Rogue One: A Hardened Battle Story or a Soulless Masquerade?

I have issues with Rogue One.  And apparently I have issues completely different from everyone else.

Get ready for a doozy of a review.

My main issue is: I’m not sure I liked the movie.  I keep telling myself that’s okay, and I don’t like AOTC much either, but it’s still weird to realize that I don’t like a Star Wars movie.

The two standout reasons for being disgruntled with the film were:

  1. I did not like Jyn Erso, and
  2. I did not like the cameos of Darth Vader and Princess Leia

I found Jyn to be boring.  Disney and Kathleen Kennedy are doing a great job bringing female protagonists front and center and I really admire them for it.  The whole problem with Jyn is that I don’t believe in her cause.  In fact, did she really have a cause?  Sure, once she saw

This is the same facial expression I had for the entire movie.

This is the same facial expression I had for the entire movie.

the hologram of her dad, she became part of a larger fight (the Rebellion), but I’m not sure I believed her.  Her motivational speech to the Alliance fell flat to me and left me wishing for William Wallace to give her some lessons.

I’m not sure where the writers were going with her character.  I felt like we never really “knew” Jyn.  We were given a little bit of background info on her, her parents, family, and that she knew Saw…but it was so small that it hardly led me to believe that she would all of a sudden become gung ho about the Rebellion.

It also seemed like they wanted to make her a “tough girl”.  I love tough girls.  But tough girls that go haywire at the slightest provocation make me roll my eyes.  Why did she beat up everyone when the Imperial transport was stopped and she was rescued?  Further, if you are going to make her a tough girl and you want to stick with that – why did you have Cassian come in and save the day at the very end?  The entire movie was trying to make Jyn seem independent and tough but I never got to see her independence.  Sure, the point of the movie was this was a team job, but it would have been nice to have ONE MOMENT where Jyn shone without anyone else backing her up.

I can’t remember one line from Jyn because everything she said was unmemorable.  And bland.  And meh.

As for the cameos – I thought both Darth Vader and Princess Leia were unnecessary.  Darth Vader’s spa retreat on Mustafar was weird and do you really think he would have time for weazily little Directors like Krennic?  Even if Krennic is in charge of the Death Star?  No.  Or, if he did want to see Krennic, do you think he would call Krennic to his private sanctuary on Mustafar?  (Please realize I have no problems with Darth Vader having his home on Mustafar and it’s been hinted at before with canon material)

Further, the end scene when Darth Vader kicks some butt is cool.  I agree.  However, it kind of messes up ANH a little bit which irked me.  darth-vader-rogue-oneVader watches the Tantive IV disappear into the galaxy, yet Princess Leia has the nerve to say she’s on a “diplomatic mission to Alderaan”, when they are captured.  Even though we all know she is lying in ANH, now it seems slightly more ridiculous, and on top of that all her statements of being a member of the Imperial Senate makes me wonder…well why were you at Scarif?  Because now we all know she was at Scarif and it’s so RANDOM.  It wasn’t played right.  But okay, I could argue that was minor tweaking of the plot and only something devout fans would recognize.  (It’s not as bad as Leia claiming she remembers her mother, but Padmé dies in childbirth.)

Seeing how Darth Vader was used, I believe it should have been one scene or the other, and even though I have all those issues with the last scene – I would have preferred that scene of Vader kept in the movie versus the Mustafar spa retreat.

Actually, personally, truth speak – I would rather Vader and Leia not be in the movie at all.  I think the movie would have been stronger without them and that Disney should have taken the chance not to pull them into the story and see how people liked it without familiar main characters.

Those are my two issues that seriously detracted from my enjoyment of the movie.  That being done, here is what I liked and didn’t like to smaller degrees.

 

What worked:

