Rogue One Review

Hello and welcome to another edition of The Goblin Gazette! Today I will be reviewing the latest, and in my opinion, one of the greatest Star Wars movies to date: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. So please PLEASE know that this review will contain spoilers. So if you are not wanting anything spoiled then simply know this, Rogue One is great and you should see it. Now please stop reading and go see it! If you do not care about spoilers then please continue!

My Experience

I left the restaurant where my team from work was having a party. I hopped in my car and fought my way through the traffic to get home in time for the movie. Once home I grabbed a changed clothes, said hello and goodbye to my wife and daughter. Then I ran out to the door as my ride had just arrived. We made our way to the theater talking through our thoughts and what we expected. Once we got to the theater we met up with Donoran and KingBlunkers, then found our seats. After the previews the words I had come to expect for each and every Star Wars movie appeared on the screen:

 

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…”

Summary

And just like that Rogue One began its tale. First we visit the home of Galen Erso and his family. They’re frantically gathering their things as an imperial shuttle nears their home. Director Krennic, his marvelous cape, and his personal guard approach Galen who is waiting for them. After some talking you find out that Krennic wants Galen to work on a weapon for the Empire…aka The Death Star. Galen doesn’t want to, but he knows that he has some leverage over Krennic. If he refuses to work, they will imprison or even kill his family. But if he agrees to work for them he can ensure the safety of his family.

Unfortunately things don’t go too smoothly as Galen’s wife, Lyra, threatens Krennic and eventually shoots him in the shoulder. She herself is shot and killed by Krennic’s guards. Unfortunately Jyn Erso, Galen’s daughter, sees all this and flees when Krennic demands they search the house for Galen’s daughter. She hides in a safe house and is soon found by Saw Guerra.

Prepare To Jump…Around A Lot

From here the movie hops around quite a bit, helping the viewer to understand what exactly is going on in the galaxy. The Rebels have received word that an Imperial Pilot has defected and is searching for Saw Guerra. Rumors swirl that Galen Erso is working on a weapon that can destroy planets for the Empire. The Rebels, having cut ties with Saw for his extremist ideals many years ago, wish to reestablish communication. They are hoping to learn more about this weapon and Galen Erso. They track down Jynn hoping to use her to get a meeting with Saw and to see if they can use her to get to her father.

Jyn eventually agrees to help and she, Cassian Andor, a spy for the rebellion, and K-2SO, an imperial droid who has been reprogrammed, head to Jedha. Unbeknownst to Jyn, Cassian is given orders to kill Galen when they find him. After being caught in a firefight between the Imperials and Saw’s rebels, Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO, Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior, and Baze Malbus, a heavy gun wielding soldier, are taken to Saw.

Saw shows Jyn a hologram from her father Galen. In it, Galen explains how he has hidden a weakness in the Death Star itself, an explosion in the core reactor. This explosion will destroy the entire station…sound familiar? They also find the Imperial pilot and bring him along as Jyn and her band of rebels set off to find and rescue her father. Unfortunately he is killed by friendly fire when the rebels launch an attack on Galen’s location in an attempt to eliminate him.

To Scarif!

Jyn is now determined to avenge her father. They head back to the Rebel base to convince them to get the plans for the Death Star. The plans are located on the Imperial planet of Scarif. The Rebel leadership decides against attacking Scarif, which effectively means the Rebellion is over as they won’t be able to fight against a weapon that can destroy planets!

A dismayed Jyn returns to the hangar to find that a group of Rebel soldiers, who can’t see the rebellion fall, volunteer for the suicide mission. They set off for Scarif and sneak inside the base, while the soldiers cause a distraction. Slowly we see each of our heroes die as they fight to get these plans. Soon a rebel fleet arrives when they hear rebels are attacking Scarif. Jyn and Cassian find the Death Star plans and are able to transmit them to the rebel fleet. Soon the Death Star arrives to destroy the base at Scarif while Vader hunts down the rebels and attempts to retrieve the plans.

