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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Action Science-Fiction / English / 2016

A spin-off movie detailing the events of the "many bothans died" line in the now 40-year-old original Star Wars movie? It may sound silly to some, but ****, sign me up.

I saw zero bothans. Am disappoint.

Rogue One I think is helped by framing itself as a deliberate spin-off of the main series which allows it the creative liberty to really branch out and explore new concepts such as new planets, new aliens, new technology, but really the best part of the movie is seeing how it, like 2011's The Thing premake, pays hardcore nerdy homage to the original movie.

Whereas you could fairly complain that The Force Awakens retreads old territory narrative-wise, Rogue One takes old characters and casts them into a new story, specifically all of those side characters whose names you don't remember, but have seen Star Wars so many times that you instantly recognize like "Oh, **** THAT guy! I remember that guy! I don't remember his name, but he totally had like 1 or 2 lines in the original movie!"

Most of these characters are surely just reenacted by lookalikes, and they mimic their counterparts serviceably, but there are at least two characters in particular who are so major in New Hope and have such distinctive faces and are now dead that they had to be recreated in CG.

The CG is really good, and I'm sure that there's other characters that probably fooled me, but when it comes to Tarkin and Leia, there's just no way I'm not going to immediately recognize that they're CG, since they both seem veeeeeeery slightly off. Not that I'm really complaining though, I'm glad they're in the movie, they both really run home the idea that this all takes place hot off the heels of the first movie and I like that concept, it's what made Halo: Reach and interesting setting for a game: "Let's tell the untold story of those guys who died offscreen in their epic last stand to set off the events of the main story."

It's a cool idea, and all those teeny tiny cameos of side characters sprinkled throughout the movie, not in-your-face, but actually playing their roles like they belong? I liked that.

That said... I found this movie very boring. I know people have been saying this was better than Force Awakens, but I disagree, it's a fresher story, yes, but Rey, Finn, and Kylo were way more interesting co-protagonists and villain than Main Girl, Main Guy, and Tarkin's Bitch in this movie. And you know, I thought Rey was pretty flat in Force Awakens too, that ****ing sucks dude, I've been wanting to see some really kickass leading ladies with a rockin' personality to boot. At least Rey has unchecked force powers to show off with, Main Girl here just seems like a walking plot device.

She immediately gets orphaned after being given a necklace (Which is super cliche already, but what is it made of, one of those saber crystals? Wouldn't that have been cool for her to have used that for something?), she avoids the Rebellion, but gets roped back into it by chance, she doesn't want to cooperate then she does and then we're supposed to feel really proud of her for having transitioned from zero to hero despite there being nothing to justify that character arc beyond a video recording from her Dad which is WAY too conveniently addressed only to her even though it wasn't sent to her and they haven't seen each other in over a decade so...

Main Guy's even worse. They set him up as an ******* and make a big thing about how even The Rebellion has done awful things, but then he's just super nice and helpful throughout the rest of the movie like he's drunk the "I gotta make the audience like me now" potion offscreen.

Best characters are easily K-2 and Donnie Yen, because apparently the best written Star Wars characters are robots now and Donnie Yen is a blind martial artist in Star Wars and how can you NOT just imagine how that board meeting went down:

"We wanna make a spin-off Star Wars movie, but who do we cast?"
"Make Donnie Yen a blind dude who sees **** with the force and beats the **** outta some stormtroopers."
"YOU MOTHER****ING GENIUS, yes let's do that, who else?"
"Ehh... I dunno throw Forest Whitaker in there, **** if I care..."

Also Vader's in the movie, cause why not. And he gets the most ridiculous onscreen killing spree of I think any villain in the series to date. Good stuff.

But really, the movie focuses much of it's time on our main characters and they're just uninteresting and the plot that unfolds is oftentimes inarticulate and largely just seems like a road map of "okay we've talked to this guy, now we gotta go here...", I dunno, I see a crew of badasses on the poster and I sit and watch the most of the movie just kinda drive by, not even really developing it's characters, until it finally gets around to the big heist at the end and I can't help but just shrug as everybody dies.

Okay. So that was a thing.

Really feels like a waste considering everything the movie had going for it. I dunno.

...you know? Browsing Google for images to add to this I think it occurred to me what this movie was missing. You pitch this movie like we're gonna be getting the Rebellion's most daredevilish black ops team of characters in for a suicide mission to save the galaxy, yet it's just a mish-mash of characters mostly not even related to the Rebellion where only 2 or 3 of them feign any level of chemistry up until some sort of rallying speech in the third act from our main character who we've only just recently established doesn't even want to be a part of any of this.

It feels really forced, and considering the fact that the Halo series was never particularly strong in it's narrative or characterization department yet it outclasses Rogue One here? That's unacceptable.

Final Verdict: