so thin that I couldn't pull my rating up. It didn't really grab me until around the climax, so that's a lot of "meh" to sit through in 2+ hour film...

Good review.



Yeah, I saw a 7:00pm screening last night. Definitely fun and cool and worth seeing, even more fun if you rewatch Star Wars (1977) first. But yes, other than the built in feature of knowing exactly where the story is going to end up, the main issue and discussion point are definitely the spoilers you raised above...


Except...

WARNING: "Rogue One" spoilers below
We are now living in an era where real people, living or dead, can be recreated on-screen through the "magic" of CGI. I'm not sure how I feel about this. But I can see how it might rub some viewers the wrong way.

Grand Moff Tarkin, originally played by the late Peter Cushing in 1977, appears in this film quite extensively. His likeness is completely digital and his voice is mimicked by an actor. A few other familiar faces appear, as well: both Red and Gold leader (via some kind of deft appropriation of existing footage) and, just before the credits roll, Princess Leia (rendered in the same style as Tarkin, with a voice stand-in).

First, let me say a part of me was extremely excited to see these characters on-screen again. It's truly incredible what digital artists can create these days and there's something wonderful about the prospect of seeing people we never thought we'd see again. Even though these digitally rendered characters aren't perfect, they're still probably the best I've seen.

That said... it's kinda unsettling to know that a person who is no longer alive has just appeared once again in a film. The implications are complicated, of course. I'm sure the family was consulted and permission was given, but the decision alone begs a lot of questions. Is it right or wrong? Is it poor taste? What's even being recreated: the character or the actor? Or both?

I don't know the answers. I am glad they've opened the door, however, and I'm sure it'll invite a lot of discussion (and probably some outrage too). It's certainly intriguing with respect to future Star Wars films. Disney has already cast a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), but given this new precedent they could just as easily re-create a 26-year-old Harrison Ford... with the real Harrison's permission, of course.
WARNING: "Rogue One" spoilers below
It was necessary to tell this particular chapter using sets and characters we already know from a movie that is now forty years old, and the digital renderings of Cushing and Fisher serve the purpose better than recasting, even if they got somebody kinda sorta close to each. Leia is only in that one brief but crucial bit at the end, and as such her digital copy is slightly less obtrusive, having only one line. But Tarkin has so many scenes, especially for an actor who has been dead since 1994. It mostly works. It's really when he speaks that the digital nature of his visage is so obvious. It works in this context, but I couldn't watch a whole film with a main character done in that fashion.

If they have to make a young Han Solo movie, I'm glad they aren't doing this for Han and Lando (Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover, both of whom I love) rather than renderings. I mean unless you want to make a full on animated movie. There is a recent project newly available on DVD and streaming called Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. That animates the characters from the '60s TV show into a new adventure, using Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar's voices and soundalikes for Caesar Romero, Burgess Meredith and others, but all rendered as if it were still 1967. But if that were shot with live actors and then had the '60s era faces digitized on them, nah, I don't think it works. Not for an entire movie.

But what newer refining of technology will yield five or ten or twenty years down the line, we shall see? For now I think it works in small spurts if you have a scene where a younger version of the actor is truly necessary for the story and the distraction of the digital rendering is deemed less important than simply casting a different, younger actor. I get why they committed to it for Rogue One, but for me less is more.
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Diego Luna's character is incredibly thin despite being one of the main characters in the story. I was disappointed in that aspect.
Indeed. That also baffled me a lot. Even the main characters were thin....



In the Beginning...
WARNING: "Rogue One" spoilers below
It was necessary to tell this particular chapter using sets and characters we already know from a movie that is now forty years old, and the digital renderings of Cushing and Fisher serve the purpose better than recasting, even if they got somebody kinda sorta close to each.

If they have to make a young Han Solo movie, I'm glad they aren't doing this for Han and Lando (Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover, both of whom I love) rather than renderings.
WARNING: "Rogue One" spoilers below
Agreed. The context for Rogue One made it necessary to recreate those characters as we know them for continuity's sake. And yeah, I'm glad to see Disney is letting Ehrenreich and Glover take the wheel on their roles, respectively, and it'll be interesting to see where that film lands in the timeline. I can see Disney wanting to launch a "Han Solo Adventures" franchise, but I could just as easily see the film concluding with Han Solo and Chewie walking into the Mos Eisley Cantina. Ehrenreich is currently 27 and Harrison Ford was 31 during the filming of A New Hope, so it could go either way.

Another question will be whether or not Disney chooses to apply this new technology to Episodes 8 and 9, if the rumors of Obi-Wan appearing as a ghost are to be believed. That would almost certainly have to be Alec Guinness, since he already appeared in ghost form in Empire and Return.



Disney will milk the franchise to the death now.

Lucas took 28 years to make 6 movies, while Disney will make 30 Star Wars movies in the next 28 years. It's a sure moneymaking machine since a Star Wars movie will always turn out a profit.

Well as long as they are entertaining I will watch them.



WARNING: "Rogue One" spoilers below
We are now living in an era where real people, living or dead, can be recreated on-screen through the "magic" of CGI. I'm not sure how I feel about this. But I can see how it might rub some viewers the wrong way.