The last scene shows a young Princess Leia holding the plans to the Death Star saying the Rebellion now has hope, leading right up to the events of Episode 4.

 

Review

Whew, that was a lot! But let me tell you, this was a great movie. Now I’m going to be honest with you, I am a bit biased when it comes to Star Wars. So to be fair, if Rogue One was not a Star Wars movie I don’t think it would be getting as much praise as it has received. But, it is a Star Wars movie so I loved it.

I went into it expecting to see a Star Wars movie that follows the typical Star Wars formula. You know, chosen one who has a secret but overcomes their perceived weakness to save the day. But instead I got a movie about a group of normal people making the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good. There is this moment in the movie where you realize that the characters will not be making it off of Scarif alive, and it is in this moment that the movie begins to shine.

The movie has a runtime of 2 hours and 13 minutes. The first hour and 30 mins is enjoyable but there isn’t anything too special about it. But the last 45 minutes is where this film really picks up.

A Bit Predictable

The story has some predictable elements in it and tries to fit a lot of information into a small timeframe. Like I said the first 30-45 minutes of the movie jumps around between 4 or 5 planets. This can be a bit confusing but it all serves to help the viewer understand that the rebels are desperate. You also see that the Rebels and not as…honorable as they are portrayed in the original trilogy. Heck the rebels who volunteer for Jyn’s suicide mission do so because they have done such terrible things in the name of the Rebellion and won’t be able to live with themselves should the Rebellion fall apart.

It was interesting to see a Star Wars movie without a Jedi. Usually we are treated to a mystical moment where the Force aids the hero in overcoming, but that didn’t happen in this movie. There is one part where Chirrut Imwe, who is blind, walks through a hail of blaster bolts to flip a switch. But he unfortunately gets blown up shortly afterward. It really helped to show what it is like for a non-jedi to exist in the Star Wars universe. In short, it’s tough.

The Nostalgia Is Strong With This One

They did a great job with all the throwbacks to the other films. From blue milk to character cameos, the throwbacks reward the faithful Star Wars fans with that enjoyable bit of nostalgia that seems to permeate the movie. And the ending…man that ending. I don’t think anybody was expecting the immediate set up for A New Hope.

The visuals are fantastic. I really like what Disney is doing with the Star Wars universe. The locations they visit seem authentic and the other species are always interesting to see, Scarif in particular is quite beautiful. They used CGI to bring back some old friends including Tarkin, Young Leia, Red Leader, and Gold Leader just to name a few. You can certainly tell that there is something…”off” but it isn’t too distracting. I was actually more distracted by the fact we’re entering into a time when actors don’t need to be alive to act. It’s really mind blowing when you think about it.

The Characters

The characters are enjoyable, but you’re not seeing Rogue One for the acting. At the beginning of the film I really wasn’t a fan of Jyn Erso. She was kind of the stereotypical hard-ass chick who didn’t play by the rules. Personally, this trope is a bit off putting. But when she sees the hologram of her father, and he tells her how much he loves her, and how he sacrificed his life to protect her, she breaks down and cries. This scene really made me realize that Jyn was simply a little girl who was trying to hide the pain of losing her mother and father. It replaced that first impression I had of her and I actually really enjoyed her character after that.

Personally, I had trouble keeping track of all the characters they introduced particularly their names. This is actually a common problem I’ve found in most Sci-fi and Fantasy movies. Because the names are not normal names like John or Mary, it’s tough sometimes to pick up on them. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the characters they introduced but it’s tough sometimes to feel connected to a character if I don’t even know their name.

Final Thoughts

Overall I really enjoyed Rogue One. As I mentioned before, it’s one of my favorite Star Wars movies so far. The film pays a lot of respect to the series as a whole and gives many subtle nods to the fans. The characters, while not too deep, still leave you a bit taken back when they don’t make it out alive. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is right at the end, it gives you a taste of the Darth Vader that everybody has wanted to see. To say it was a subtle nod to fans, is an understatement. It is the scene that this iconic villain deserved. I literally got goosebumps watching.
Well that’s it for today, thanks for stopping by!

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