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Star Wars : Rogue One
Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:39 pm
I went to see this today! It was ACE. Loved it. I'm not bowled over by Star Wars as a thing, and it was only with TFA that I got close to seeing what everyone else does. This little film, though, has cemented my appreciation of Star Wars as something other than a "jumped up firecracker of a toy advert", as there's some proper character arcs and development and , as with TFA, characters I give a hoot about. I got so involved with what was going on - even though the entire plot of the film means you know how its going to turn out.
That, I think, is its key strength. Couple of my friends have been sniffy that its a spin-off made out of one line in the rolling scroll of 'A New Hope', but its played with so well within the confines of having a beginning, middle and end. Best of all, there's none of the crowd pleasing cameos (a couple of exceptions aside one major and one minor- one of which has added poignancy now*) and sense of it'll turn out alright in the end. Its a proper little war story about the things the good guys have to do to win that make them as bad as their enemies and how hard fought little victories can be.
And I love Jyn Erso. So much so, I picked up her 3.75" figure on the way home. Which is the first Star Wars figure I've owned since I was 4. So yay for capitalism.
*I was so fascinated by this I had to look up a You Tube video on this stuff as it was very impressive.
Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:21 pm
K-2SO was a delight and I love him and he is salty and precious.
Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:28 pm
Yep. As I said on facebook, Disney's two for two and well on their way to making Star Wars a franchise people care about again.
Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:11 pm
Didn't we already have a Star Trek film this year?
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:50 pm
Finally saw it!
It's one of those films where I think it will take a second viewing to nudge it into me either really liking it or finding it unmitigated crap.
I certainly like the way it unashamedly does something that's different for the franchise but very much in keeping with its original ethos: In the same way Lucas originally did the perfect distillation of every pulp serial of his youth this does the same with every Mission war film ever made.
The cast were fine despite the characters they were playing being a dour bunch (more on that in a minute), the set pieces were impressive (though my mother started laughing loudly at the--IHHO--stupidity of the ramming sequence at the end) and there was little you could point at and call outright bad.
But at the same time it felt unsatisfying. Largely because I don't think this type of movie is a good fit for Star Wars. At least without toughing up the opposition a lot more, you can't really do a dark gritty war film when the Empire still can't shoot anything right in front of them and a guy with a stick can twat them at ease. The actual war part of Star Wars has always been a bit silly and this doesn't quite bridge the gap between that and the film it wants to be.
The seriousness also makes for quite a dull bunch of characters, as noted the performances were fine (though how someone raised first by Mads Mikkelsen and then Forest Whittaker wound up with a cut glass English accent I'll never know), but they're incredibly serious and have very little humour or warmth to them. Again, probably realistic but many of the great war films this is aping had fun larger than life characters as well.
The blind guy was the biggest example of this, a possibly insane blind kung fu master who thinks he's a Jedi? Great silly idea. But there was no ooomphhh to his performance and he seemed to be napping at times.
The robot probably did best out of the heroes, I suspect the fact his dialogue could all be altered easily in post meant a lot of reworking during the extensive changes, certainly he seemed to shift between being a bit of a bastard and being C3P02.
The other big flaw is it was too long: You could easily have made the planet with Dad on and the planet with the plans one and the same and ensured both of the film's main plot threads climaxed together (rather than, as happens, finishing off the one that wasn't a foregone conclusion first). It would certainly have made sense for there to be a copy of the designs at the place where the Death Star was designed and the big shield being over a top secret lab makes more sense than the records archive.
A few people on twitter suggested it had to be two separate missions to bond the team and ask the tough questions about the two lead's motives... but the war films this is aping usually just have one central mission and have to bond the team and payoff the plot threads within that, so I can't see why that couldn't have been done here with some better writing and structuring of the plot. Plus tropical planet was a fairly fresh thing for Star Wars whilst we've had storm planets before, skipping that would have been fine.
Darth Vader seemed like he'd been smoking some good weed before his main talky scene didn't he? Again, I suspect a character who's lines are all ADR anyway meant they bore the brunt of the attempts to lighten the tone. Possibly the performance didn't help there, the new actor (I'm guessing they didn't get Hayden Christian back despite otherwise being faithful to the prequel trilogy actors with returning characters) was camping it up far more than Dave Prowse ever did.
The names of Mads and wife bugged me for being familiar during the screening, of course they're named after Galan and Llyra from the Headmasters comic! Spelt one letter differently in each case (trademark reasons presumably) and I'd have put one down to a coincidence (or just a Planet of the Apes TV show gag in the former case), but together and in a relationship? Has to be deliberate. Shame the daughter wasn't called Kord.
I wasn't expecting Tarkin to have such a big role (possibly not even that much smaller than in the original), I was expecting to find it awkward but--whilst I never thought for a second "That's a real face"--I actually bought into it. Probably helps there's so much motion capture in Star Wars anyway (including of otherwise normal looking types like Serkis in the last one), I wonder whether it would have stood out for anyone who didn't know Peter Cushing?
Oddly Leia felt less convincing at the end, though of course, that's got a weight to seeing it now. Especially considering that--as ADR is usually one of the last things done on a film--that one word voiceover might have been Carrie Fisher's last work even if we've still got one more film with her in to come.
I guess the last few minutes was part of the reshoots? Up to then it's almost fastidious about not contradicting anything from the original--would anyone have really minded if the Death Star had blown up a planet?--but the last action scene basically throws all that out the window and makes the Vader/Leia conversation that opens the original very strange ("I'm on a diplomatic mission!" "Dude, you literally just fled the battle. I watched. Look, there's the guy I chased aboard with the plans. Hello again there! By the way, I've been working on some quips. Would you like to hear one?"), I guess someone thought just transmitting the plans to the ship wasn't exciting enough?
