Rogue One – Reviewed

Aractus 15, December, 2016

This post contains SPOILERS, however plot details are very light in this review.

Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin

Well what can I say? Is it as bad as The Force Awakens?

The Good

Let’s start on the positives. At least this time the cinematography wasn’t awful, although the cross-cut action editing was annoying as hell. The first 20 minutes or so of the film was more or less a pleasure to watch. The pacing was good – much better than TFA. And the dialogue – although there was a lot of it – was good for the most part, the most glaring dialogue issues were with Tarkin and Vader. The droid (K2SO) was okay. He provided the film’s comic relief, but without the silliness of Jar Jar.

The Bad

This film goes nowhere. It doesn’t have any exciting space battles, or great action sequences. It’s dialogue-heavy. The characters are two-dimensional and underdeveloped. The use of CGI Peter Cushing was in poor taste, not to mention just poorly done anyway. Darth Vader’s appearance was lacklustre and his behaviour out of character. He throws people around using the force, which is something we never see him do except in satire shows. There is nothing new, fresh, or original in this film. Even the droid seems to be channelling Anthony Daniels’ C3PO instead of carving out his own character. Also, all the characters that have little to no knowledge or experience of the Jedi keep using the phrase “may the force be with you” – even though the only character that can use the force is the blind guy, and most of the time these scenes don’t even involve him!

Now there’s also a blind character. And he keeps his eyes open all the time and blinks like an ordinary person. That is simply not realistic – blind people have no use for their eye muscles and so don’t use them, and when they do their eyelids do not move in the same way that sighted people’s do due to their very occasional use. Don’t believe me? Here’s a video:

The Very Bad

The film’s plot does not progress nicely. The original trilogy, and the prequels all flowed quite well with the exception of Phantom Menace which feels like it makes Tatooine an extension of the first act, due to obfuscation of the main character. But this film has such a simple plot with a clear main character (Jyn), and yet it still manages not to flow! And even where it does, much of it is just not believable – such as the Traitor being able to intentionally sabotage the construction of the Death Star in the first place. And really – should we believe that after all of this the second Death Star still had the same sabotaged reactor core as the first – it just doesn’t make sense.

The film overuses the bad guys. Now, I don’t think they should have used a CGI Peter Cushing at all. It was awful to see this version deliver more lines and enjoy 4 or 5 times the screen-time of the real Peter Cushing in Star Wars. The Death Star should not have featured at all – again this is just lazy sloppy storytelling.

Credit where credit is due, I did say in my scathing review of Force Awakens that Rey was a stronger lead-character than Luke. Much stronger in fact, and one of the weaknesses of the original trilogy is to have had the main character upstaged by a secondary character. Of course this happened again in the prequels with Ewan McGregor’s wonderful performance. But in this movie, there’s no reason to care about the main character, and she’s just so weak. Her achievements in the film are spoiled by being inter-cut with x-wings and tie-fighters going mad. And that brings me nicely onto that point:

Most of the action sequences are spoiled. A really good action sequences requires the film maker to focus their attention and the audience’s attention on it. It builds suspense and has a climax. You don’t try to inter-cut two or three sequences together. When Luke and Vader have their final showdown in front of the Emperor do we see that inter-cut with the rebels fighting tie-fighters outside? No we don’t!

Furthermore most of the film is completely predictable. A good film takes the audience on a journey using a story that progresses and unfolds before them. In this movie we’re just going through the motions of what we’re anticipating to happen. To give a good example of this (and this is the most spoiler heavy sentence in the review), there is one point where the Traitor is about to be confronted – and it’s completely predictable that he will give himself up to save his men, his men will be shot anyway, and that he will end up dying in the arms of a loved one. There is just nothing good about that scene – it could have unfolded in a much more natural and less predictable fashion without affecting the plot one iota.

The Verdict

This film did get a number of things right that Force Awakens didn’t regarding the look, feel, and atmosphere of the Star Wars universe. The score was pretty goddamned ordinary though.

I’m going to say this movie is just as bad as Force Awakens, and possibly even worse. Disney’s just going to keep milking this cash-cow dry, so don’t expect anything great any time soon. I should also mention that I viewed this film completely fresh, I didn’t read any plot details before hand, or view any of the trailers.


Trailer 1:
Trailer 2, Trailer 3

Trailer 2:
Trailer 1, Trailer 3

Trailer 3:
Trailer 1, Trailer 2

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