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StillKirok

Rogue One Thoughts--With Spoilers

83 posts in this topic

 

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.

 

^

This.  All of it.

And I wholeheartedly agree that it is the best prequel, no question.  But as I also noted in my blog, it falls short of being a true standalone experience; this is not a SW movie for newbies.   This is Disney's mega-fan film for the fans ONLY.  And yes, that is a deficit, and it is also one of the reasons I ultimately enjoyed "The Force Awakens" more; R1 is not a complete movie.   That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable, because I loved it as a FAN.  But objectively speaking, I have issues with it as a standalone movie (which it's most definitely not).   And TFA's characters were immediately sympathetic; I can't quite say the same of R1's motley crew, who take much time to even begin to warm up to (Chirrut Imwe and the Sheldon-droid being standouts).

And yes, Tarkin...you have a good point.  I was so busy oohing over the technology I never really listened to what he was SAYING, and that (for a movie) is a problem.  It's so fanboy-delightful that it really does pop one right out of the movie.

The difference between TFA and R1 is that TFA works just as well as a first time introduction to the SW universe (much as TNG did for a new generation of ST fans in 1987).   R1 does not and cannot.  For a longtime fan like me, that's perfectly OK but I can only imagine the frustration and lack of understanding if this movie were one's first glimpse into that magical galaxy 'far far away...'

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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...

 

I wonder how much of those changed scenes will make the blu ray.

I'm wondering if, as that article suggests, there's a Gareth Edwards rough cut somewhere that features all that footage...? LF won't want that seen, because they like to keep their canon nice and clean - but it's almost like Blade Runner, in that there's almost certainly a different version of this story in existence. Not even an alternative cut - the story plays out differently, with a different overall plot. Both versions, inevitably, must lead to the same end. 

If LF/Disney follow the same route they did for TFA, we'll get some "selected" deleted scenes that don't mess with their official version of "the making of." The real story may eventually come out, but it'll be years from now. Maybe they're saving it for their alt-Star Wars box set which will also feature the original version of Star Wars '77. That's good marketing, after all. 

I do think this points to the basic problem with this kind of filmmaking. As fun as it was, you're ultimately constrained by the need to fit established events. Because of the craft that's evidently been put into R1, the movie works. But it could easily have gone the other way. 

I did have this instinct that there is significant focus missing in terms of lead characters, and that restructuring would explain a lot - how Jyn was originally a more abrasive character, Cassian even harder edged. LF/Disney probably felt it wasn't easy for an audience to relate to them, that they needed a fluffier general appeal, but that would've been the braver route to go. Possibly the greater narrative problems that they cited for the longer-than-usual reshoots existed too - I hope some day we'll find out. But I wish they'd focused more on bringing those lead characters forward and delineating them better. 

The winners here are Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus. Maybe we'll get a  spinoff showing their origins story, now. 

What I really want now though is one of these spin-off films which is literally that - a story set in the SW universe, not one that explicates events I've already heard about. Not gonna get that from Han Solo, though. 

 

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.

 

^

This.  All of it.

And I wholeheartedly agree that it is the best prequel, no question.  But as I also noted in my blog, it falls short of being a true standalone experience; this is not a SW movie for newbies.   This is Disney's mega-fan film for the fans ONLY.  And yes, that is a deficit, and it is also one of the reasons I ultimately enjoyed "The Force Awakens" more; R1 is not a complete movie.   That's not to say it wasn't enjoyable, because I loved it as a FAN.  But objectively speaking, I have issues with it as a standalone movie (which it's most definitely not).   And TFA's characters were immediately sympathetic; I can't quite say the same of R1's motley crew, who take much time to even begin to warm up to (Chirrut Imwe and the Sheldon-droid being standouts).

And yes, Tarkin...you have a good point.  I was so busy oohing over the technology I never really listened to what he was SAYING, and that (for a movie) is a problem.  It's so fanboy-delightful that it really does pop one right out of the movie.

