Rogue One

Finally got around to seeing the movie Rogue One. (Fair warning: spoilers below the ‘more’ link.)

I heard a lot of the hype before, and many of my writing friends saw it and most raved. Or at least, didn’t rant much. I found the hype around the movie mendacious, the acting mediocre, the plot so bracketed by the “real” Star Wars movies that it was difficult not to expect many of the dramatic moments.

WARNING: Spoilers

Some issues beyond what I’ve mentioned above:

  • The robot is so radically different from his kin that it’s hard to believe it’s related. C3PO has a more robust backstory, and seeing similar types of robots reinforces their gregarious nature (if not slightly hyper glibness).
  • This is a “Guns of Navarrone” movie, except everyone dies in the end. There’s not much extra to the death of the principal actress, except maybe to ensure that she doesn’t have any future in the SW franchise. Drama, fighting against odds, enemy burning down doors to get at them… all good. All go boom in the end: bad. As a matter of fact, if you eliminate the destruction of THE IMPERIAL ARCHIVES BY ITS OWN PEOPLE, it’s still a good movie. Only with survivors.
  • And that archive thing: I can understand a cold, heartless bastard killing hundreds, or thousands, of his own troops for the higher cause (just see most of World War I and parts of World War II for endlessly horrid examples). But that same cold heartlessness would make protecting the archives, with the wisdom needed for tactical and political purposes, a very high priority. Grand Moff Tarkin displays plenty of political agility in managing to take over the Death Star, yet commits what must be an insane act of treason my wiping out such an important site. This almost epitomizes the “using a sledgehammer to kill a mosquito” concept.
  • Time dilation. The entiire scene on the planet where Orso’s dad is found made me think that the movie editing phase was done while taking hallucinogens. The (conveniently lit) ladder leading up to the landing deck on the side of the mountain looks insanely tall. Rys climbs it all in an apparent few minutes, if the rest of the action is any indication of pacing. This is insane but, more importantly, it again pulls a viewer away from the action. A shorter ladder would be helpful. Or one shadowed in the rain and mist, so scale would be less evident.
  • What’s my motivation? People trust Rys without  lot of reason. Why would she all of a sudden be speaking up to the rebel council? And given charge over a mission? This after she’d been seconded to a man WITH ORDERS TO KILL HER FATHER. Who becomes a willing beta male romantic, supportive, and fully in hand. Ugh.
  • Jedi or not a Jedi? The character Chirrut Imwe is a blend of Jackie Chan and a standup comic. Sure, he’s got the Jedi moves, but he keeps muttering this mantra. One might think he’s unsure of himself. And what’s with his human Wookie of a companion? Really unsatisfying characters both. But great moves.

Bottom line: It’s a pretty movie, the sets are great, but most of the characters