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StillKirok

Rogue One Thoughts--With Spoilers

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I figured I didn't want to use the other thread for Rogue One because people may not have seen it and we are not at a spoiler free time period yet.  Maybe in a month, but being fair, let's get a thread with no restrictions.  So no spoiler space required.  Read on at your own risk for the rest of your lives.....

 

I had a much different reaction to Rogue One than I did Force Awakens.  If I remember right, my reaction to Force Awakens was that I saw a good movie, but not a great one, and that it was not very original.  I hated Han's death, feeling that JJ didn't have that right and it really hurt future movies by losing Ford.  Some characters are too iconic in my opinion to be killed off, and while I get it from a plot standpoint, it took away from the movie.  That wasn't the only issue, but overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, I gave TFA a 6 1/2.

That's a positive review, but not an overwhelming one.

I give Rogue One an 8 to 8 1/2.  I felt I saw a significantly better movie than Force Awakens, and the third best Star Wars movie ever.  The reality is, Empire and ANH are the standard bearers, and I think it's fair to say that no movie, no matter how good, will ever out rank those two.

So I'm calling Rogue One the best Star Wars movie since Empire came out.  I rank Jedi and Force Awakens 4th and 5th. 

I'm nowhere near as big a SW fan as a Star Trek fan, so my knowledge isn't as high as others', and I probably missed my share of easter eggs, but I caught many of them.  I loved the use of technology, even bringing back dead actors to the point where it worked. 

Other actors had their youth restored. 

There were some plotholes.  If you can transmit the data like we do emails, without a hard copy, why didn't the Rebels do more of that so that they didn't have just one copy?  Maybe you could argue there wasn't enough time, but over the course of A New Hope, they did have moments where they could do just that. 

I found it amazing that this movie literally ended only a few minutes before ANH begins.  THAT is how you make a prequel.

I would have liked to see more Vader, but I wasn't disappointed in what I saw.  Honestly, I want a full fledged Vader movie.

Only the cartoons have touched upon it and whenever they used Vader, all I can say is wow that rocked.

The cartoon may go there, but I'm imagining a movie that has Maul and Vader finally have their confrontation and something that maybe involves purging of the last few Jedi trained people.

But back to Rogue One--they managed to create characters that were really awesome, really quickly, not unlike Star Wars.  No Jar Jar in this film.  The closest was the robot, but I thought his one liners were funny.

I really liked Donnie Yen's blind Force trained character.  It's a shame that he couldn't survive the movie.  I would love to see more of him.  Donnie Yen is a terrific martial artist.

If anyone wants to see THREE really amazing movies starring him, go to Netflix, and watch IP Man, IP Man 2, and IP Man 3.  All three kick ass.

Rogue One is an example that even knowing what's going to happen, a prequel can be exciting.  The good guys were no match for Vader at the end yet it was no less tense.  We knew for 39 years that the heroes were going to get the plans and succeed, but that movie was no less tense.

Unlike TFA, the characters dying did not hurt the movie.  Maybe that's because they were created specifically for the movie itself.  Their mission was iconic, but not the characters, and it was perfectly acceptable.  What I don't get is that Felicity Jones is signed for another movie. 

 

 

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Well, I think it was better than ANH, but I've been consistently on record as believing it overrated. Then again 2001 bores me pretty hard, too, but I accept my minority status.

Listening to the score now, it's pretty good. Giacchino did well with little time. It's not John Williams, but, with the man's age, I need to start getting used to that. (sigh) That said, it fit perfectly as a Williams companion piece, which was the point.

There were some plotholes.  If you can transmit the data like we do emails, without a hard copy, why didn't the Rebels do more of that so that they didn't have just one copy?  Maybe you could argue there wasn't enough time, but over the course of A New Hope, they did have moments where they could do just that. 

I don't think this is plothole enough to defend to the death, but, perhaps transmission of the data that way required specialized equipment, or it was unique enough that the Empire's Galactic Interwebz could have been keyed to search for it and trace it, potentially endangering other arms of the rebellion. 

Unlike TFA, the characters dying did not hurt the movie.  Maybe that's because they were created specifically for the movie itself.  Their mission was iconic, but not the characters, and it was perfectly acceptable.  What I don't get is that Felicity Jones is signed for another movie. 

 

What she was up to before she was rescued, I imagine.