The difference between TFA and R1 is that TFA works just as well as a first time introduction to the SW universe (much as TNG did for a new generation of ST fans in 1987).   R1 does not and cannot.  For a longtime fan like me, that's perfectly OK but I can only imagine the frustration and lack of understanding if this movie were one's first glimpse into that magical galaxy 'far far away...'

I've been holding off saying R1 lacks a Rey, a Finn or a Po, but it's true. True, they're easier character archetypes to relate to, and an aggressive, harder set of leads for R1 would have been a genuine and braver step away from what we usually get from this fictional universe. But in smoothing off their edges, we were left with these slightly ambiguous, wooly characters that didn't feel central and absolutely vital to the story being told. That's a shame, and a misstep in my view. 

I'm ambivalent to CGI Tarkin and Leia. Not because they didn't work, but because it was, front and center, a crowd-pleaser for people like us. No - just tell me the story without calling attention to it. This is reminiscent of Lucas' own reliance on "cutting edge" tech for his prequel trilogy. The problem with cutting edge is that it's soon blunted. The thing about the original trilogy that has endured is that fundamentally, whether the old FX looks ropey now or not, you are utterly enticed into and immersed in that world. If something is there onscreen making you believe it's not true, it fails. Now, the bairn didn't notice Tarkin so much although "his lips were weird." But she sure as hell noticed Leia. She loved it, but she knew it wasn't really Carrie Fisher. End of movie though, so, OK. I'd just seen live action Vader, forgiven. (Fan me smites editor-me with a mighty blow.) 

Conversely, we both adored K-2SO. 

 

Edited by Robin Bland

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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. 

WHAT???!!! Sonofa....I wanted this movie to make reference to Rebels, slightly upset that they didn't, and then it turns out I missed it. 

Second viewing here I go....

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Ultimately, I think they did manage to make Tarkin and Leia unnoticeable.  It was only because I knew that I noticed, but seeing the movie if I never saw ANH, it would have worked just fine.  So I loved it.

One thing that I did read was that the ending itself wasn't changed.  That could be wrong, but if the ending is the same, I don't see how they could screw with their continuity too much.

I missed the Rebels stuff too.  There were a few references.  Forest Whitaker's character comes from Clone Wars and I think he was on Rebels too.  And apparently, Chopper made an appearance at one point too.

 

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I missed the Rebels stuff too.  There were a few references.  Forest Whitaker's character comes from Clone Wars and I think he was on Rebels too.  And apparently, Chopper made an appearance at one point too.

 

Saw Gerrera's not been on Rebels yet, but he will be:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/rogue-ones-saw-gerrera-is-coming-to-star-wars-rebels-1790314994

 

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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.

 

This is pretty much what I've been saying. The main characters weren't fleshed out enough. They spent some time on Jyn's backstory, but the time jump made things confusing for me I didn't care about Jyn's apparent death at the end, and didn't even realize there was romantic tension until someone else mentioned it. I'm glad you brought up the scene where the little girl was saved, only to have Jedha turned into plate glass 3 hours later with her presumably killed. That was kind of a cheat. CGI Tarkin looked grainy in 3D, and yes I like your description of Leia, she looked like an exhibit from a wax museum. 

I didn't read any spoilers before going in, only having watched the trailers. From the trailers, I thought that since Jyn talked about the force a lot, that she was force sensitive. I felt a bit deceived when I realized that she wasn't, like the filmmakers were trying to fake out the audience by making it not too unfamiliar.

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I was pretty pleased with it since I went in expecting exactly nothing.

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This is pretty much what I've been saying. The main characters weren't fleshed out enough. They spent some time on Jyn's backstory, but the time jump made things confusing for me I didn't care about Jyn's apparent death at the end, and didn't even realize there was romantic tension until someone else mentioned it. I'm glad you brought up the scene where the little girl was saved, only to have Jedha turned into plate glass 3 hours later with her presumably killed. That was kind of a cheat. CGI Tarkin looked grainy in 3D, and yes I like your description of Leia, she looked like an exhibit from a wax museum. 