  • I liked that Disney took a chance. I like that the movie was different and not what you expected from Star Wars.  It was fun to have new characters and see unexplored areas of the galaxy.
  • No romance. I know this is debatable due to one of the last scenes between Jyn and Cassian, but I liked seeing teamwork and no undercurrents of “Will they, won’t they?” romantic entanglements.
  • Everyone dies! Yes!  I like that!  In fact, I loved it!  I thought the way the deaths played out could have been better.  I’m not sure they really gave the protagonist characters justice with their deaths, but it made so much sense for everyone to die that I really appreciated that step forward in the Star Wars movies.
  • Director Krennic. I really, really liked him.  I thought he was a perfect addition to the Star Wars universe and his death gave his orson-krennic-and-deathtrooperscharacter justice.  The way he strove so hard, yet was kicked and pushed aside by those higher than him really made me feel for him, more than anyone else in the movie.  He was the only one I kind of related to, in a weird way.  He’s very Machiavellian, for realz, but I liked him.
  • Diversity.  I won’t say much on this because it’s been written on plenty by others, but it was refreshing and so totally needed.
  • I liked the revelation of the Death Star purposefully having that exhaust port which is it’s one flaw, done by Galen Erso.  My husband said, “This helps the 4th movie make so much more sense!”  Though I had never really thought about it, it does help ANH make more sense and makes Luke’s victory taste sweeter.
  • CGI Tarkin. I believe I am one of the few people out there that liked CGI Tarkin.  I thought he was really well done and I liked seeing his role in the Star Wars universe expanded on.  I didn’t find his face that disturbing either…I know some people had a lot of trouble with the use of CGI on faces, but I had way more trouble accepting Leia than Tarkin.  Maybe because I thought Leia was unnecessary to the plot, whereas Tarkin moved the plot along so I had no problems accepting the CGI.
  • K-2SO. Thank God for K-2SO.  Without him, the movie would have been very serious and hard to watch.  He was definitely funny and a much needed droid for the Rogue One team.
  • I loved that “Rogue One” could have many different meanings. The fact that Bodhi was the one who made it up, added a completely different layer.  Does Rogue One refer to the rag tag team that goes to Scarif as we are meant to believe?  Or does it refer to Jyn?  Or Bodhi, the deserter Imperial pilot?  Or does it refer to the entire Rebel Alliance?
  • I enjoyed seeing the Rebellion as a more rough and tough team, with Cassian having to murder someone in the beginning of the movie. This guerilla feel to the Alliance felt more real for me.  Cassian was one of my favorite characters, along with Krennic.  I thought he represented someone who had been hurt, knew the price the Rebellion would pay for losing, but still moved forward anyway and would do what it takes to get his team to have home field advantage.
  • The space battle above Scarif. Bravo!  That was wonderfully done, especially the Hammerhead hitting the Star Destroyer.

 

What did not work:

  • Jyn’s character. Boring, unbelievable, and not enough moments to shine.
  • The cameos of Vader and Leia.
  • The entire first half of the movie. Star Wars has a lot of planets, but this movie really jumped around for a while.  They also listed every planet’s name and a description with it, which kind of jolted me out a little bit.  To me, Star Wars is primarily about common themes jedhaand a relatable core. I felt like Rogue One, especially the parts with Saw Gerrera, fell flat in that department.  The beginning was as uneven as Jyn’s ride to the Imperial Base.  It jumped to so many different planets, didn’t flesh out characters, and I even got bored at some points.  I think once they go to Yavin 4 and were trying to convince the Rebel Alliance to steal the Death Star plans and go to Scarif, it started getting a lot better.
  • Motivations.  Not only with the characters but also with the Rebellion.  I couldn’t figure out the motivations of some of the characters and that made it hard for me to connect with them or even care about their death – specifically Baze and Chirrut.  On a larger scale, I had trouble feeling for the Rebellion and rooting for their cause.  I’m a Rebellion girl through and through but this movie made me more interested in the Empire (so weird writing that).   The Empire was where it was at!  They were organized, efficient and had very clear reasons for what they were doing.  I didn’t feel like the Rebellion would inspire hope in me if I was going to choose one or the other.  That left me a little down because I wanted to cheer for who I knew were the good guys, but instead I felt like they needed to get their act together.

The movie and its characters needed more soul.  If this was not a Star Wars movie, would I like it?  Probably not.  I understand why Disney wanted to make this a battle story, and the second half really worked.  But they forgot that what attracts fans and casual viewers to Star Wars in the first place.  If I care about the characters, I care about their fight.  Sadly, I think Rogue One fell short in many aspects of this.

Share your thoughts. Please.

Geek Out! Star Wars Rebels Edition

I haven’t given a Geek Out! in a while, so I thought I’d devote this one entirely to Star Wars Rebels, since more details have been coming out here and there in the past few months.

I’m excited for Star Wars Rebels, the new TV show coming out this fall.  After being so hesitant and angry with The Clone Wars when it was released, and then enjoying it once I actually started watching it, I won’t be making the same mistake with Star Wars Rebels.  I mean, this is a time period in the Star Wars that I’ve always wanted to know about.  Clone Wars, not so much, but the formation of the Rebellion?  Totally!  I have an Alliance Starbird tattoo for a reason…

Before the Prequels were even released, I wanted to know how the Empire had begun, when the Jedi disappeared, and about Luke and Leia’s childhood.  Will we know all of that?  Probably not.  Luke and Leia’s childhood would be pushing it, and I’m not sure if I even want to know about that. I would like there to be still SOME mystery about Star Wars, even with all these new movies and new TV show.