I'll bet Admiral Fish was Ackbar at one point before changes downed that ship.
Would have been nice if at least one of the team had made it out alive. Once the tone they're aiming for sinks it becomes a bit obvious they're all doomed so at least a minor subversion of that would have been refreshing.
Bail Organa gets a very oddly dramatic "TA DAH!" introductory shot, as if everyone knows who he is. With all respect to Jimmy Smits I'm not sure he's that well remembered. Even from the Prequels he's no Samuel L Jackson or even Jar Jar Binks. The lack of explanation of who he is for people that don't remember his three minutes in a film 11 years ago makes the very clunky exposition heavy conversation about his "Jedi friend" all the odder.
He's certainly aged better than Obi-Wan in the same timeframe though.
I did like the small scale threat of the director, he's entire ambition was just to save face and keep his job and it's only having lots of soldiers that makes him a threat. I thought a flaw of Force Awakens was the supposedly impressive villains all seemed a bit rubbish (Kylo Ren: Handy if you want a wall or a pensioner stabbed, terrible at everything else), here you've got a desperate guy struggling to keep his head above water and no one treats him as anything but that and it works much better.
There's some great black comedy from how everything he does--starting with forcing someone to build his death weapon who doesn't want to do it--makes the situation worse and worse.
Not sure why he needed to go to Plans planet himself at the end though, he could have just phoned them up and asked for a copy of the information to be sent to him surely?
Oh, and visually I really liked how the Death Star had a real imposing presence in this that it's never quite had before. I really do think the TF films could pull off a full scale Unicron now.
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:58 pm
Enjoyed it personally, but I do feel that the next one needs to not be Yet Another Death Star Like Thing as the central plot point.
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:26 pm
Denyer wrote:Enjoyed it personally, but I do feel that the next one needs to not be Yet Another Death Star Like Thing as the central plot point.
I read somewhere that a Han Solo origin movie was in the works.
Maybe it explains where Solo came from, what his background is (there are some suggestions in Star Wars 5
that he might have been working for the Empire early on and maybe he deserted. I base this on the fact that he clearly knows a lot about Star Destroyers and their SOP before jumping to light speed, which seems like more info than a smuggler should know. I also freely admit that it's also possible of course he might just have paid attention to the Alliance's intel reports as well or maybe he just knows a lot about different kind spaceships) and stuff like how he met Chewie, how he won the Falcon from Lando, made that famous run he made in 12 parsecs, and the deal he botched with Jabba just before he was hired by Luke and Obi-Wan in Star Wars 4
. So there is plenty of material to work with here with that doesn't involve a Death Star and/or a Starkiller Base.
I don't know what the current status on it is though.
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:49 pm
I rather liked the characters being fairly straight-laced and believable. They are not Jedi super-warriors, but people who've fought just to survive. And I liked that Jyn isn't totally sold on going up against the Empire until fairly late on. It just all felt a bit more believable than the usual light saber battles and funny looking aliens, at least to me. Plus, all the cameos and stuff felt a lot more natural here than the stuff in TFA that felt like obvious fanservice (C3P0 and R2 didn't really need to be in TFA, I'd have happily waited until ep 8 to see them. And all that silly stuff about his red arm...guhhh).
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:00 am
I'm not sure they weren't portrayed as super warriors, about ten of them hold off an army. Plus the first time we see adult Jyn she's thrown about by the robot in a way that should probably have broken her back...
Not sure the cameos are less intrusive than in TFA either, the camera lingering on "You'll be dead!" guy and his architect friend just a bit too long and the C3P0 one liner that I don't think actually contradicted anything from the original but still felt a bit odd. Plus lots of characters from the various TV shows apparently.
Actually, was old bearded Rebellion guy supposed to be old bearded rebellion guy from the first one?
As they seemed determined to keep to Lucas' old statement that C3P0 and R2D2 will be the only characters in all the films, I wonder how they'll fit them into the Han Solo movie?
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:00 pm
inflatable dalek wrote:Actually, was old bearded Rebellion guy supposed to be old bearded rebellion guy from the first one?
Yeah, I think that's General Dodonna
There were some neat cameos that I enjoyed, being someone who watches Rebels
. Once in the hangar, 'General Syndulla' is heard being called over the PA system - that being Hera Syndulla from the show. And in one tiny
shot, Chopper from the same show can be seen scooting around.
Either way, I enjoyed the movie too. My absolute favorite scenes are the last 15-ish minutes, mostly due to the big man in black. I think, though, that the movie really works since it's such a 'canned' story. There's no multiple plot threads to weave, no trilogy or saga to start. Defined beginning, defined end.
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:51 pm
See, those are cameos and things that work to me because they're not shoved in your face going LOOK ITZ YOR FAVOURITITZ!!!?!! DO YOU SEE?!! I just like stuff that's there if you get it, and sails past everyone else (*waves*) without ruining the flow.
I guess if you're fully versed in the universe, then it might be a bit wearing, but it didn't seem so bothersome to me as a SW noob.
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:11 pm
I guess if you're fully versed in the universe, then it might be a bit wearing, but it didn't seem so bothersome to me as a SW noob.
I don't really consider myself fully versed and I found it to be a little bit pandering. :/ But all in all it was a fun movie. I think Bail Organa is a little better known than Dalek thinks, but yeah, that long shot was a bit weird.
I think the blind guy (googled name, Chirrut Imwe) played it up just enough. If it had been done differently I think it would have been out of place.
I dunno. I have more thoughts but short on time. Such is life.