I didn't read any spoilers before going in, only having watched the trailers. From the trailers, I thought that since Jyn talked about the force a lot, that she was force sensitive. I felt a bit deceived when I realized that she wasn't, like the filmmakers were trying to fake out the audience by making it not too unfamiliar.

After the first two, I didn't watch any of the later trailers or TV spots at all, and deliberately read little about it. It's only now I'm going back and reading a lot of promo stuff. That link above I posted that dissects the trailers and posits a different original cut is the most interesting one I've unearthed.

It's the biggest problem with the film... vague lead characters, heroes and villain (Krennic) alike. I guess your enjoyment of the movie depends on how much you can put that aside. I think the supporting characters do a lot to make it worthwhile. I'm going to see it again as soon as I get a chance. I did really enjoy the third act.

 

I was pretty pleased with it since I went in expecting exactly nothing.

The ideal way to approach any film. Or new thing. With zen-like calm and a lack of attachments.

 

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I think this is a movie that will be better appreciated by fans that like a lot of the side-materials. The books and the games specifically - not just the cartoons. I grew up reading a lot of the Expanded Universe so I appreciated little side stories that weren't about the Force or massive cosmic battles. Rather it was showing a small but cool piece of a much larger puzzle. That is what this movie was meant to be - nothing more.

I don't know how much more back story could have been given to Erso or Andor. Jyn is the daughter of an Imperial scientist that grew up with terrorists until she was abandoned. She is then swept on a mission that reunites her with her father and thus the mission. What more is there supposed to be with that? That is more development than most movie characters get....

I do wish that Donnie Yen's character had a bit more development rather than just being along for the ride. Mostly because his character intrigued me so much. But I liked what we saw of him and I like the idea that normal, non-Jedi "worship" the Force. I believe the elderly character that gives Poe Dameron that map to Luke Skywalker is also another non-Jedi that worships the Force too. I wonder if there is any connection ...

The only aspect I find fishy because of this new canon is that Leia tells Vader in episode 4 that she is on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan. Even though, he clearly sees her ship was at the last battle. Seems like a flimsy excuse on her part. Although, there are tons of Corellian Corvettes in the fleet. I suppose if he did say he saw her ship, she could simply say it was another one? IDK. A very minor nitpick.

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I think this is a movie that will be better appreciated by fans that like a lot of the side-materials. The books and the games specifically - not just the cartoons. I grew up reading a lot of the Expanded Universe so I appreciated little side stories that weren't about the Force or massive cosmic battles. Rather it was showing a small but cool piece of a much larger puzzle. That is what this movie was meant to be - nothing more.

I don't know how much more back story could have been given to Erso or Andor. Jyn is the daughter of an Imperial scientist that grew up with terrorists until she was abandoned. She is then swept on a mission that reunites her with her father and thus the mission. What more is there supposed to be with that? That is more development than most movie characters get....

I do wish that Donnie Yen's character had a bit more development rather than just being along for the ride. Mostly because his character intrigued me so much. But I liked what we saw of him and I like the idea that normal, non-Jedi "worship" the Force. I believe the elderly character that gives Poe Dameron that map to Luke Skywalker is also another non-Jedi that worships the Force too. I wonder if there is any connection ...

The only aspect I find fishy because of this new canon is that Leia tells Vader in episode 4 that she is on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan. Even though, he clearly sees her ship was at the last battle. Seems like a flimsy excuse on her part. Although, there are tons of Corellian Corvettes in the fleet. I suppose if he did say he saw her ship, she could simply say it was another one? IDK. A very minor nitpick.

Hey Founder, good to see you. I was wondering what you'd think.

I read a lot of that stuff when younger too, and I still read the comics. But I don't want to have to read three tie-in novels and play a game to better understand a character that I take my kid and maybe her granny to. As I said in my original post, it's not about screen time:  "...Jyn seems like a strangely vague character, even though the script takes time to establish her history and motivations. ...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...

