Rogue One is the movie I wanted to see in 1977 after I saw Star Wars. As a twelve year old kid, I was more attracted to the war in Star Wars than the Force in Star Wars. I wanted to see a war picture, instead of mystical Jedi Knights. I believe that director, Gareth Edwards wanted that movie too and it took him thirty years to grow up and make it. If you felt the same way about Star Wars, you’ll love Rogue One. It’s all that an then some.
If you prefer the numbered films with their lighter fair and their Skywalker family angst, you might not like Rogue One as much. This film is dirty, cruel and many of the stars die. Just like any good war movie, sometimes the hero’s sacrifice means more than a happily ever after ending. I loved the grit, the rain, the new planets and the confusion of battles. Set in the Star Wars universe with laser guns and starships, this kind of action is what I live for. I liked it so much, I’ve written an entire SF series of novels about military members in a galactic war. So yes, Gareth Edwards and I were on the same page for this one.
If you’ve never seen a Star Wars picture, don’t start here. This is a story set in that universe but it’s not the main story. Watch the numbered movies for that. If you don’t like war pictures, you might not care for this one either.
This movie featured more than one bad guy too. In fact two of them play each other to the death and I loved that plot aspect in Rogue One. In fact I used a similar bit of plotting in my novel, Starforgers. The two villains who are fighting each other as much as the Rebels are Krennic and Tarkin. I wasn’t bothered by the CGI for Tarkin. My mind knew it was fake, but I was vested in the characters enough to just go with it. I can’t say that for Leia though. Her CGI cameo was a bit Uncanny Valley but it was her smile that I found out of place. Knowing how many people just died to get her those plans and all she can do is smirk? She should have been pissed. That look she had suggested she knew how it would end in the next film.
I loved the Marvin inspired K2SO android too. It has all the best lines without stooping to the tomfoolery of C-3PO in the prequels. That droid’s outcome moved me more than the human’s outcome. Which is saying a lot. Probably that I’m a Vulcan.
I loved the diverse cast because once again, war movie. What foxhole doesn’t have a mix of people from all walks of life in it? I also liked that the lead was not a super likable kid coming to grips with her maturity. Again, this is not about or for kids, this is an adult Star Wars movie.
As for the battle scenes in space, I loved them. I wanted more starfighter action but this film is not about pilots it’s about special ops and ground teams, so I’ll let that slide. Loved the inclusion of Red and Gold Leaders. As for the new ships, I liked the Imperial transport better than the U-Wing. But both ship designs fit the universe. Oh, and the starship smash ’em up derby was awesome. Something they just couldn’t do with models very easily. For all the hype about the new TIE fighter, we see it in the film for like five seconds. Pity. Once again I’m showing my bias for starfighters.
Speaking of starfighters. WARNING: NERD OUT TIME – Did you see the black camouflage on the Partisan X-Wings at Saw’s fortress? They are in the Art of Rogue One book and I dearly wished we could have seen them fly. If I were modeling an X-Wing, I’d do one of those.
With only having seen this film once to this writing, I couldn’t find any gaping plot holes or things that didn’t make any sense and took me out of the movie. Solid screenwriting. I’m looking forward to more viewings over the holidays to take in more details. I’m well aware of the huge discrepancies in the footage used for the trailers not appearing in the final film and all the re-shoots that took place. All I can say is that what they wound up with was good, whatever they were going to do, would be nice to know in the Director’s Commentary track for the DVD.