Edited by prometheus59650

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I'll bring this over from the other thread. I don't think anyone saw it behind the spoiler tag anyway:

One big problem is the setting and premise; we already know how the movie ends because we know that the Rebels had the Death Star plans in Episode IV. This is shoe-horned in between III and IV, which is well trodden ground. If they were going to do a prequel, why not go back way further in time to the dawn of hyperspace flight instead of re-treading the rebel vs empire fight? There has to be more to this universe... Why can't we see far flung corners of the galaxy with alien beings that we haven't seen before? Maybe get some insight into both the ancient Jedi and Sith and maybe see both in a new light? No, instead what we got is a WWII movie skinned as a Star Wars movie. Take away the lasers and tech and one would be forgiven for thinking they were watching a re-enactment of the Battle of Tarawa. 

Another problem was the characters. There were too many of them, many lacking depth. I felt that while she was game (quite attractive too) and tried to make it work as best as she could, Felicity Jones was miscast. Her character was written to be too similar to Rey's. Also, maybe I was missing something, but I think that they were trying to have her pass as a late teen, early 20's when the actress is in her early 30's. The actresses themselves were fairly similar, similar upper class English accents, similar look... The time jump also just didn't make sense. She was a young girl when her father was taken back to work on the Death Star. Was it really 30 years later when they meet each other again? 15 years would make a lot more sense from the in-universe timeline that we know of but I wasn't buying that she was a teenager. There was also the line about her being abandoned by her protector at 16. I got the impression that not much time had passed since that point when she confronted him.

I also felt that the humor fell flat. K-2SO had a few snarky lines that were meant to be funny but didn't really hit their mark. Maybe it was the dark mood of the film, maybe the humor comes more naturally when you have C3PO to bounce lines off of. I didn't really form any emotional attachments to the characters which I guess was good because for the most part they were one-and-done. The in-fighting on the rebel side almost makes one yearn for the orderly operation of the Empire. There was one heart-tugging scene when Jyn saves a terrified young girl stuck in the middle of a fire fight. Unfortunately, even this is undone by the destruction of the city. I guess Jyn prolonged the girls life by a couple hours, win? 

Overall, it was an okay distraction, definitely better than the other 3 prequels but I wouldn't put it ahead of the 3 movies of the OT or TFA. I managed expectations going in, as I wasn't a big fan of prequels in general and came away thinking it was about what I expected it to be.

On a day's reflection, I'd say that the characters that stood out were the blind monk and K-2SO. Despite being the main character, Jyn did not stand out for me. I had a hard time finding any daylight between this character and Rey from TFA. Apparently, if you take away the lightsabers (except Vaders), what you are left with looks like a cross between a Call of Duty game and WWII footage. With the force not playing a prominent role, it didn't have the feel of a Star Wars movie. Yes it was used, the blind monk's evasion and Vader's force choke, but it wasn't a big part of the movie. There were mentions of the force, and no, not every character needs to wield it. Han Solo was fine without it. What we were left with though was a heist movie cross with a WWII movie skinned as Star Wars. I'd give this movie 3 stars out of 5, or a 6.5/10.

I just think that with a one-off movie they could have left the restraints of the serialized trilogy and told a story from a different time altogether. The main revelation was that the vulnerability exposed by Luke Skywalker was by design and no mistake. It does explain things, but I don't think it necessitated a movie to explore.

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The movie was better than TFA and is a stand alone film. The characters in it aren't say the ancestors of those in Force Awakens at all. So not, it's not 30 years after Jedi like in TFA. Jyn is of no relation to Rey.

They would not set a Star Wars movie before hyperspace flight. That would be boring. Even Star Trek never did that. In FC they are about to have warp speed. They won't be doing that.

Jyn is a similar female lead, yes, but her age is not given in the film, so we're not sure how old she is when kid Jyn gets to hide, and adult Jyn gets to join the rebels. I'd have to see it again. The actress playing Rey does have way more charisma and range. Jyn is a bit like Leia, but isn't her.

From what I'd guess, Jyn escaped at around 11 years old, or perhaps 12, and was with the cyborg dude, Saw Gerrera, for about 4 or 5 years, as is said in dialog. Then at 16 she was abandoned. I did not gather that much more than 10 years passed since then, making Jyn about 26 in the movie. A 32 year old can play a 26 year old. Also maybe on her planet they age faster. The point they were making is she was left alone for about a decade, not 15 years and certainly not 30. The 30 years comes from the other film. This is set right before ANH. 

