ROGUE ONE – Too Many Whys

MAJOR SPOILERS! This is not some rant at a Star Wars movie. I’m a huge Star Wars fan and always will be. I really wanted to like Rogue One, but, for me, it was a confused mess that made little sense throughout. The problem? Too many whys.

I’ve now seen it again, hoping that my first viewing was just an off day or something. But if anything, I liked it even less.

Characters I didn’t get/like

None of the main characters jelled with me as they did in The Force Awakens.

Rogue One just didn’t work at the character level.

Unlike Rey and Finn, I got no sense of ‘who Jyn was’. She seemed a very flat character who I never got a handle on. Which was problematic as the story arc involves her influencing hard-nosed soldiers to follow her.

And as for Cassian? He lacked depth, charm and believability. Nearly everything he did was odds with who he was supposed to be—a calloused field agent.

And why didn’t Cassias pull the trigger to kill Jyn’s father, Galen Erso?

If he was this hard-nosed assassin type, he’d have no trouble following orders like this in the field.

And, importantly, there was no preceding scene to cement a relationship between Cassian and Jyn to prevent him pulling the trigger.

Jyn and Cassia - no sparks
No sparks here

Both characters were not portrayed deeply enough to justify their lead roles.

The ‘relationship’ between the two didn’t have time to blossom. Things simply moved too rapidly from one event to the next.

Also, why didn’t Jyn kill Director Orson Krennic when she had the chance on the tower?

Krennic killed Jyn’s mother and forced her father to create weapons of mass destruction.

Yet she allows Cassius to stop her doing this.

Just why would Cassian stop her?

He’s supposed to be a cold-blooded killer (we saw that in his first scene), so there’s no reason why he’d miss an opportunity to kill such a high-ranking member of the enemy.

Deep Impact - Tsunami Wave - Rogue One
Deep Impact – hold on tight Jyn

Why is Cassian indestructible?

He should have died during his epic fall inside the tower. His head hit the metal beams.

He must’ve had broken bones or at least broken ribs, but he bounces back as if nothing’s happened.

Why?

Because I think he was supposed to die and they brought him back for the different ending with Tea Leoni  and her father waiting to die on the beach, as they did in the movie, Deep Impact.

A lot has been written about the inclusion of ‘Asian characters’ in Rogue One.

I have no problem with racial types, aliens, women, homosexuality or gay, bright blue, furry xenomorphs in fiction, movies or any media.

Humans, like aliens, are fucking diverse. I love all that stuff.

But the Asian characters seemed to be added just for ‘effect’.

Chirrut Imre was dressed in Asian style. And was an ‘Asian style mystical type’.

Why make that generic choice?

We are in A Galaxy far far Away. It was just so lazy a choice for him. His character and his mate were a really disappointing duo.

As for the rest of the ‘band’?

There were too many characters and not enough time spent with them to get a handle on who they were… and more importantly, to actually care about them.

Also, Jyn’s mother? What was her motivation in taking out the gun to threaten Krennic?

Why did she do this?

I thought she must have some plan… but no. Nothing.

Did she want to get herself killed and leave Jyn parentless? It sure seemed like it.

A dumb move that I didn’t understand.

And I hate Mexican standoffs. Generic nonsense that infests nearly every movie and TV show.

The Stormtroopers/guards would have shot her dead where she stood.

Let’s move on to Saw Gerrera. A total waste of Forest Whitaker.

He was only there to excite the fanboys, not to further the plot. And what happened to his blue eyes?

Other cameos were awkwardly tacked on.

I found myself sighing at all these sad ‘nods’ to other characters. E.g. C-3PO and R2-D2 shoehorned in for fan service.

The movie didn’t need them.

They reminded me I was watching a film, and it jarred.

Characters I liked

K-2SO was the one character I loved. A wonderful change from the other Star Wars—a droid who can shoot! Bringing both humor and some great action to the film.

To be honest, K-2SO was the best thing in it.

Overall there was a lack of comedy—integral to get us liking and caring about the main players.

Grand Moff Tarkin was excellent. What a shame we didn’t get more from him. Although he wasn’t that wonderfully rendered. But neither was Leia for that matter.

 Galen Erso hologram
Convenient cheese…

I also liked Jyn’s dad, Galen Erso, although his holo-speech monologue was both rushed and too convenient.

Plot

Plots don’t always have to make sense if the characters are strong enough to carry the story.

But without believable, interesting characters, the plot holes shine through like bright fucking lights.

What I liked was:

The explanation for the exhaust ports on the Death Star.

The Jeddha explosion and the other planet explosions.

It picked up near the end with the Rebel spaceships. It was like Star Wars arrived with their ships.

But the things that jarred were:

The whole first act didn’t feel like Star Wars but more like some Homeland Baghdad episode.

A giant octopus that can send you mad, got one scene.

Why?

The guy who was ‘sent mad’, was only mad for a little bit.

The Empire keeping all their stuff on a single disk (no backup procedures? Haha).

The TV dish on the top of the tower…

Doc Brown - Back To The Future
Been done before and better

The silly master switch.

The ‘Doc Brown wire that is too short’ sequence. I’ve seen it before in Back To The Future.

It was great in that movie. Here it’s just an embarrassing, cringe-worthy repeat.

The rebels assaulting the tower wearing WWII styled helmets reminiscent of US troops in the  Pacific—again, hardly A Galaxy Far Far Away.

Too many storm troopers being shot and blown up that it became tedious.

