Dare to Go Rogue?

rogue-one

            Robbie K here, back with another movie review on the latest and perhaps greatest movies to grace the silver screen.  Today, I review the newest installment in the Star Wars Legacy, entitled Rogue One. As you know, this movie isn’t one of the traditional episodes and is a new attempt at stand-alone films made by Disney to fill in the gaps and fill their pockets.  Does Rogue One fit into the galaxy far, far away, or should it be cast into a black hole never to be spoken of again.  Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

  • The Editing
  • The special Effects
  • Comedic Relief
  • Acting
  • Darker/Emotional Story
  • The Action

 

I could go on with the list of likes, but I have a word limit.  Rogue One was a film that delivered on so many levels and it starts with the editing and special effects.  Although a bit choppy at the beginning with the introduction to new characters, Rogue One’s team eventually tightened up their editing.  Most scenes were integral to the components of the film and helped provide pertinent details to paint a complete picture.  Unlike some of the other films, the special effects were very appropriate for the movie, polished and crafted to make the worlds come to life and amp up the action, (and yes 3-D worked for this film).  Yet what this reviewer liked was the smooth integration of some nostalgic movie clips, and the beautiful (although fake looking at times) CGI recreation of some characters.  Disney met the challenge of bridging the 40-year gap with flying colors, melting new and old into a visually stunning film.

 

Special effects aside, the plot elements have returned to the art of storytelling that fans have craved for years.  Rogue One is a much darker story, bringing elements of the Empire Strikes back and Revenge of the Sith and crafting it into a new form.  The result is a suspenseful story filled with dangerous thrills and dynamic challenges that push our heroes to new limits.  What was once black and white heroics vs evil, instead becomes a grey area that paints just how ugly war is and the choices some make to ensure their goal is accomplished. Fortunately, there is some lighter comedic moments to help break the tension, most of which are appropriate to keep the film fun despite the darker elements.  In addition, Jen and her team get some good character development as well, and helps you get locked into the emotional roller coaster they create.  The characters are indeed an odd assortment that make for an awkward like family…set to destroy imperials.  Their actors did a great job bringing the oddball cast to life, not only in the rebel look, but also in the spirit of defiance necessary for a mercenary.

 

By far though, my favorite like was the action Rogue One had.  This film took what we wanted in Episode 7 and amplified it by 100.  In the beginning, there are some choppy, but well-choreographed guerilla fights that help test the waters and slowly introduce you into the theme of the movie.  The last hour of the film though kicks it into high gear and brings you a set of sequences that will make any nerd scream in delight.  Like a video game brought to life, the battle of this film has all the magic of the first trilogy, with the special effects of the prequels.  You will feel like you are placed in the heat of battle and perhaps find yourself gripping the seat arms at the intensity unfolding on the screen.  It’s adrenaline pumping, nonstop thrills that also have some emotional depth to it and in the end, you will not want to leave your seat because you want to watch it again.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Choppy at the beginning
  • Forrest Whittaker’s part
  • Humor got a little cheesy at times
  • A little closer combat moments
  • Some deeper character development

 

Despite all the good this movie has, there are a few (albeit nitpicky) dislikes I had for this movie.  First the editing and story were a bit choppy at the beginning, as they tried to set the stage rapidly on a variety of worlds.  This made the opening a bit slow and uninteresting, but have faith it gets better.  Unfortunately, the main dropped potential is Forrest Whittaker’s role.  After the big publicity stunt Disney pulled in his revelation, Whittaker’s character doesn’t do much aside from a well written monologue.  Fans of the Clone Wars series may feel gipped that the commander is more bark than bite, especially with all the hype placed on him in the beginning.

 

Outside of this though, the other dislikes are very minor for me.  There are a few comedic stretches where a pun or line just didn’t fit in, which kind of derailed the moment’s intensity. In regards to the action, while I always want more because of my action junky attitude, it would have been nice to see some more staff and club wielding from our heroes.  Had Disney not focused their trailers on this it wouldn’t have been an issue, but outside of a few stints, you can expect more blasters than anything.

 

Finally, the last dislike comes from wanting a little more character development to the team.  In this film where there are lots of components to balance, they did a remarkable job on Jen’s story.  However, the rest of her team gets stiffed in regards to their origins/development role, which was a bit disappointing.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand their places in the film, the time constraints, and that Jen is the leader, but certainly they could have shed a little more of the spotlight on them.  Perhaps Disney is planning to this via books or their television series so there may be a New Hope in the future.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Despite all the uncertainty, marketing errors, and doubt, Rogue One is one of the best installments to the series in years.  It has the plot components of the original story with the graphics of the new era, and truly feels like the war we’ve always wanted to see.  Yes, it is darker and more violent than any of the others, but it still falls into the same level of Star Wars goodness we’ve hoped for years to come.  For me it certainly blew Episode 7 out of the water, and I look forward to what the other stand-alone films have to offer.  No surprise (and as if I could stop you) Rogue one needs to be seen in theaters (perhaps in 3-D and twice).  So, enjoy my friends and may the force be with you this holiday season.

 

My scores:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  9.0

Movie Overall: 8.5

 

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