Sunday, December 25, 2016

Rogue One Review

I would be perfectly okay with this being the only prequel to the original trilogy we ever got. It does a great job of setting up the opening scene of A New Hope. We basically leave off with Leia bringing the Death Star plans to the resistance before she's intercepted by Darth Vader. The movie even goes so far as to explain what the ship was doing heading toward Tatooine instead of the Yavin 4. A New Hope basically assumes that Leia sends the plans to Obi-Wan because he's the only one within escape pod range. This movie reveals that the Alliance was so hopelessly outgunned that Bail decided it was time for Obi-Wan to train Luke and Leia as Jedi. It doesn't explain why no one ever told Luke and Leia they were twins (though it's likely that after Bail's death, only Mon Mothma knew).

I'm not normally a fan of killing off main characters, but I feel like this movie does it well. First of all, it explains why people who were so greatly important in getting the plans were never seen in the original trilogy. Second, it makes sense that the rebels would be willing to take enormous sacrifices to procure data so important. However, Jyn and Cassian could have tried a little harder to make it to a shuttle craft.

I was surprised at how good the digital reconstructions of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher were. When I first heard they had done this, I assumed it would just be some quick scene. However, Tarkin was in multiple scenes and had several lines. This definitely opens up interesting possibilities for films going forward. I assume the CGI is too expensive to do more than one character or on television.

I missed out on the explanation of why they used to the Death Star to blow up Scarif. Why would the empire destroy their own records depot? Did they have backups? Was that the backup? It makes more sense to just send in more Stormtroopers to fight the rebels. I assume that if the shields stayed online they were just going to up the power levels and fire through the shields.

I'm not convinced it was actually necessary for Darth Vader to be in the film. I think he's only in it so they could say he is. Also, is there a reason he appears to live on the planet where he was maimed?

Also, screw anyone who says to watch the original trilogy first. Under no circumstances should A New Hope be seen before this movie. I mean, what sort of convoluted order is 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 7, 3.9, 8, 3.8, 9? It's like starting Harry Potter with Goblet of Fire. Side note: I really like 3.9 as Rogue One's episode number. It highlights that it takes place much closer to A New Hope than Revenge of the Sith.

I love all the little nods and cameos. C-3PO and R2-D2 were unexpected but nice. The ships designs in the final battle much more closely match the original trilogy than the prequels (unless there were some I missed). They had the rebels headquarters on Yavin 4 much as it was in A New Hope. I think they implied that Galen Erso stalled the Death Star development, which would explain the 20-year construction period (though the sheer size probably does as well). There were also a bunch of characters from both the prequels and original trilogy.

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