"Cassian is slightly better drawn... 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."

Around the Internet, Donnie Yen's Chirrut Imwe and K2SO seem to be the characters people have taken to most. I have a feeling the EU will certainly cater to demand when it comes to giving us more backstory there.

I don't want to create the impression that I didn't like this movie. I liked it a whole lot. But I was disappointed in the lack of clear definition of the two supposed leads of the ensemble.

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Hey Robin - same to you. I didn't mean to imply my post was criticizing your specific post. The timing was bad. haha. Sorry about that. :)

I was talking in general in regards to Erso. In my opinion, I'm not really sure what else could have been established in her background. I think the movie was so fast-paced and fighting hard to get us to the beginning of Episode IV that what you are looking for with Andor and Erso kind of was put to the way side. They gave us enough to give them the story and propelled us to the Death Star plans.

You also brought up something I forgot to mention - am I the only one that wasn't really convinced by the "romance" between the two? This was a movie that probably could have gotten away with zero romance. I was pretty surprised when they were on the left heading down to the beach that they looked at each other lovingly. Nothing else in the movie really hinted they felt that way about each other.

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The problem is, if they spent all the time fleshing out the characters, they don't get to the story, which is to steal the plans and give the Rebels their first big victory over the Empire.  Plus, since these heroes were not in the other movies, their deaths became necessary. 

As for Donnie Yen's character, he was my favorite in the movie.  I knew enough--he was clearly Force sensitive, and what we have here is someone like that that was NOT trained to be a Jedi.  We learn that not all Force sensitives become Jedi or Sith, which is a pretty big deal.  Yen also had what I thought was the funniest line in the movie--when they put the blindfold on a blind man.  We didn't need his life story.  We just needed to like him, so when he died, we felt bad. 

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Naaaah... what you need is the optimum balance. Like a good Jedi, a director and his team - the scriptwriter and editor particularly - must bring balance to a story. The sense I get of R1 is that there was an original vision (Edwards') and a revision (the studio's, as helmed by Gilroy). Not saying Edwards version was better - I haven't seen it so how could I know? But somewhere, during the restructuring of the movie, an overall directorial voice should have drawn a few elements out further, but didn't. This resulted in a weakness in storytelling. 

It's not a weakness that holes the film below the waterline. At all. But as Founder observes above, and I will reiterate, the central relationship of Jyn and Cassian - their emotional lives - really could've used some better delineation. Star Wars never shies away from implied or center-stage romance. TESB, the whole prequel trilogy, even Rebels (Kanan and Hera). In Rogue One, they're suddenly making eyes at each other as they're exiting the Imperial comms tower complex. Granted, that may be because they know they're going to die soon, and you never feel the urge to procreate so much as when you're in mortal danger. But that's a generous reading of it. They should've bolstered this aspect of the movie - all it needed was a couple of very minor scenes earlier in the narrative. 

I keep thinking, "But Vader was badass!" And he was. I carry that away with me. It worked on so many levels. Rogue One will remain a great movie for many fans and I'm glad about that... I'm one, after all. I just think, with some minor tweaking, it could've been an outright classic, exceeding perhaps even some of the original trilogy films in its dramatic power. It reached for that - applause - but didn't quite make it. That single, central relationship, if just brought a little more into focus, would've given it a greater emotional spine that would've made that final scene on the beach between Jyn and Cassian so much more powerful. 

 

Effectively, Jyn and Cassian needed a few extra lines or moments just like those given to Donnie Yen's Chirrut. That's what the best dialogue does - sketches in a whole life and set of experiences through implication. 

Edited by Robin Bland

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Naaaah... what you need is the optimum balance. Like a good Jedi, a director and his team - the scriptwriter and editor particularly - must bring balance to a story. The sense I get of R1 is that there was an original vision (Edwards') and a revision (the studio's, as helmed by Gilroy). Not saying Edwards version was better - I haven't seen it so how could I know? But somewhere, during the restructuring of the movie, an overall directorial voice should have drawn a few elements out further, but didn't. This resulted in a weakness in storytelling. 

It's not a weakness that holes the film below the waterline. At all. But as Founder observes above, and I will reiterate, the central relationship of Jyn and Cassian - their emotional lives - really could've used some better delineation. Star Wars never shies away from implied or center-stage romance. TESB, the whole prequel trilogy, even Rebels (Kanan and Hera). In Rogue One, they're suddenly making eyes at each other as they're exiting the Imperial comms tower complex. Granted, that may be because they know they're going to die soon, and you never feel the urge to procreate so much as when you're in mortal danger. But that's a generous reading of it. They should've bolstered this aspect of the movie - all it needed was a couple of very minor scenes earlier in the narrative. 

I keep thinking, "But Vader was badass!" And he was. I carry that away with me. It worked on so many levels. Rogue One will remain a great movie for many fans and I'm glad about that... I'm one, after all. I just think, with some minor tweaking, it could've been an outright classic, exceeding perhaps even some of the original trilogy films in its dramatic power. It reached for that - applause - but didn't quite make it. That single, central relationship, if just brought a little more into focus, would've given it a greater emotional spine that would've made that final scene on the beach between Jyn and Cassian so much more powerful. 

 

Effectively, Jyn and Cassian needed a few extra lines or moments just like those given to Donnie Yen's Chirrut. That's what the best dialogue does - sketches in a whole life and set of experiences through implication. 

^
As usual Robin, you articulate my thoughts far better than I can.   
:thumbup:

And yes, a more explicit than implicit romance between Jyn and Cassian would've gone a long way to giving their deaths a bit more impact; even if they are destined to remain one-off characters.   And that is also why I was so adamant that the movie feels like a really high end fan film instead of a 'real' Star Wars chapter; because the characters, while nicely delineated, didn't really have the emotional 'punch' of an instantly warm or sympathetic character like Rey, Finn or the OT's stable of characters.  

This is something I've seen in many fan films (ST Continues being the lone exception); they tend to be more about plot mechanics and often-distracting bits of fan service rather than telling stories about fully developed people with honest storytelling.   In R1's case, I kind of knew what I was getting into, so I didn't mind it in that instance as much as I would in a regular chapter of the SW saga.  This was a fan film; a mega-budgeted, meticulously made fan film to be sure, but a fan film all the same (not necessarily an insult; just describing it as I saw it).

That said, you made a very good point that the film's ending would've been a bit stronger if they had found a bit more balance.   The characters are our surrogates into that world; and if they're not relatable or interesting people, then you're doing little more than watching animated chess pieces...

holochess%20fight%20gif.gif

 

 

And I too, would be very curious to see what Gareth Edwards original version (pre-reshoots) looked like as well.   Not saying it'd be better or worse (like you, Robin, I don't know either way), but I'm just... curious. 

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Naaaah... what you need is the optimum balance. Like a good Jedi, a director and his team - the scriptwriter and editor particularly - must bring balance to a story. The sense I get of R1 is that there was an original vision (Edwards') and a revision (the studio's, as helmed by Gilroy). Not saying Edwards version was better - I haven't seen it so how could I know? But somewhere, during the restructuring of the movie, an overall directorial voice should have drawn a few elements out further, but didn't. This resulted in a weakness in storytelling. 

It's not a weakness that holes the film below the waterline. At all. But as Founder observes above, and I will reiterate, the central relationship of Jyn and Cassian - their emotional lives - really could've used some better delineation. Star Wars never shies away from implied or center-stage romance. TESB, the whole prequel trilogy, even Rebels (Kanan and Hera). In Rogue One, they're suddenly making eyes at each other as they're exiting the Imperial comms tower complex. Granted, that may be because they know they're going to die soon, and you never feel the urge to procreate so much as when you're in mortal danger. But that's a generous reading of it. They should've bolstered this aspect of the movie - all it needed was a couple of very minor scenes earlier in the narrative. 

I keep thinking, "But Vader was badass!" And he was. I carry that away with me. It worked on so many levels. Rogue One will remain a great movie for many fans and I'm glad about that... I'm one, after all. I just think, with some minor tweaking, it could've been an outright classic, exceeding perhaps even some of the original trilogy films in its dramatic power. It reached for that - applause - but didn't quite make it. That single, central relationship, if just brought a little more into focus, would've given it a greater emotional spine that would've made that final scene on the beach between Jyn and Cassian so much more powerful. 

 

Effectively, Jyn and Cassian needed a few extra lines or moments just like those given to Donnie Yen's Chirrut. That's what the best dialogue does - sketches in a whole life and set of experiences through implication. 

^
As usual Robin, you articulate my thoughts far better than I can.   
:thumbup:

And yes, a more explicit than implicit romance between Jyn and Cassian would've gone a long way to giving their deaths a bit more impact; even if they are destined to remain one-off characters.   And that is also why I was so adamant that the movie feels like a really high end fan film instead of a 'real' Star Wars chapter; because the characters, while nicely delineated, didn't really have the emotional 'punch' of an instantly warm or sympathetic character like Rey, Finn or the OT's stable of characters.  

This is something I've seen in many fan films (ST Continues being the lone exception); they tend to be more about plot mechanics and often-distracting bits of fan service rather than telling stories about fully developed people with honest storytelling.   In R1's case, I kind of knew what I was getting into, so I didn't mind it in that instance as much as I would in a regular chapter of the SW saga.  This was a fan film; a mega-budgeted, meticulously made fan film to be sure, but a fan film all the same (not necessarily an insult; just describing it as I saw it).

That said, you made a very good point that the film's ending would've been a bit stronger if they had found a bit more balance.   The characters are our surrogates into that world; and if they're not relatable or interesting people, then you're doing little more than watching animated chess pieces...

holochess%20fight%20gif.gif

 

 

And I too, would be very curious to see what Gareth Edwards original version (pre-reshoots) looked like as well.   Not saying it'd be better or worse (like you, Robin, I don't know either way), but I'm just... curious. 

Thanks, Sehlat. Any teacher of storytelling will tell you that character is the vessel by which all those movements on the chess board, those plot machinations and eye candy (in moviemaking) are given meaning. Otherwise, yes, it's just structure. Careful characterization can make all the difference between a flat experience and an emotive one.

I think Krennic could've been better served by the script too... he was overshadowed as a villain by CGI Tarkin and Darth Vader. With Vader, there's an inevitability that he'll dominate any scene he appears in (and I loved that scene), but all the stuff with Tarkin should've and could've been handled a little differently. When you have an actor of the caliber of Ben Mendelsohn playing your bad guy, don't squander him...!

None of this makes for a bad movie... in blockbuster terms, I think it could be called a triumph, and we'll definitely get further spin-off movies beyond the Han Solo one. It just nags the hell out of me that this one stops short of greatness when these are minor narrative problems, and could've been fixed very easily, especially considering that reshoot schedule. It feels like the movie's focus was on the easter eggs, the cool fan service stuff, the ending, not the overall strength of the story. Maybe that's why it feels so backloaded - whatever happens elsewhere, the final act is just one of the most exciting screen battles I've ever seen.

I wonder of some of the narrative weaknesses stem from the way LF worked here... reading the Art of Rogue One book, it's clear that Edwards and company worked overridingly in a visual way, everything was led by that. For SW, that makes sense - Lucas always did that too - but Lucas (on the OT at least) also had Kasdan refining an actual script, identifying narrative directions and the undercurrents of the story. I'm not sure what JJ Abrams did with TFA, but whatever that film's flaws, he certainly managed to help create memorable characters.

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^

Krennic was so overshadowed by Tarkin's resurrection and badass Vader that he nearly barely registers at all, I agree.

 

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Also...