The Death Star, and likely Death Star II, were being built at the same time, and the first one was nearly ready 10 years before the story, but they needed Jyn's Father to fix the weapon part. The first was a skeletal structure in ROTS, roughly 20 years earlier. They built two because Sith like pairs.

Rey is likely born 5 to 10 years after ROTJ, the Ewok movie, because she is left there at the battle of Jakku, according to the back story. Since this would be 12 years after spoiler, Jyn and Rogue One's forces meet their destiny, she is in no way related to her.

Vader was back to being a total bad guy. Grandson Ben Kylo Ren Solo has nothing on him. Much to learn he does.

Yeah it was kind of like a Halo/Call of Duty, WW2 movie.

I didn't have a problem with the CGI characters, but I saw it in 2d not 3d. In 3d they probably look uncanny.

Rey is like the confident girl from high school who although introverted in school and fun loving, she could become a celebrity and ome back latrer some big celebrity.

Jyn is like the rebel girl in high school who is outgoing and loud, makes speeches, but is ultimately troubled and has issues that keep her from getting others to respect her, but eventually she is redeemed in some way, maybe not as a celebrity, but as some sort of every person or a peace corps person or something,

They are different female leads with different motivations. True both were left behind, but they are not all that similar.

They did not address Death Star II but it likely took years to build also, and was twice as big, so it was probably started at the same time as the other.

Edited by Chimera82405

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Easier if I just post the link to my latest blog entry:

Musings of a Middle Aged Geek/ Rogue One Review with spoilers.

I like it, too.  Very much.

I also appreciated many of the throwaway references to the earlier drafts of the original Star Wars, "the Whills" (from Journal of the Whills, mentioned in the original 1976 novelization of Star Wars, which preceded the movie), "may the force of others be with you" (the original version of that blessing), etc.  Those were nice touches that made the whole thing feel like a part of the greater Star Wars universe.

Also loved the meticulous and exacting way it aligned with the opening of "A New Hope" (hate calling it that; to me it's always "Star Wars").   You could remove the opening crawl of the original Star Wars and pretty much fit both movies into one massive movie (save for the differences in style and technique, of course).

 

I don't really want to give it a numerical rating because this is a fan film; despite the big budget, studio backing and all of the professionals that made it.    This was the best Star Wars fan film ever made.

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They would not set a Star Wars movie before hyperspace flight. That would be boring. Even Star Trek never did that. In FC they are about to have warp speed. They won't be doing that.

 

Dawn, as in, beginning of, hyperspace flight. I want to see the galaxy as it just opens up to interstellar travel. See the origins of the Sith and the Jedi. This wasn't a story that adds much to my understanding of the Star Wars galaxy.

Edited by Hammer

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Just saw it and I thought it was just ok. Maybe too dark for my tastes. Easily the best scene is Darth Vader kicking ass at the end. I thought the one mid-scene with the scientist was the 'add-on' so I was glad and surprised to see that other scene. Which makes me think that for me, Star Wars is about the Jedi and The Force; not necessarily a spy/war movie which I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who observed that. I mean even some of them had WWII-like helmets. 

Something I do love about this one and TFA is showing the Star Wars vehicles with an earthly background rather than just space. I think it gives it some sense of weight. 

I am glad all the characters bite the dust. I am not interested in a Rogue One pt 2 or anything like that. The Chinese character bothered me. I found it a bit of a cliche to have the "Asian martial artist" thing. Add to that 'blind'. Maybe I grew up watching too many Chinese martial art films for such a character to be novel for me. Generally, I found the cast to be 'meh'. No one really stood out for me except the droid. 

I thought the cgi Tarkin was great but the Leia at the end was a bit horrible. 

I love the U-Wing and the Tie Striker. I think new ship designs were sorely missing from TFA. 

A bit of fun for a couple of hours but nothing that fantastic imo. I won't be watching again. Once was enough. 

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I found it amazing that this movie literally ended only a few minutes before ANH begins.  THAT is how you make a prequel.

 

I was quite surprised about this. Very unexpected. I thought the one throw away line by Senator(?) Organa would have been enough of a tie in. 

I would have liked to see more Vader, but I wasn't disappointed in what I saw.  Honestly, I want a full fledged Vader movie.

 

Only the cartoons have touched upon it and whenever they used Vader, all I can say is wow that rocked.

The cartoon may go there, but I'm imagining a movie that has Maul and Vader finally have their confrontation and something that maybe involves purging of the last few Jedi trained people.

