Okay, here we go.
I’m a big Star Wars fan, and if you are a regular reader on my site (if I even have any of those) you will likely know this. Last year I fell in love with The Force Awakens as it recaptured the magic of Star Wars. This year we got the first of the Star Wars stand-alone spin-offs with Rogue One. Now in full disclosure, I haven’t been 100% on board with the idea of these spin-off films, so I wasn’t as excited about Rogue One as many others. Nonetheless… boy, was I disappointed with this movie.
The best way I can encapsulate my feelings about why I ultimately didn’t like this movie that it seems I should have loved, is because it just seemed to me to be nothing more than imitation Star Wars. From the music which seemed like b-side tracks of John Williams, to the half-hearted portrayal of the rebel alliance, to the poor decisions of CGI Tarkin and a bunch of other ridiculous cameos, this felt like glorified fan fiction. (They even tried to retcon the idea of the thermal exhaust port as the weakness of the death star, since many have come to think its ridiculous after 40 years of reflection. ) But most of all, it didn’t “feel” like Star Wars.
The Force Awakens felt like Star Wars. The sense of adventure was there, the tone was just right, the characters were easy to latch on to. Rogue One is supposed to be something different, I get that, but it should still be Star Wars. Otherwise, why bother? Just make a different movie. I worry that all these stand-alones are going to have the same sort of identity crisis. I just really hope it doesn’t seem into the saga proper with Eps 8 & 9.
The characters were a big part of why this movie didn’t work. There really weren’t any characters that had the same appeal as Finn and Rey. Jyn was promised to be some great, rebellious heroine, but instead she didn’t really have a whole lot going on. She was haphazardly thrown in with a group of characters so unmemorable I don’t know many of their names and just refer to them as ‘the blind guy, ‘the blind guy’s friend” and “that imperial guy they rescued”. And the less said about Forrest Whitaker’s Sol Gurerra character the better.
There were some interesting images in this movie and some strong moments. The production value is meticulously crafted. The scene I’m sure everyone is chatting bout is the Vader scene at the end. Yes, it was pretty awesome. It was also less than one minute of the film.
Throughout most of the movie I was either baffled at the tonal choices made, rolling my eyes the obvious fan pandering being thrown in (“I’m with the Force, the Force is with me? cmon!), or simply bored with what was going on. it picked up near the end, but it was hard to garner tensions from me as I knew the plans would get away alright. But I’m obviously in the minority. My friends started praising the film as we walked out of the theater, so I just stayed silent about it. I’m glad its working for so many Star Wars fans out there, I just wish it worked for me as well. Now I’m pinning my hopes of Episode 8.
I hate giving this rating but… 5/10