I saw Rogue one yesterday on Saturday evening, I enjoyed it. If you need justification to see this film let my endorsement light your path to the cinema, and to the pseudo hipsters who loudly claim at every opportunity that they’ve never seen a star wars film, get off your lazy caffeinated fat ass and get up to speed or better yet, shut your mouth.
Its impossible to do a short review of Rogue one without acknowledging the troubled production this film had. The extensive reshoots result in a film which has lot of awkward scenes that don’t really flow together in a way one might want, a lot of the footage from the trailers either is not in the final cut or is heavily altered. The composer was fired and replaced with only 3 months to go until the films release, resulting in a rather bland musical score. The question is were the changes made because Garreth Edwards was not happy with what he had or did the studio meddle with it? Did the studio want a ‘darker’ film to try and chase after fan boy nostalgia for empire strikes back? Hopefully the deleted scenes and commentary on the Blu Ray tell and show us more about what this film was like before the reshoots.
In any case the film that we do have is very competent as a crowd pleaser, despite a lot of the characters having very little to them, they all came across as like able and many jokes are cracked to the amusement of the audience. The third act further degrades my appreciation for return of the jedi, with depictions of jungle combat that makes the ground battle on Endor look like a joke. It is very much a war film of sorts which is something the previous films were not, Rebel soldiers get wasted, ships get scrapped and no character is safe, the stakes are high with the future of the rebellion on the line. The alliances first major victory is chronicled. Garreth Edwards showed that he can depict scale very well with Godzilla and that talent comes in to play in this film with plenty of wide views of the action and the massive objects on display which contrast a bit with J.J. Abram’s effort in episode 7 last year.
However Rogue one will be a confusing watch for the masses, there’s enough comedy and what my dad would call ‘simple stuff’, for the average viewer. But this film is deeply entrenched in star wars lore, a lot of the upcoming spin off films aim to fill in some of the gaps between the main episodes. There are a lot of subtle references for the enjoyment of low life nerds like me, some are obvious like Yavin, others less so like cameos from era appropriate characters and call outs to the ongoing Star wars Rebels show and even the prequels. However the fan service in this film just kind of felt like elements of world building, remember I felt the the fan service in Fantastic beasts was dumb, if you must do fan service don’t bring attention to it in a blunt, obvious way. Just keep it natural and in keeping with whats going on in the film at large.
To bring this review to an end of sorts, this is a competent film which I must be thankful was not a total disaster like the recent Batman vs Superman et al. As a side note I enjoyed the performances from the actors, Felicity Jones was really quite good, I had only seen her in Chalet Girls previously. Also Donnie Yen is a bad ass incarnate. The CGI was also mostly admirable, apparently a lot of Practical stuff, including some re-edited footage from A new hope were used in space scenes. Do go see the film, its worth the price of admission.
I’m going to put off the Firefly thing again, instead I want to do a piece about the force and where Star wars might be going with it. Ta ta.