 

I find that the animated series have brought up Vader in an excellent manner. Sparingly, that is. My fear is that too much would ruin the character. 

I'll bring this over from the other thread. I don't think anyone saw it behind the spoiler tag anyway:

 

There has to be more to this universe... Why can't we see far flung corners of the galaxy with alien beings that we haven't seen before? Maybe get some insight into both the ancient Jedi and Sith and maybe see both in a new light? No, instead what we got is a WWII movie skinned as a Star Wars movie. Take away the lasers and tech and one would be forgiven for thinking they were watching a re-enactment of the Battle of Tarawa. 

There certainly is a lot more to the universe. I suppose corporate suits are reticent to throw something new out there. This movie, even for them, was a gamble. It's probably one of the reasons they threw in Vader(not needed at all) and made sure the word got out that he was in it. 

They also de-canonized(is that the word?) the SWEU. So a lot of what would be considered origin-type stories are not official. Still, plenty of material. 

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If anyone here watched the recently completed South Park season, Trey and Matt were ripping on TFA with their running gag about 'member berries' and how eating the berries made someone think that TFA was good. 'Oh, (re)member Chewbacca? Yeah I (re)member!' I think they've gone to the well too much with the nostalgia while failing to provide fresh material. It seems that Bad Robot thinks that the Empire vs Rebel fight was all there was to this franchise. The climax seen at the end of RotJ no longer has any meaning because the Empire fought on in another form.

To enjoy Rogue One, one must be emotionally invested in ANH and wants more backstory. For me, I really don't care how the rebels got the death star plans, or care for the retconning that the vulnerability was by design by an objector. That the movie was so lacking of the force itself, which I feel is the defining characteristic of this galaxy not the geopolitics, it was nothing more than a Heist/War movie dressed up like Star Wars.  

I know of the EU, I never read the books but I've heard about it. Seeing some of that brought to life would have been exciting. This movie scratches an itch that I didn't have in the first place. I didn't need to see this story to expand my understanding of the OT. 

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There are a lot of things to explore, but I don't think they should make the universe SO vast that there's no connection to what made the franchise great in the first place.  I think Star Trek had that problem by the time Enterprise rolled around. 

I think that if they make the universe bigger, they need to take baby steps and deliver kickass movies.  Rogue One was a great start to that.  We've known the ending to this movie for 39 years, and it still rocked.

This takes place at a time when the Force is really waning--just before it was reborn.  Of course, that's not exactly accurate since the Force didn't take a break without the Jedi, but setting a movie in this time really required a lack of Force use--since the only one in this movie that really could rock the Force was Vader.

I see a lot of clever writing in this script.  It was well thought out. 

And yes, I agree that being invested in ANH helps, and I think this movie really enhanced that movie, which is hard to do. 

I think that other movies of this type have room to explore more. The origins of the Jedi would be fun to learn about--especially with the Sith. 

Where did Yoda come from?  Who taught HIM?  What was he like when he was young and in his prime?

These movies WILL work if they enhance our knowledge, and Rogue One did just that.  I really want more Vader.  There is so much to explore between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One. There's also talk of more Kenobi.  There's a nice gap.  No law that says he HAD to stay on Tatooine that entire time. 

It's very nice to see writers who can take something great, that they didn't invent, and NOT screw it up.  Star Wars would be so easy to mess up. 

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That the movie was so lacking of the force itself, which I feel is the defining characteristic of this galaxy not the geopolitics, it was nothing more than a Heist/War movie dressed up like Star Wars. 

Star Wars' focus wasn't about the Force.

It was about good vs. evil. Lucas' simplicity, for once, worked in shaping an entire franchise. Light vs. dark. Jedi vs. Sith. Rebel vs. Empire.

Plus, most of us are burnt out on Jedi and Sith after the PT. It's nice to an entire universe exists where the Jedi/Sith/Force are not at the fore front. Like ANH was. It makes the Force feel special, rather than some mundane thing. Jedi were once again remembered as almost a mythical group rather than the third branch of the Republic.

Plus - you'll get plenty of Force with episode 8 and 9.

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For ANH fans, this probably would be a welcome addition to that story, it's episode 3.5. The amount that they showed Jyn talking about the Force in the trailers, I went in thinking that she had the force but was untrained. Instead we have Vader reduced to mowing down Red Shirts while Jyn is pulling a heist. I think that if you are going to have Vader in a movie, you have to have someone to fight him and that certainly wasn't Jyn. 