ROGUE ONE - 46 SHOTS NOT IN THE FINAL FILM

https://vimeo.com/196155136

I was really waiting for that TIE Fighter confrontation at the top of the tower!

Also, the TIE Strikers were barely in it. As a fan of Seinar Fleet Systems, I would like to issue an official complaint. :P

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Also...

ROGUE ONE - 46 SHOTS NOT IN THE FINAL FILM

https://vimeo.com/196155136

I was really waiting for that TIE Fighter confrontation at the top of the tower!

Also, the TIE Strikers were barely in it. As a fan of Seinar Fleet Systems, I would like to issue an official complaint. :P

It really reinforces my belief that there is just a whole other version of the movie out there (pre-reshoots).  But you made a good point earlier about Disney keeping its continuities nice and neat and generally frowning upon director's cuts.   Wonder if any of this will be in the blu ray deleted scenes though...

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Also...

ROGUE ONE - 46 SHOTS NOT IN THE FINAL FILM

https://vimeo.com/196155136

I was really waiting for that TIE Fighter confrontation at the top of the tower!

Also, the TIE Strikers were barely in it. As a fan of Seinar Fleet Systems, I would like to issue an official complaint. :P

It really reinforces my belief that there is just a whole other version of the movie out there (pre-reshoots).  But you made a good point earlier about Disney keeping its continuities nice and neat and generally frowning upon director's cuts.   Wonder if any of this will be in the blu ray deleted scenes though...

We'll never see that cut. now for a very long time, anyway.

I hope the TIE Fighter attack at the top of the tower makes the blu-ray delete scenes, though. According to the Slashfilm article, you actually see Jyn draw her pistol, so...

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Also...

ROGUE ONE - 46 SHOTS NOT IN THE FINAL FILM

https://vimeo.com/196155136

I was really waiting for that TIE Fighter confrontation at the top of the tower!

Also, the TIE Strikers were barely in it. As a fan of Seinar Fleet Systems, I would like to issue an official complaint. :P

It really reinforces my belief that there is just a whole other version of the movie out there (pre-reshoots).  But you made a good point earlier about Disney keeping its continuities nice and neat and generally frowning upon director's cuts.   Wonder if any of this will be in the blu ray deleted scenes though...

We'll never see that cut. now for a very long time, anyway.

I hope the TIE Fighter attack at the top of the tower makes the blu-ray delete scenes, though. According to the Slashfilm article, you actually see Jyn draw her pistol, so...

That was the shot I really expected to see as well; when she went to that tower, I was practically counting down till we saw the closeup TIE fighter and.....we never did (!).    Did I mention that we waited 8 hours in line? :P

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That was the shot I really expected to see as well; when she went to that tower, I was practically counting down till we saw the closeup TIE fighter and.....we never did (!).    Did I mention that we waited 8 hours in line? :P

Just for the TIE Fighter shot? :biggrin::dance:

 

Didn't you book in advance? For once, I just Fandango'd it so I'd be sure to get seats and could just walk in on the day. We're lucky in that we have a really great local movie theater and you don't usually need to book, but they offer that, without a fee. On this occasion 'cause i knew it'd be sold out, I just did the advance thing.

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That was the shot I really expected to see as well; when she went to that tower, I was practically counting down till we saw the closeup TIE fighter and.....we never did (!).    Did I mention that we waited 8 hours in line? :P

Just for the TIE Fighter shot? :biggrin::dance:

 

Didn't you book in advance? For once, I just Fandango'd it so I'd be sure to get seats and could just walk in on the day. We're lucky in that we have a really great local movie theater and you don't usually need to book, but they offer that, without a fee. On this occasion 'cause i knew it'd be sold out, I just did the advance thing.

Hehe (to your first line... yes, just for that shot :P).  

And yes, we bought our tickets (via Fandango) the moment they went on sale, but the theatre we bought them for (IMAX) didn't have reserved seating, so... yeah, we're pathetic.:giggle:

 

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