Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rogue One: my review

I saw Rogue One Friday night. It is amazing!

I'm going to start off telling you what was so great about it, spoiler free. Then I'll mention my couple complaints. Then, at the end, I'll talk about some spoilers, and I'll give you a warning before I do.

The film does a great job making you care about all of the characters. By the end of the movie, I felt like all of the new characters were my friends. I was emotionally involved in what happened to them. The dialog is pretty good. Especially the lines by K-2SO, the sarcastic robot that reminds me a little of the depressed robot in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The thing I liked best about Rogue One is that it felt like a Star Wars movie. The first three, New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, were instant classics, and some of my best memories from childhood. I collected the action figures, rode around on my bicycle pretending it was a speeder bike, and even wrote a short book in high school based on one of the characters.

The prequels came along, and we were all excited. They underwhelmed us. We don't even mention Jar Jar. But they had so much potential (Liam Neeson and Natalie Portman?? I won't name Ewan McGregor because I think his performance is one of the very few things about the prequels that did NOT disappoint) and we were very unhappy that Lucas lost his touch and the prequels were pretty awful.

Then... last December we all got excited again. The Force Awakened. J.J. Abrams saved the day. The next book in the Star Wars saga was great! The day was saved, and all of us Star Wars fans were happy again.

I had high expectations for Rogue One. And they were fulfilled. It is a great movie. The thing I love most about it is that, while Force Awakens was a great movie, it had a strong J.J. Abrams' feel to it, making it a great movie, but with a slightly different feel than the original trilogy. With Rogue One, I felt like we went back to the original feel. Rogue One reminded me ALOT of New Hope. It's so good!

SPOILERS!! Don't read any further if you haven't seen the movie. Scroll down if you have.


OK, with my spoilers alerts in place, here is the skinny on what's so great about Rogue One. Like I said above, I cared about every character, even the robot. And when all of the new characters that we meet in Rogue One die, it was powerful! It gave the movie a depth and an emotional involvement that made it one of my favorite Star Wars movies.

But the way that it ties into New Hope was my favorite thing about it. We see CGI versions of Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia.... very cool. We see R2 and Threepio, who have a brief talking cameo. And dude... Darth Vader has never been scarier. Holy cow. His scenes are amazing. I don't think I remember a scarier scene in the whole Star Wars franchise than the scene where Vader appears in the hallway with a bunch of rebels who are trying to get the Death Star plans off the ship... and he lights up his lightsaber and wades in. Very powerful scene.

I also liked seeing so many cool things from previous films, especially the AT-AT's! When they came on, I felt like cheering, even though they were bad guys!

It wasn't until the final scene, where the ship we see at the very beginning of New Hope escapes from the Star Destroyer that Vader is standing on, lightsaber drawn, that I thought to myself, "Wow. This was REALLY good."

The things I didn't like: the CGI was OK, but Tarkin and Leia still looked a little unreal. Just barely. But the main thing that bothered me was the setting for the first half of the film. We are introduced in several rapid scenes to many different planets, but they all look very similar. Lots of rocky, desert looking places. I couldn't tell one from another. It seriously made me long for the ice planet of Hoth, the swamps of Dagobah, and the forest moon of Endor.

But overall, I felt like this was a fantastic addition to the Star Wars saga, and a movie that I will enjoy watching for years to come.

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