I thought the Tarkin rendition looked realistic although a tad flat, but Carrie Fisher's younger self was noticeably off in 3D.

I just thought that with these independent format movies, they could have gotten away from the main story line for the first time and got into Yoda and other Jedi's past, the past of the Sith Lords, etc., even before the Republic, Make the outcome be in doubt. I was entertained, but not blown away by this movie.

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The Chinese character bothered me. I found it a bit of a cliche to have the "Asian martial artist" thing. Add to that 'blind'. Maybe I grew up watching too many Chinese martial art films for such a character to be novel for me. 

I saw this as the franchise getting back to the force's origins in Taoist/Shinto/Buddhist/Eastern religions in general.  George Lucas originally tried to cast famed Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune (the Kurosawa movies of the 1950s) to play Obi Wan Kenobi, but the studio wanted a name.  Even Jedi came from Jedaigeki; a specific film genre unique to Japanese culture.

I saw it less as the Asian-mystique cliche (which usually IS a cliche, I agree) and more of an affectionate nod to the genres and philosophies of Asian culture which in part inspired Star Wars.

Not to mention that it was nice to finally see a prominent Asian (and a Middle Eastern) actor in a Star Wars movie.   Donnie Yen ("Ip Man") has serious box office clout abroad (and a cult following in the US), so it was a smart decision to cast him for multiple reasons, not the least of which were international box office, and (possibly) a tribute to the franchise's roots in Eastern mysticism. 

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The Chinese character bothered me. I found it a bit of a cliche to have the "Asian martial artist" thing. Add to that 'blind'. Maybe I grew up watching too many Chinese martial art films for such a character to be novel for me. 

I saw this as the franchise getting back to the force's origins in Taoist/Shinto/Buddhist/Eastern religions in general.  George Lucas originally tried to cast famed Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune (the Kurosawa movies of the 1950s) to play Obi Wan Kenobi, but the studio wanted a name.  Even Jedi came from Jedaigeki; a specific film genre unique to Japanese culture.

I saw it less as the Asian-mystique cliche (which usually IS a cliche, I agree) and more of an affectionate nod to the genres and philosophies of Asian culture which in part inspired Star Wars.

Not to mention that it was nice to finally see a prominent Asian (and a Middle Eastern) actor in a Star Wars movie.   Donnie Yen ("Ip Man") has serious box office clout abroad (and a cult following in the US), so it was a smart decision to cast him for multiple reasons, not the least of which were international box office, and (possibly) a tribute to the franchise's roots in Eastern mysticism. . 

Very true. The inclusion of two Chinese mega stars will help in China but I didn't see it much as a nod to the Asian philosophies. Just as an easy way to tap into the Chinese market(the new 'Token' character) and have someone who has great moves. To me, that's gonna feel cheap for quite a while as I see Hollywood shoehorn some Chinese actor/actress to sell over there while I'm still looking for black females to make a pronounced appearance.  

Perhaps the overall complaint of 'meh' for the characters is that you don't get to know much about them except for Jyn and even that's a stretch. Personally, I thought it would have been more interesting to know the stories for Chirrut and Baze but that's because they seem to have a connection to the Jedi Temple/Force. Was Chirrut a Temple Guard or a very devoted fan? That interested me more but I realize that's a different movie. 

It was great to hear a lot of different accents. That was refreshing, I did wonder throughout the movie how Middle America would take to that. 

I now realize why I like the droid so much. It was voiced by Alan Tudyk. That guy just can't do wrong as far as I'm concerned. 

Perhaps I was expecting something different. I don't know. I knew this wasn't going to be a Force-related movie. It was going to be more a spy action thriller. Now that I see it was more of a WWII homage I think I might enjoy a second viewing sometime down the road. 

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Asian actors as martial artists may have once been a stereotype, but I think there have been so many big name non-Asian martial arts actors that this is no longer the case.  Van Damme, Segal, Statham have all made big enough movies that they are well known for it, and most action heroes employ some level of martial arts in their fight scenes to the point that you could argue there really aren't too many martial arts actors anymore--just action actors.

So using Donnie Yen and taking advantage of his skills to me, is not even close to a stereotype.  It didn't even cross my mind.  My thought was, "hey!  That's IP Man.  Cool!"

I hope that Yen's use was because he was a good actor, and talented, not because of the Chinese market. 

And if you haven't seen the three IP Man movies--see them.

