Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (DVD)
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Review of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (DVD)"
"The Jedi are all but extinct, the Republic has fallen and in their wake, the Galactic Empire has engulfed the far reaches of the galaxy in fear. Persecuted members of the Old Republic have been thrust into hiding. Only members of the REBEL ALLIANCE dare take a stand against the ruthless Imperial forces. Deep in the Outer Rim territories, the dastardly Director Krennic has discovered the location of a long lost friend; one capable of completing the Empire's most powerful weapon yet…" ~ Opening Crawl
This was a special one for me - the first proper sit down in the new flat with the mrs, sprawled out on my old mattress in the wrong room as we were still waiting for the new one to arrive. Cider and crisps ahoy, I had a loot at all the new films I had acquired and due to a brief conversation at work about the latest Star Wars film, which apparently was deemed even better than The Force Awakens - big praise - well, not for me because I rated that a lowly satisfactory with 3 stars. To my surprise, the other half welcomed the chance to watch a sci-fi film (her most detested genre despite loving Guardians of the Galaxy - go figure?!) so it was an easy choice slapping it on the wide screen propped up on some drawers in a largely empty room. So the scene was set!
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...(Story)
I'm the worst when it comes to names and as you can see already by the rating I've given, I'm not likely to watch this again or even research the characters names - However! I will try to get it accurate whilst not spoiling anything. So things begin on a fairly remote planet with a small family headed by a great scientist - who is hounded into joining the Imperial army - to make a super weapon capable of destroying planets - the infamous death star. As usual with Disney, the mother is killed off early and the young daughter Jyn escapes and hides as she knows the terrain well. Fast forward 15 years and the little girl has blossomed into a near-deaf-mute lady who kicks people. Erm.. she meets some rebels, pretty sure she kicks them too. Then they recruit her or something and Forrest Whitaker shows up with his classic squinty eye and Iron Man suit. There's also a robot that talks funny - to clarify, talks funny, not is funny. Then there's the janitor who wears a jacket and he has these Chinese friends who have antiquated weapons for the current age. There's minimal lightsabres and it's more about stealing death star plans and such, people die, stuff blows up and minimal f*cks are given on my part. THEN, Darth Vader messes people up in style! BOOM, the end.
What I Say
Boooooriiiiiiiiiing! I expected so much more from a ragtag cast of oddballs and star spangled award nominees. I genuinely can't remember much other than the lead actress' bunny teeth showing whilst she says next to nothing and avoids utilising emotions in favour of being a droid. Vader was the best part. He wrecked these losers in a hallway in style with an entrance that was almost scary, like a massive war general taking to the battlefield - reminded me of Lu Bu in Dynasty Warriors. The ending didn't disappoint either but frankly, mentioning more would be a huge spoiler - just know they don't try and go all Hollywood and please audiences but instead stick to the source material and the last shred of realism available in pew-pew space town. Some of the environments looked decent, from the natural looking worlds to the CGI heavy barracks and massive city thing at the end. None of the actors shone for me much. It went on for so long like a lot of SW films but this one felt so long that we d*cked about throughout - it just didn't grab me and felt like the corporate cash-in it probably is - like the other films underway.
I was 50/50 on Felicity Jones - she was stunning and well worth the Academy award nomination for her portrayal as Jane Wilde Hawking in The Theory of Everything but come 2 years later in the third Tom Hanks thriller mystery Inferno she had fallen victim to abysmal writing and poor character development. I genuinely felt like she was told to do the same thing - be an emotionless husk of a human being with so much more strength and athleticism than her feminine frame would suggest. I love a handful of films starring Forest Whitaker yet another name nominated in the past (and winner) but here he felt like a bit-part player compared to others. Despite this, he's likely the shining star among the rest of the dim bulbs barely flickering from death. Another low key role for the far better villain Mads Mikkelsen wasted. At least Ben Mendelsohn played a character to closer to home like those found in his Batman history but capable of much more depth than the 'bad white man' Hollywood loves to pull - just watch his performance in Starred Up. Diego Luna the Mexican from The Terminal - that's all I've seen of him and it wasn't exactly spectacular. Riz Ahmed was quite unusual but interesting in the brilliant Nightcrawler and clearly, many of these actors have talent and should influence people however his small inclusion alongside the others and a couple of Chinese dudes here screams: 'We need more diversity!' whilst still putting the white woman above all else! In the most sanitised way possible - zero sex appeal - yeah yeah, women are more than that of course but why delete womanhood entirely? Why is it only the most tepid of characters can pass as a strong woman?
