Whale of a Tale Productions

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Gareth Edwards (2016)

I am a huge Star Wars fan, I grew up with it, and got into film because of it. That is how much I love the original trilogy. Then came the awful prequel trilogy that is basically unwatchable. Still I continued to read basically the entire expanded universe, which had some great stories, though is unfortunately no longer canon. And then came the Force Awakens, somewhat better than the prequels, but still really bad. And my hopes for more Star Wars to love were pretty much dashed. And then came Rogue One. It is in no way a perfect film, but it is the Star Wars film I have always wanted, even with it’s faults. This is a must see, and so much better than the Force Awakens that I was blown away.

 

It looks and feels like the original trilogy, and leads right into a new hope. And the effects and the 3D are awesome! Sure the film is mostly fan service, but oh what fan service! This is a must see film! Not only filling you with nostalgia, but a really enjoyable film.

 

Just saw it a second time at a true IMAX in 70 millimeter! Wow, looked pretty amazing! Been so long since I have seen a film on film.

 

Honestly my biggest complaints don’t amount to much.

 

First off I hate shaky cam. SteadiCam was invented for a reason and it makes my wife motion sick, especially in 3D (and I love 3D). And to me it is just lazy filmmaking. So the shaky cam bothered me.

 

Second the score is no John Williams score, though I did love how they eventually bring in some of the old score, and that did work for me.

 

Third the dialogue in A New Hope when Vader takes the Tantive IV sure doesn’t jibe with it just taking part in a battle against the Empire just a short time before.

 

Fourth most of the characters get the short end of the stick when it comes to back story and character development. Only Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) really gets any back story, though Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) has some exposition claiming he has some. Honestly who wouldn’t have wanted more on Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus (Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen) who were scene stealers throughout!

 

I liked and disliked the digital characters from Star Wars. I loved seeing Grand Moff Tarkin, but he sure looked digital, and Princess Lea didn’t look right, though it was awesome to see them both. I really loved the shots of Red and Gold squadron leaders though, from unused Star Wars footage, and seeing how Red Five was killed, so we know how Luke Skywalker ends up with that call sign.

 

And while I know it is all fan service, I love the Easter Eggs! So many references to Star Wars! There is blue milk, Evazan and Ponda Baba, Kyber Krustals powering the death star, having Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus be Guardians of the Whills, with Whills being from the first script drafts, Vader’s Castle from Ralp McQuarrie’s drawings, Yavin Base from a New Hope, with mentions of Captain Antilles and General Sybdulla (Hera from Star Wars Rebels as well as he ship being seen), Hera’s ship the Ghost showing up on Yavin and in the battle of Scariff, the Hammerhead Cruiser also from Star Wars Rebels, and of course Tarkin and Leia.

 

Really I can’t wait to see it again! Just too bad they will wait to release the 3D blu-ray again like they did for Force Awakens! Bastards!

 

****

 

Second time seeing it, still loved it, and great to see on 7o MM! Still had some issues.

 

A huge thing that bothered me the first time, but really got me the second time, was R2D2 and C3Po. They are seen on Yavin IV, the Rebel Alliances base, just after we learn that the Mon Calamari Admiral Raddus (Paul Kassey) has left for Scarif. Unfortunately we later see the Tantive IV, the Rebel Blockade Runner from A New Hope, within his flagship, and it undocks and runs. Well we already know from A New Hope that R2D2 and C3Po are on the Tantive IV, so they would have had to have left with Admiral Raddus. Not only that but in A New Hope C3PO knows nothing of the Rebellion, even though he was just on Yavin 4 and talking about the Rebels going into battle. They should have shown them at the end on the Tantive IV and it would have solved my issues.

 

And there are little things, like when Jyn is trying to get to her father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelson) as Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) is blasting off in his shuttle after the Rebel Attack that has mortally wounded Galen. Galen is prone on the ground as Jyn runs to him, and she is almost blown off the platform, and yet Galen isn’t moved at all.

 

Something I really like about this film is how the to this point perfect and always good Rebel Alliance is in fact pretty dark itself. It has pushed Cassian till he has almost no moral compass, and will kill or do anything for the Alliance. And they go to kill Galen even when he may be an ally. And we see all the leaders arguing, and ready to quit the Alliance because of the Death Star. This is a much darker Rebel Alliance than we have ever seen. It makes me long for an adult Star Wars series, in the vein of the Marvel Netflix series. I want to see the Star Wars underbelly, that this film scratches at!

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