But what do we actually know about this show?  Since Disney has acquired Lucasfilm, things have been very hush hush around Star Wars.  I’m perfectly okay with that, as I love being spoiler-free and having surprises, but they have been a little more willing to let details leak regarding Rebels.

So what do we know?

Timeline

  • The series begins about 4-5 BBY, fourteen years into the reign of the Galactic Empire.  So that means Luke and Leia are around 14 years old.

Ships

  1. There is a ship called Ghost.  Ghost is actually shaped a little like the Millenium Falcon with that circular-ish shape.  Lego sets to be revealed this year say “Pilot The Ghost with 2 cockpits, 360-degree rotating gun turret, spring-loaded shooters, detachable escape pods, Holocron and more.”
  2. There is a ship named Phantom.  According to Lego sets, Phantom is known as an attack shuttle with an “opening cockpit, 2-way spring-loaded shooter, rear cargo compartment and more.” They actually say “detachable cockpit” later in the description so that’s interesting.  A cockpit that is like an escape pod almost?  But how do you get the cockpit back to the ship?
Ghost

Ghost

Characters

  1. The Inquisitor.  Ladies and Gentleman, we have a villain!  Sounds like this guy was hired by Darth Vader to finish the dirty work he started: hunt down the remaining Jedi that survived the Great Jedi Purge.  He is a Pau’an, the species that lived on Utapau and let Obi-Wan know where General Grievous was hiding in ROTS.  According to the EU*, Pau’ans were not friendly with the Empire, so it’s interesting to see that the Inquisitor could be the black sheep.
  2. Ezra Bridger.  We don’t know much of this character as he was only introduced by Lego as a character paired with the ship The Phantom, and is a “young Rebel hero” who has a cadet helmet and blaster.  Cadet helmet?  Cadet usually means someone in training for the military, so perhaps they mean training for the Rebellion?  It would be interesting if it meant something else though as we know the main military at the time is obviously the Empire.
  3. Zeb.  No last name for this guy.  Again, this comes from Lego as he is paired with Ghost.  It says to “Join the Rebel heroes…” when referring to this set, so we can take a safe guess at knowing that Zeb is also part of the fledgling Alliance.
  4. Chopper aka C1-10P.  Oh, it’s so cute.  Chopper was just introduced a few days ago as the new droid who helps out on Ghost and described as a “cranky” astromech droid.  The design for this droid was inspired by an early concept drawing of R2-D2 taken from Ralph McQuarrie.

 

Miscellaneous Plot Points

  • According to Dave Filoni, Rebels is going to stick to “one story and one main group of characters”.  Hmmmm…a little reminiscent of the OT, huh?
  • There are two primary female leads.  Ezra is not a female, as the Lego synopsis says “his” in it.  There is no reference to sex with Zeb, so perhaps Zeb could be a female?  I’m interested to know the role these two female leads will play, as Ahsoka was such a hit in TCW.  I’d love to see the main villain also be a female, but I guess I can wait on that one.  Either way, girls kicking butt is awesome, so I’ll take it.  Disney 😄 is primarily geared towards young boys; it’ll be good to see some females taking part of the action.
  • According to Athena Portillo (Line Producer), we will see some familiar faces.  Does that mean the obvious, like Darth Vader?  Or could it mean glimpses of our original heroes?  Or even Boba Fett?  Characters from TCW (Cad Bane anyone?!)?  Or even throw in some EU stuff?
  • Greg Weisman points out that we won’t see what we know as the Rebel Alliance yet, because right now, it’s just a group of rebels (notice no capital R).  He says this show really is about the origin of the Rebellion.
  • Ghost hosts a “clever and motley crew” where “this ragtag group will face threatening new villains, have thrilling adventures, and become heroes”, according to action figure packages revealed at NYCC this year.  Could this be the group that forms the Rebellion?  I’m guessing it might be, based on how we have seen more of the ship Ghost than anything else from Star Wars Rebels.
  • The Inquisitor is hunting down the remaining Jedi, so that means we could see some of those Jedi he finds.  How the Inquistor ties into Ghost and the forming Rebellion could be interesting.

So that’s the latest edition of Geek Out! Rebels edition.  What seems like only a little bit of information that has been leaked out in the past few months, is actually a lot more informative than you’d think.

Based on what we know now, do you think you will watch the show?

 

 

 

*The EU is apparently going through some reworking.  A Lucasfilm Story Group has been created to keep track of “all facets of Star Wars storytelling, including movies, TV, games, and publishing.”  In a nutshell, they are trying to move forward and have everything be part of one canon.  I’m sure it will become more clear over time, but it may mean that the Pau’ans history with the Empire means nothing.

Star Wars Rebels Teaser Trailer Released

The Rebels are back!  Dave Filoni and team gave us our first glimpse last night of the new animated TV show to be released next year: Star Wars Rebels.