And... Breathe (Speculation/Hope)
Despite how many times I've overindulged on banging on about social justice and the like, I don't want to be talking about it. However I do want those who too, see the nonsense going on, to know they are not alone in their disbelief at people and organisations lack of logic and common sense. I really want to see how The Last Jedi turns out because I predict/hope that Rey turns to the dark side for a much needed boost in her personality, a twist in the self righteous, grey benevolence. If she did that, then all of my previous rantings of how much a mary-sue she was would practically be moot. I saw how she berated that BB8 droid with such anger, how she unforgivably scolded Finn when he took her hand, how she started to look cruel, enjoying cutting down her Sith opponent. It hasn't been done in any Star Wars film, a fall of such magnitude - not since Vader obviously, but even then, his rise, fall and slight return spanned 6 films, not 3. This could be very much close to the acts of my favourite Star Wars game - Knights of the Old Republic, where a main character, is the 'key to the Republic war effort' and falls under Sith interrogation techniques, only to return to the light or follow you down the same path (depending on your own actions). I don't need to see Rey getting more powerful through zero training. I don't need to see the protagonist follow a straight line of virtue again (Luke). What's done is done and I doubt very much that if the second film is closer to The Empire Strikes Back than being an original premise, the accusations of repackaging the same story will be even more relentless and justified. As for the next spin-off Han Solo film - dirt-poor gaming site Polygon saw one photo of the cast and said it was "Kinda Super-White." A better riposte summed up by some randomer on a Den of Geek message board: "if someone needs to be 'represented' to enjoy a story that just sounds like they have a problem. If they really wanted to represent reality more characters would be overweight, selfish and very un-heroic."
What Everyone Else Said
The majority of news outlets gave this film a big green tick. Online nerd sites raved about how this was fan service done right, progressives praised the strong female leads (again) and friends and family said it was pretty much as good as (if not better than) the last film. Only 2 notable American papers felt it was a satisfactory attempt and the odd unknown saying it was ok-ish. I knew to take what was said about previous Star Wars films should be taken with a bit of salt - nostalgia playing a huge part in the original trilogy (and wonder of technological advancement in special effects) and the latest offering (because of liberal media bias in the previous/current climate and a long, long wait for more SW.) The colleague who sits opposite me at work, believed that Rogue One was superior to The Force Awakens. Now I gave that film a mixed 3/5 but I was left rather wide eyed to hear someone felt this way - especially as TFA was widely regarded a triumph. At this point in time, I hadn't seen R1 and in some respects, his rebuttal was a strong reason as to why I sat down and watched it when available. And what did my fellow Ciao members have to say about it? Nothing! Radio silence as *I* had to get Ciao to add this film to it's library of reviewable goods! There was me thinking the force was strong in fellow sci-fi nerds out there. I hope this review has been helpful considering the total absence of other opinions, but if I had to guess, I'd say I'm clearly in the minority of those believing this was sub-par and monotonous nothingness. Consequently, the outrage from such fans will possibly bring in more write-ups :) Have at me oh begrudging geeks!
Product Information : Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (DVD)
Manufacturer's product description
DVD Region: DVD
Actor(s): Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
Director(s) (Last name, First name): Edwards, Gareth
Classification: 12 years and over
Production Year: 2016
Video Category: Feature Film
Listed on Ciao since: 30/04/2017