Grand Moff Tarkin, originally played by the late Peter Cushing in 1977, appears in this film quite extensively. His likeness is completely digital and his voice is mimicked by an actor. A few other familiar faces appear, as well: both Red and Gold leader (via some kind of deft appropriation of existing footage) and, just before the credits roll, Princess Leia (rendered in the same style as Tarkin, with a voice stand-in).

First, let me say a part of me was extremely excited to see these characters on-screen again. It's truly incredible what digital artists can create these days and there's something wonderful about the prospect of seeing people we never thought we'd see again. Even though these digitally rendered characters aren't perfect, they're still probably the best I've seen.

That said... it's kinda unsettling to know that a person who is no longer alive has just appeared once again in a film. The implications are complicated, of course. I'm sure the family was consulted and permission was given, but the decision alone begs a lot of questions. Is it right or wrong? Is it poor taste? What's even being recreated: the character or the actor? Or both?

I don't know the answers. I am glad they've opened the door, however, and I'm sure it'll invite a lot of discussion (and probably some outrage too). It's certainly intriguing with respect to future Star Wars films. Disney has already cast a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), but given this new precedent they could just as easily re-create a 26-year-old Harrison Ford... with the real Harrison's permission, of course.
This is intriguing.

WARNING: spoilers below
I've always appreciated the painstaking approach taken with the Star Wars prequels to cast the right actors for younger versions of characters. If you look at Star Trek, there's really only Spock that's a great match, and with characters like Captain Pike it's as if it didn't even matter (I love Jeffrey Hunter so that got on my nerves a bit).

Being a Doctor Who fan, or having been one for a long time, I'm used to the idea of deceased actors being 'brought back' and it's happened in various ways, a lot of them quite unsatisfactory. The main one I suppose is in the Eighties story The Five Doctors because they actually recast the role of the First Doctor, William Hartnell. Richard Hurndall was excellent but the version of the Doctor he was playing didn't speak or behave enough like Hartnell's for it to be a good enough tribute.

Interestingly enough when the docudrama about the creation of the series was made, An Adventure in Space and Time, David Bradley portrayed Hartnell. What I've seen of him is disappointing as he doesn't seem to have been able to get the voice and accent quite right. I would have liked Gary Oldman but I think an even closer resemblance would have been Michael Feast.

So I don't think we should be too worried about CGI versions of actors, and I'm thinking particularly about the incredible work in Tron: Legacy for really excellent digital recreations. If these are anywhere near as good it's exciting. It's certainly far more satisfying to have the original actor there, even if the voice has to be mimicked Ė I mean look at the Spartacus bath scene, where Anthony Hopkins provided the voice for Laurence Olivier's character. And Hopkins is a fantastic mimic.



I hold an overarching fear for the future of Star Wars. With Disney at the reins it seems that we may have another Star Wars movie every year until the end of time. Call me crazy, but I think we are really overdoing it. Yes we want more Star Wars, but do we need more Star Wars? Do we even deserve it?

Making so many movies will make an already complex universe ever more convoluted (just look at the prequels). It also takes the magic away from the original Star Wars trilogy. It was a simple story yet captivated us all.

Why the hell do we need to see the back story to Han Solo? Wasn't what we got in A New Hope enough? Perhaps things like this are not necessary to dive into. Maybe part of the magic of Star Wars is that everything wasn't spelled out for the viewer.

Alas, despite how I or anybody else in the world thinks, Star Wars will continue to go on. And that brings us to our very first spin-off film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

I would like to begin by saying that overall, I enjoyed my experience watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I felt very invested in the plot and would not mind watching it again in the near future. I say this now because I have many, many problems with this film.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes place very shortly before the events of A New Hope. It stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, the criminal daughter of the inventor of the very first Death Star. Jyn is sought after and found by the Rebel Alliance, who enlists in her help to basically find her long lost father and unite the Rebellion . With the power of the force by their side, Jyn and her new Rebel friends must help save the Galaxy from the wrath of the Empire (its a little more complex than that but this is the short of it).

Now, my first complaint would be all the shoehorned cameos made in the film. I do understand that it takes place before the first Star Wars, so naturally we are going to see Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader. But did we really need to see the pig nosed guy from the Cantina? For the brief couple of seconds he is on screen, the crowd loved it. Yet I couldn't stop hating it. It was pointless crowd pandering that I feel Disney wanted in the film for nostalgic purposes. It served no purpose. Period. I rolled my eyes and did not crack a smile. The exact same went for when I saw C-3PO and some of the other nostalgic characters.

I would also like to briefly mention Grand Moff Tarkin's role in this film. Again, I understand why he would be important to the story, but I don't get why they put him in the film so much. Since Peter Cushing (the original Grand Moff Tarkin) died in 1994, his character had to be completely CGI. The design looked okay I guess, but from the get go I could tell it was fake. I really can't blame them too much on this because they did the best they could. However everybody needs to stop pretending that this was some great performance or something. Because it definitely was not.