There’s not much to take from this narrative that we don’t already know, except for one key line, “The Jedi will rise, and you will know the power of the Force.”

The Jedi will rise?  You mean to tell me that not all are wiped out after Order 66?  This could mean that we see hints of Yoda and Obi-Wan again, plus others.  But could it mean that by the end of the series, all the Jedi will be completely wiped out other than Obi-Wan and Yoda?  This show could deal with a lot of heavy subjects if they go that route, which gives me hope.

The forming of the Alliance will also be interesting to watch.  I’m also curious as to the timeline of where this series will line up with the movies.  Will it end right before ANH?  If that’s the case, maybe we’ll see Biggs Darklighter.

There are so many interesting directions this show could take, maybe more so than TCW, since they are not constrained as much by events and characters in the movies.

I’m still cautiously optimistic and I will definitely give this a try right away, as opposed to TCW where I refused to watch it for about two years, and then regretted it.

I Miss My Childhood

People can be foolish when they say that Star Wars is for kids or is “kids movie”.  They are only looking at the surface of it and failing to realize that despite how the movie has child elements, it really is about human morals and dilemmas, black vs. white, and the murky grey in between.

So it really bothers me when people say that I am “childish” because I love Star Wars.  I completely disagree and it really angers me.  Star Wars does help me connect with my inner child, but not in a bad way, nor in a way that needs to be mocked.

Sometimes I don’t want to be an adult.  There are times when all I want to do is go home to my parent’s house and the times where dinner was made for me, I didn’t have to do dishes, didn’t have to worry about bills and didn’t have to worry about another person.  I have an attachment towards my childhood and at times, I want to block out my current life and pressures.

As I realized this, I sometimes wonder if Anakin also didn’t want to grow up.  Though he was a slave, he seems to have had a pretty good life on Tatooine.  I am not discounting the fact that he was a slave and that it presented many hardships, merely noting that he had a very loving mother, a great imagination, and intelligence that allowed him to Anakin episode I childhoodbuild things in his spare time.  But with this childhood, it also caused an extreme attachment and I believe, in the future, nostalgia for it.  When he was ripped (yes, the Jedi basically ripped him from his life, though we are supposed to look at it as a “choice”) from his childhood, he automatically starts associating his childhood with warm, fuzzy, happy feelings.  When Shmi is almost/ essentially murdered by the Sand People, it’s a murder of everything he connected with that childhood.  Shmi encapsulated his happy childhood and with her dead, instead of his attachment dying, he grew to hate everything that took her and his nostalgia away from him.  I believe that, in a sense, he began to hate the Jedi at this moment.  They took him away from Shmi, essentially, his childhood and with her murder, he will never get that happiness back.

On the other hand, we have Padmé, who was given responsibility and duties at a very young age.  She did have a happy childhood, but it was constantly interwoven with “life” pressures.  I mean, she was in the “Legislative Youth Program”,Padme childhood at parents house for Pete’s sake.  I think Padmé wanted some of that nostalgic youth feeling.  Everyone has something inside of them that cries out for that innocence of childhood, that life before you became disillusioned.  When Padmé and Anakin grew to know each other better and fell in love, that first love feeling represented that innocence, a shadow of the feeling that comes with an ideal childhood.  Unfortunately, Padmé gripped onto that innocence too tightly and to a feeling that can never exist.  First love romance will never last, you can only hope that it gradually fades into something more true to life; similar to when a child’s innocence is lost, you hope it happens gradually and not with something brutal.  Padmé was given too much responsibility too soon and sought for an escape through Anakin…and we all know how that ended.

Finally, I think we find a good balance in Luke.  Luke had a good childhood, but it was slightly tainted with the fact that A new hope deleted scene luke skywalker childhoodthe people raising him were not his real parents.  He did get to fly T-16’s in Beggar’s Canyon and shoot womp rats.  We know that he had good friends, Biggs Darklighter and Camie Loneozner, and enjoyed working on droids and moisture vaporators at the homestead.  Though he and his Uncle clashed over Luke’s desire to see the world, the discipline was what the child needed.  By the time of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s brutal murder, Luke was not a child anymore and could handle the emotions better.  As Luke continues through his life, we see a more balanced human being.  He still has that childlike innocence, but it’s grounded in reality.  His innocence comes out in the way he believes in the Rebellion and how he believes that his father, Anakin, can be saved from the dark side.  And guess what?  He was right on both accounts.

I’m not sure where I was going with this speculation, mainly just exploring the ideas of childhoods and how they played out in Star Wars.  Luke is my favorite main character in the Original Trilogy and it reassures me that he turned out okay.  Also, perhaps this thought process helped prove to myself that, no, I am not childish for loving Star Wars.