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Primarily, I saw Yen's casting (and he was truly memorable for me) as a nod to the Asian cinema; particularly the Kurosawa and Zatoichi movies that influenced George Lucas' earliest visions of Star Wars.  Yen's Imwe character IS Zatoichi (the blind swordsman/hero of that long-running series) and I like that the SW franchise kind of acknowledged that influence (even if Yen is not Japanese; which doesn't really matter 'in a galaxy far, far away...').  

And yes, the fact that Yen is already a big name in Asian cinema doesn't hurt international profitability either.  I'm sure that angle played SOME part in it.   Either way, it doesn't matter; the right actor got the right role.  And just what would the alternatives be; ignore the Asian casting base for a role that seems reverentially steeped in Asian cinematic lore, or hire another good actor who doesn't have the kind of broad appeal, martial arts ability (a requirement for the part) and international star power to lure that segment of the audience?  Neither option is appealing to me, personally.  

Having read much on the origins of Star Wars (JW Rinzler's books are a MUST), I can see exactly what Gareth Edwards was doing here, and for me, it was appreciated.   It was similar to what Lucas wanted to do when he suggested casting Toshiro Mifune (of the Kurosawa movies) for Obi wan Kenobi.  Lucas was overruled in that case.  Luckily SW is no longer as risky a venture for Disney as it was for Fox, so they have the luxury of casting however they want.

The Force Awakens was one of the biggest movies of recent memory and it had an unknown black male and an unknown white female for its leading roles (both of whom were utterly magnificent, IMO; they stole considerable thunder from their big name veteran counterparts more than once...).

Donnie Yen's Imwe was a standout.

Whatever the reasons behind his casting?  The right actor got the job, period. 

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I think that's the most important thing--I didn't see Yen as a PC choice of casting.  They created a new character, and it happened to be cast with an Asian actor.  That actor happened to be terrific in the role and created a pretty awesome character--so awesome that we now feel the loss in subsequent movies. 

I wouldn't ignore the Asian base.  I would trust that they aren't so simpleminded that they require an Asian to like a movie and cast the best actor for the role.  In this case, they did just that. 

 

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I remember reading about Vader's castle in one of JW Rinzler's excellent Making of Star Wars books (wasn't sure if it was supposed to appear in "Empire..." or "Return..." but I loved the idea of a dark, brooding place of his on the planet where he lost the last lingering vestiges of his humanity.   To people that would ask, "Why Mustafar?"  I would answer that many people who are traumatized sometimes find themselves attracted to the source/creation of that trauma.   It's not rational, but it's true for many.  

I think that's the most important thing--I didn't see Yen as a PC choice of casting.  They created a new character, and it happened to be cast with an Asian actor.  That actor happened to be terrific in the role and created a pretty awesome character--so awesome that we now feel the loss in subsequent movies. 

I wouldn't ignore the Asian base.  I would trust that they aren't so simpleminded that they require an Asian to like a movie and cast the best actor for the role.  In this case, they did just that. 

It's not that anyone's 'simpleminded' but representation DOES matter.   Especially in a market that has over half of the world's population, like Asia.  It'd be foolish for a big movie with a vast, international scope and broad appeal to simply ignore that market.   But as you say, luckily that need coupled perfectly with the casting.

And yes, that character was one of the most memorable in the Rogue One ensemble.   

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I remember reading about Vader's castle in one of JW Rinzler's excellent Making of Star Wars books (wasn't sure if it was supposed to appear in "Empire..." or "Return..." but I loved the idea of a dark, brooding place of his on the planet where he lost the last lingering vestiges of his humanity.   To people that would ask, "Why Mustafar?"  I would answer that many people who are traumatized sometimes find themselves attracted to the source/creation of that trauma.   It's not rational, but it's true for many.  

I think that's the most important thing--I didn't see Yen as a PC choice of casting.  They created a new character, and it happened to be cast with an Asian actor.  That actor happened to be terrific in the role and created a pretty awesome character--so awesome that we now feel the loss in subsequent movies. 

I wouldn't ignore the Asian base.  I would trust that they aren't so simpleminded that they require an Asian to like a movie and cast the best actor for the role.  In this case, they did just that. 

It's not that anyone's 'simpleminded' but representation DOES matter.   Especially in a market that has over half of the world's population, like Asia.  It'd be foolish for a big movie with a vast, international scope and broad appeal to simply ignore that market.   But as you say, luckily that need coupled perfectly with the casting.

And yes, that character was one of the most memorable in the Rogue One ensemble.   

