MOVIE THEATER/FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which stars Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Inferno), Diego Luna (Milk, The Terminal), Alan Tudyk (I Robot, Frozen), Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Blade II), Wen Jiang (Devils on the Doorstep, Let the Bullets Fly), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Black Sea), Guy Henry (Holby City [TV series] V for Vendetta), Forest Whitaker (Platoon, The Last King of Scotland), Riz Ahmed (Jason Bourne, Nightcrawler), and Mads Mikkelson (Doctor Strange, Casino Royale). It is directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla , Monsters) and is written by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass), Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity, Michael Clayton), John Knoll, and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth). This film details the rebel alliance’s obtaining the secret plans to the Death Star that sets up “A New Hope,” as one woman named Jyn Erso (Jones) leads a ragtag group through tremendous obstacles to obtain the crucial information that can save the galaxy.
A new “Star Wars” film, as well as the first to not be about a Skywalker; what could possibly go wrong? Typically, when something like that is said, things do turn for the worst…wait for it…yeah, that is a true saying, even in this case (you thought that there was going to be a “but” in there, didn’t you?). I was not only disappointed in “Rogue One,” but was taken aback at how mediocre the writing is. I mean, this is only the second release to be delivered by Disney for crying out loud! There has to be at least a few movies before you reach a dud! I guess there’s a first time for everything. When I sat down in my theater seat, I expected nothing less than an entertaining adventure filled with planet exploring, evil plans, and stormtroopers. Well, I received everything but the entertaining part. Granted, there are some fun moments in this feature. I loved how we were given a glimpse at many different planets and ecosystems, as well as a few characters from the classic films who were brought back from the dead. This was a treat for “Star Wars” die-hard fans as well as those who are into special effects. However, no matter how much this has to offer, the writers could not pen an interesting story, let alone characters I deeply care for. The first problem with the story lies in the first half: it is exhaustingly boring. There is so much exposition that your brain could explode. In introducing all of the characters, we visit several planets, and by several, I mean too many to remember. I stated how I loved exploring different planets, and while seeing these different cultures and terrain was fun, I couldn’t really bask it in as much as I wanted because of how we jumped to different planets every ten minutes or so (at least it felt that way). The second issue with the story was the characters. They were moved like pawns, all scurrying around to make sure this story concludes where “A New Hope” begins. All of their names were engineered for only die-hard fans to remember, for I could only recall Jyn Erso. None of them were really memorable, because of how poorly developed they were. Sure, I understand Erso’s pain, but only in regards to flashbacks and what people say about her. Hardly ever did she express herself, let alone the crew that helps her. If the writers were going for expendable in their writing, they did a fantastic job, though I do think that they actually tried. Really, the only things I was interested in when watching this was seeing the killer graphics used to bring Gran Moff Tarkin back, Darth Vader, and just about any of the Imperial baddies. They were what saved this from becoming a snore fest, besides some of the action. Finally, what makes this tale such a disappointment is how it creates both silly moments and continuity issues for the classic trilogy. My gosh, the amount of times I chuckled or face-palmed couldn’t be counted. One accomplishment this movie has is in showing how useless the stormtroopers really are. Never before have I truly witness terrible aim. I mean, a blind man walked in the middle of no one but stormtroopers and came out unharmed. It was completely ridiculous. In regards to the continuity issues, they mainly reside in the technology used by the rebels to bring down enemies. Not once did they use a wire to trip over the AT-ATs; they simply shot an electronic repulse ray of some sort, causing the robot to crumble instantly. Where was this in “Empire Strikes Back”? Who knows. So many problems, yet so little rewards. I must say, though, the rewards were huge. As I mentioned before, the Imperials were great. Gran Moff Tarkin’s recreation was utterly fantastic, and how he was in so many scenes blew me away. Darth Vader, as well as the planet he resided in, was epic. He was a force to be reckoned with in the classic trilogy, but he was never as chillingly scary as he was in this (especially that final scene involving his full slaughter of rebels). He was amazing. Outside of those characters, I did enjoy the cinematography and musical score. This film was absolutely beautiful, with some of my favorite portions going to the very beginning at Erso’s home. The colors were spectacular, especially in the contrast between dark soil and green grass. It was heaven for a film major. As for the musical score, while not as noticeable as Williams,’ it still did its job, and I commend Michael Giacchino on that (he is the man to go to in music). This film as a whole wasn’t as grand as critics or fans made it out to be, and I will say that if it wasn’t for the explosive final act, I don’t think that this would’ve gotten as high of a score as it did. The consensus of everyone who went to the theater with me was the same: keep the last fifteen minutes and leave the rest. I wouldn’t say that this is an utter waste of your time, but I will say that it has little to offer to a fan with high hopes. Now that I have reviewed all “Star Wars” films, I will definitely need to alter some of the scores to fit this one in (as it is dangerously close to the ranks of “Attack of the Clones” and “Phantom Menace”). Overall, this film was a disappointment, marking it down as the first “Star Wars” movie made by Disney to join the ranks of the prequels. FINAL SCORE: 70%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: