My friend and J0e Bush Dot Net Guest Contributor Maverick Moore has written this review of Rogue One, the most recent Star Wars film from this December. He’s planning on starting up a review site of his own so hit him up on Facebook to stay updated! Consider this a pre-emptive warning that this will contain some spoilers.
In an attempt to satisfy
stockholders fans, it’s that time of the year where Disney releases another one of it’s surefire billion-dollar movies. Apparently unsatisfied with its measly $4 billion revenue in 4 movies, we are getting our annual Star Wars film. This time following the story of Rogue One, a rebel, rebel, alliance dedicated to exposing the fatal flaw of the now infamous Death Star
Well my first complaint with the movie is that I could sum it up in a single sentence. It seems to me that the entire point of this movie and its plotline was to explain why the Death Star had such a ridiculously dangerous shortcoming in its design. “For fucks sake, this thing is the size of a moon and you only need to blow up a single reactor?” said every single person who watched Star Wars. So now, seeking to satisfy the nerds and fanatics, Disney has finally put to rest this gaping plot hole.
It’s too fucking bad that it took almost two and thirteen minutes to do it, because that is a ridiculously thin premise for such a long movie. While it was initially strange, it is now clear why there was no iconic opening crawl: it would be three lines long. The eighth Star Wars movie released falls in between the third and fourth in the story arc. Everything before it is already covered by the third, and it ends literally at the exact beginning of the fourth. This entire movie, longer than both A New Hope, and Empire Strikes Back, covers by far the least amount of story out of any in the series.
This is one of my biggest complaints with this movie. As soon as I finished the movie, I just thought “so what?.” This movie didn’t matter in the slightest. It really didn’t even need to exist. This entire movie could have been explained by the slightest bit of exposition from a character in a succeeding movie and the overall story arc would have been just as preserved. There are only two characters in this movie that are in the the rest of the series and the rest aren’t even mentioned.
Which brings me to my next point. This plot could be described as having two parts. The first is focused on finding Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), the Imperial scientist responsible for developing the Death Star and the father of Jyn (Felicity Jones). Once that part is concluded, the next part is finding the plans of the Death Star. The first half of this plot is incredibly boring and ends unceremoniously. The second half of this plot is actually a non-stop action scene, right up until the very last second. Somehow, in 134 minutes of run time, this movie just can’t seem to find one single second to dedicate to character development. This is my biggest complaint with the movie. I absolutely didn’t care about a single person in the whole film. We don’t really know anything about any of them. There isn’t an inkling of explanation regarding their motivations, or why soooo many of them so readily accepted death. They aren’t characters, they’re set pieces. They exist solely to transport the audience to the next explosion or gun battle.
To be fair, the action in this movie was awesome. Disney now owns Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar and has unarguably the most resources available to make an action movie. And by God do they know how to make some action movies. Scenes like the Star Destroyer smashing into the other Star Destroyer, or the surprisingly terrifying depiction of the AT-ATs on the beach, or the awe-inspiring mushroom cloud from the Death Star’s main weapon all illustrated Disney’s incredible technical resources and their prowess at creating truly exciting action. Seeing the AT-ATs menacingly emerge from the smoke cloud to rain destruction on the beach immediately brought me back to being 10 years old and seeing those troop carriers swoop down in Attack of the Clones and unload on the droids like a gunship in Vietnam. Being a man-child, I can’t help but to adore the beauty and violence of these well-choreographed scenes. Luckily, the tight pacing of the near constant action made the movies runtime feel quite a bit shorter.
That doesn’t really matter though. I walked out of the theater feeling disappointed. It wasn’t the grandiose epic that so many of the stories in Star Wars have been. You already know how it ends, you never get to really know the characters, and the whole story is self-contained. You don’t spend years with these characters, seeing the tragedies they endure shape them. You don’t grow up watching them overcome new challenges or learn and develop. You get circle blocks to fill circle holes and it makes the entire thing feel very shallow. And to top it off, it’s another fucking Star Wars movie about the Death Star. How many is that now? 4? Between that, and having the extremely overused die-in-your-arms trope show up TWICE (I’m not even going to count how many times that’s happened in the whole saga), the entire series is starting to feel a little worn-out. This movie existed to explain a single shortcoming and to make a billion dollars. And it did, and will almost certainly do, just that.
Should you watch this movie? Sure. It’s a cultural phenomenon and it’s too well made to be outright bad. It’s just not great.