It was originally mooted for Empire...! The whole "lava castle" idea dates back to McQuarrie's pre-production on TESB and even though the location wasn't named in Rogue One, I recognized it immediately. There's a lot of layers of meaning to ponder there. As a setting, psychologically and metaphorically, that's dark! Spectacular views on one's own past, plus the lava fields. And a great way to keep all that hatred and rage a boilin', seasoned with a good dose of bitterness and abstract self-loathing, too.

 

I'll be back to post longer about this movie properly soon... just kinda busy right now but if anyone didn't see it, I posted in the other R1 thread. Mostly, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. Not perfect, but mostly one hell of a ride and I can say it's probably my favorite of all the "prequels'... it does count as a prequel, right?

PS

Also "Yay" Donnie Yen

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I wouldn't ignore the Asian base.  I would trust that they aren't so simpleminded that they require an Asian to like a movie and cast the best actor for the role.  In this case, they did just that. 

Well, I lived in China for a while. Everyone loves/hates Hollywood movies. Having one of your own in a Hollywood movie is an international recognition. When a Korean actor was cast in Die Another Day(the dude with the bling in his face), Koreans went nuts. 

Of course, Hollywood shouldn't and isn't ignoring the China base. It's a growing market with a lot of moolah to be made. The trick will always be to ensure to cast properly and rightfully instead of stunt casting(Iron Man 3, ID4 pt 2, etc..). In this case, it worked with a cool but underdeveloped character. 

Remember, there's also a Disney Shanghai. This is very calculated stuff folks. Also let's be clear: this isn't about having an Asian star. It's about having a Chinese presence. To us, perhaps, it's all the same but not over there.

Anyhoo...I don't want to derail the conversation from the movie. Just observations from someone with a global perspective and Sino watcher. If you care to read more:

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/08/did-you-catch-the-ways-hollywood-pandered-to-china-this-year

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I think it’s a good Star Wars film. It looks and feels like one, and has a sense of momentum that really pays off, especially in that final act. There was a hell of a lot to enjoy. That whole end battle, in space and down on Scarif, is incredible. Poor old Red Five – now we know why Luke’s X-Wing call sign was available. The production design, the attention to detail, the recreation of the sense of being immersed in that universe was all a vast labor of love, and it was all up there on the screen. The Death Star is no longer such an abstract thing – here it wreaks destruction that’s vast and yet still comprehensible on a human scale. 

I do think it’s lacking in certain vital areas, though. So, gripes first. Yeah, character. When I came out of the movie theater, I thought how odd it was that I didn’t really feel I’d got to know the nominal leads, Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor very well.

Aside from them, after the preface even the main villain, Krennic is almost always on the backfoot. That would be okay if he was a shadowy, murky presence who stays around to play a major part in the heroes’ downfall – but basically we’re there to wtiness his desperate acts alongside theirs. He’s a threat on a personal level, sure, up to a point, and his end is poetic in the sense that he knows he’s going to be fried by his own greatest achievement. But this guy’s greatest moment is going up the chain of command to complain about workplace promotional etiquette to Darth Vader. Otherwise, he’s basically around to set things in motion and be bitch-slapped by CGI Tarkin. Even his flight to Galen’s scientific facility is desperate.

For all the pre-film hype, Jyn seems like a strangely vague character, even though the script takes time to establish her history and motivations. This isn’t down to Felicity Jones' acting chops – there’s something missing, some scenes which I feel should’ve been there. Something to really cement her position as inspirational leader of her merry band of rebels, something to generate a greater romantic tension between she and Cassian rather than the faint hints we got. She rescues a child, who later (must be) killed in the destruction of Jedha, so that felt really pointless.

Cassian is slightly better drawn – the “What the--? moment when he shoots his informer at the beginning, and then his affecting confessional later when he speaks of all the vile sins he’s committed in the belief that it was for some greater good. But that’s his peak. Well, that and the interaction with K-2SO. The rest of the time, he’s a slightly slippery individual that I wanted to root for once I knew a little more of his inner life, but we never really got that window into it.

The other supporting characters fare much better with less screen time – Bodi Rook is instantly likeable, both for his persistence and his loyalty. Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus steal every scene they’re in, and the reference to them being “Whills” was gold to a longtime SW fan. You get the sense of their oddball friendship and reliance upon one another despite their different attitudes and approaches. Chirrut’s death is very affecting.