The acting was all around fantastic on all sides. I loved Felicity Jones as Jyn and thought she did a terrific job. I also loved the acting talents of our supporting cast members like Forest Whitaker and Diego Luna. Even though a lot of the side characters weren't developed enough, which was another problem with this film .

Since so much time was dedicated to focusing on our lead hero Jyn (dealing with her backstory, emotions, struggles, etc.) we did not get as much time to learn about our other heroes. They were left a little on the bland side and could have been much better and more thawed out. They had their quirks and their moments but didn't get much personality devoted to them.

The audience gets a good look at many new planets as well as the inhabitants of those planets. And in usual Star Wars fashion, they are all really awesome. The planets all seem so fleshed out and creative, I was wishing we the audience could experience more. There was one cool planet in particular that I could tell was inspired by Ridley Scott's Alien, my favorite movie. There are literally hundreds of different designs of characters, many of which were real costumes and looked really cool.

The ground combat of the storm troopers and the rebellion, something this film is heavy in, is phenomenal. I was always curious what gritty, up close combat would be like in Star Wars, and I definitely got it. The action scenes are intensely shot and keep the pace moving quickly. Enough new gadgets and tanks are brought into the fighting to make the combat at least feel somewhat refreshing and new.

The musical score was pretty good and went well with the film. It was different while still being reminiscent of the usual Star Wars composition. The music was able to vary while still keeping the general theme similar to John William's style. This is good considering the new composer only had a month to write it.

Some aspects of Rogue One I was kind of give or take with. Darth Vader makes an appearance here and there, and those are hit or miss unfortunately. The same went for the new villain Orson Krennic, who would flop between being a predictable bad guy and purely diabolical.

The ending to Rogue One was probably my favorite part of the film. Without spoiling anything, I think that some very bold creative choices were made. I was glad to see the outcome of the film and left me feeling very satisfied. I think many others will disagree with me on how they handled the ending, but I loved it.

I recommend Rogue One to every Star Wars fan out there. Go watch it and make an opinion of your own! I believe it is an enjoyable, well made film with a solid story and great cast. I will try to remain as hopeful as possible for the next installment of Star Wars, even though my faith in the franchise wanes. I think I just need to remind myself that some movies are built on hope.

-Zachary Flint



Good job Disney. You've pissed all over Peter Cushing's grave.



WARNING: "Rogue One" spoilers below
It mostly works. It's really when he speaks that the digital nature of his visage is so obvious. It works in this context
WARNING: "Rogue One" spoilers below
I disagree. From the very first second that CG face was on screen, I thought it looked terrible. Perhaps if he was only seen with other CG characters it wouldn't look so bad, but he just looked so cartoonish in comparison to the real actors around him on screen. The shorter scene with Leia at the end works and looks fine because you only see her for a few seconds, but Tarkin had so much screen time it wasn't ever going to look good in my opinion.


If you look at Star Trek, there's really only Spock that's a great match
If by Spock you mean McCoy, then yes.



WARNING: "CGI" spoilers below
I thought they both looked horrible. They weren't used a whole lot though. The Leia one bothered me more but probably because I felt it was coming so I was thinking please don't do it for those few seconds. They could have easily just shown her back. Everyone knew who it was. I think they should have done a different actor for Tarkin and just shown Leia's back.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
While it wasn't 100% convincing, I found it to be done tastefully and respectful. I had no issues with it.


On a side note - I never understood why people discussed the films in the "upcoming" section instead of in the review section.



Welcome to the human race...
While it wasn't 100% convincing, I found it to be done tastefully and respectful. I had no issues with it.


On a side note - I never understood why people discussed the films in the "upcoming" section instead of in the review section.
Seeing as how the discussion on a given film starts in its "upcoming" thread, it makes more sense to continue said discussion within the upcoming thread than to start a whole new thread in the reviews section and split up the discussion in the process.
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Far better than Force Awakens, but not quite as deep, imaginative or original as the prequels (for fans like me).

This is probably the darkest installment in the franchise. It's a strong PG, imo.
I'd give Rogue One about a 7.5 / 10.

I liked how the movie acknowledged both the prequels and the OT. For example, they had both Governor Tarkin and Jimmy Smits (as Bail Organa). I found the appearance of Peter Cushing a bit odd, but interesting: in the future, will we see new movies with Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis Presley? Will CGI eventually be so good we won't be able to tell them from the real thing?

Forest Whitaker's character Saw Gerrera seemed to draw parallels to Darth Vader (being cybornetic and using a breathing apparatus), but I didn't figure out what the point was.

WARNING: "Spoilers" spoilers below
This Star Wars is just as much tragedy as adventure space opera: all the main characters die.


I liked Baze Malbus's kick-*ss M-60-like blaster.

This movie really didn't add much to the saga,
WARNING: "little spoilers" spoilers below
other than explain what powers lightsabers and who designed the Death Star (I guess Gallen and the other scientists improved the Geonosians' plans?)
, but it was good entertainment nonetheless.



If by Spock you mean McCoy, then yes.
I like Karl Urban as Bones but he's not a great physical match for DeForest Kelley. That's why I was saying I think it was great what the Star Wars team did with the prequels, and it's probably the best thing about them.