But the film is almost totally about the connective tissue of storytelling – supporting established events, enlightening us and inviting us to see things we thought we knew from a different angle without stomping on our imaginations – how I’d always wanted the prequels to be. That’s a feat. But that’s why it feels legit to wonder if they should’ve bolstered the leads’ scenes somewhat.

I make that complaint only because I actually liked the characters, these down-at-heel, less empowered ordinary citizens of this fictional universe. At the end, when they’re on that beach, I wanted to feel about Jyn and Cassian the way I did when Chirrut, Bodi or K-2SO  caught it, and I didn’t, quite, ‘cause I wasn’t quite as invested in them as the film said I should be. I also need to say that K-2SO was a great character, another standout. His death was a genuine surprise (and upset the bairn enough that she’s still going on about it, two days later. She stole the 6-inch K2SO figure I have standing on my desk and won’t give him back. Guess what she’s getting for Christmas?)

Hats off to LF & Disney: you let the filmmakers kill the characters. That’s dark. That’s darkness not for the sake of it but for a genuine dramatic payoff – you come out of the story feeling that it all meant something, that it showed us, even via the lens of this great entertainment machine, that war is indeed hell. That all this went down so Luke could give himself over to the Force and take that shot in the final moments of his trench run at the battle of Yavin.

Cameos and easter eggs – Ponda Baba (Walrus man) and Death-Sentence-on-12-Systems Guy on Jedha was totally stupid and forced, but that was the only time a callback (callforward?) to ANH didn’t work for me. All the stuff with Gold and Red Leader during the climactic battle was great. Seeing Mon Mothma, General Dodonna and even Bail Organa was great. I also watch Star Wars Rebels, so seeing the Ghost and hearing the intercom call for “General [Hera] Syndulla” and seeing Chopper roll past was wonderful. I think I was more excited about that than seeing Threepio and Artoo.

Which brings us to CGI Tarkin – I marvel at this, but I realised I was admiring this technical achievement so much, I was no longer watching the film, I was wondering how they did it and how creepy it was, how much it evoked the sense of the “Uncanny Valley” in me. I think those effects will date fast, and I kind of wish they’d written it more elegantly, so he’d have appeared via hologram or something. Yet it was both very cool and very weird. I liked it, but it almost didn’t work for me. Leia didn’t – she looked like an animated waxwork, but then the credits rolled so it didn’t much matter. I think, in both instances, there are probably more elegant ways they could’ve done this, but when Leia turned, the bairn was squeaking with delight, so what do I know?

But bollocks to all that, because what did work, profoundly, was Vader. For me, Vader's scenes were among the best things in the film. I don't care if they were conceived as fan service or not – the whole film is, arguably, fan service. His role here is that of supporting player – these are the forces (no pun intended) our heroes are up against. This is what Krennic is up against. Here, Krennic is executing the classic maneuver of the previously loyal worker who has been shunted to one side by an ambitious competitor. He doesn't take his sidelining easily and goes over the head of Tarkin to complain to the next guy in the chain of command. Wow, you're going to complain about unfair treatment to Darth Vader? That's ballsy. Vader's riposte (delivered with the Force choke) is perfect. But it’s also a big reason why Krennic is a second-tier villain to my mind.

Also, it was cool that Vader’s castle was on Mustafar. Love that. Loved also the scene at the end. What a payoff. To my mind, Darth Vader's status as one of the greatest ever villains in film history is honored here. Even as a supporting player, he's terrifying.

This is how you do a prequel, then (because that’s what it is). You use it to build bridges, to support and deepen other stories around it and that follow it. Is it a good movie? Had they concentrated that tiny bit more on elements of the character relationships, given me a genuine reasons to feel for Jyn and Cassian on that beach at the end, I would’ve said it was a great movie, but for all its achievements, it just stops short of that. Easter eggs and all that kind of stuff is fun, but if they’d paid that bit more attention to engaging me emotionally, to fine-tuning those all-important backstories and character exchanges, I would’ve felt that vital bit more satisfied. Fanboy me adored it. Professional me with his editorial hat on was less forgiving, and he’s the bastard you have to please. It’s hands down the best prequel, though, by a major distance.

Wow, I got through this without mentioning The Force Awakens. I’ll save that for another post. I have to come back though and bore you all about the music, but I’ll save that for later, too.

 

Edited by Robin Bland

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^
Ha!  My wife and I were just saying how much material we saw in the trailer that we didn't see in the actual movie.   Maybe the blu ray will offer a director's cut?   I wonder...

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