The final couple of scenes were something taken from Star Wars Battlefront and again, tacked on.

And Darth Vader didn’t look or sound like himself—he didn’t connect with me as being ‘real Darth Vader’.

Why?

Darth Vader
Just too bad ass!

Because the Darth Vader we see at the end of Rogue One is not the Darth Vader we meet in A New Hope. In Rogue One he’s all fucking lightsabre badass. Killing rebs all over the place.

A scene for the fanboys.

He takes on an army all by himself without even breaking a sweat. He’s nothing like the Vader we meet in the next movie. It jarred with me so completely as to ruin his ‘return’.

Just utter fanboy nonsense—like the manic Yoda fighting Count Dooku in the prequels.

And I don’t understand the need to fill in every single gap of the pre-A New Hope narrative.

Last bits

I’m the kinda guy who loves to watch Star Wars movies over and over—but not so much the prequels.

I’ve watched the original trilogy hundreds of times, particularly The Empire Strikes Back.

After watching The Force Awakens, I saw it at the cinema as many times as I could.

I only watched Rogue One a second time because I hadn’t seen what everyone else had and I wanted to make sure that I hadn’t missed something.

If I’d seen this before Force Awakens, I’d probably have been a lot happier with it. But it was a confused movie that failed to develop its main characters.

I was hoping it would find its feet, yet it never did.

I’ve read reviews where they say this is a ‘more dark’ Star Wars.

To my way of thinking, The Force Awakens was very dark. Han Solo killed by his son dark. Good vs Fucking Evil dark.

All the greys of Rogue One added up to a grey film. I wanted to be transported away from my life and taken somewhere fucking amazing and special—like a good Star wars movie should do. But Rogue One wanted to remind me of the Middle-east, the Second World and Star Wars Battlefront.

All these things just added up to keep me from suspending my disbelief. Lots of jarring moments where I was asking ‘why’?

So, what to end on?

Despite all the hope and the hype, the movie isn’t that great. Remove the Star Wars universe and the tiresome fanboy bits and no one would be talking about this three star (just) film at all.

Sorry, but it is what it is… *braces for flack!*

6 thoughts on “ROGUE ONE – Too Many Whys

  1. T Talbot

    I agreed with a few reviewers who said there was too much planet-hopping going on. Less of that and more character development would have been nice. What was the point of Forester Whitaker, for example? Wiped out after five minutes, he could have been anybody.

    For me, the most egregious and budget-wasting three minutes was Krennic talking to Vader on Mount Doom, or wherever it was. Why bother? Just film it on a space ship set and everything would have been the same.

    The last act was great though; the frantic battle above the planet and the feed straight into A New Hope. I enjoyed Vader’s little tussle. I’ve been waiting a long time for “If you only knew the power of the Dark Side” to have something to back it up.

    I enjoyed the sensation that this was a universe filled with aliens in the Jedha city. It felt immersive, all those societies and cultures.

    As a side note, I saw this only two days before Carrie Fisher fell ill. 🙁

    1. I think I’m like a lot of people who really wanted to love the movie, but that the movie, ultimately let them down by trying too hard.

      Black and white / Good and bad are easily defined in the Star Wars world.

      Sure, there was room for greys – for characters being in between, that is human nature after all.

      But this was too clumsy.

      If you’re going to have an assassin as a main character (Cassias) you must make sure that we understand his motivations.

      A good character forced to do bad things, but who, underneath is honourable and maybe sensitive is better than the one-sided portrayal we were given here.

      We never really got to know Cassias, and so when he acted out of character (the one that he’d been portrayed as – a callous assassin) it jarred with us.

      We needed a scene where we understood why he was who he was.

      And how, maybe, he was torn up inside about the things he was forced to do – thereby making him susceptible/connected to Jyn.

      There was an opportunity where we could’ve seen how these two ‘lost’ characters found each other and formed a bond.

      A bond that would to their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of the friends who followed them.

      Friends who perhaps found hope in them both. In their connected power.

      But that never happened. Nor was it explored.

      It was the over-riding flaw of the movie 🙁

  2. Lys

    I agree the film has problems, but don’t they all? “Star Wars: A New Hope” threw us into a lot of new stuff that only took up minutes each. We got more later. “Rogue One” could have its own prequels. An entire film with Forest Whitaker…. I want that. Maybe “Rogue One” is part of a new trilogy. Yes, there are a load of questions. Yes, there was not enough time to do major set ups for some character actions, but some hints were there earlier. For example, there were many tiny hints that Cassias did not believe Jyn’s father was guilty, and that they needed his help. Even more could have been cut out. My guess was that this film came in at 259 minutes and had to be majorly cut. BUT how about (SPOILER) the complete scrifice they all made to save the Rebel Allance to overcome the Empire? And just how many films do you see where everybody dies? This was a very brave script. Even with all its faults I love it. You are calm now, but watch out – you don’t want to become like Tim from “Spaced” freakin’ out at the comic shop about “Phantom Menace” and Jar Jar 😉 . Potassium di-Sulfur Oxide was my favorite character as well. He’s one of my favorite fictional robot characters. We need him in this story, but I wouldn’t mind having him around the house and as a traveling companion while I drive the 50 minutes each way that it takes to buy organic groceries. Not only is K-2SO good to have around for protection, he is also extremely knowledgable, and funny as all get out!

    1. I love Spaced!

      And no, I don’t have a ‘Tim-like meltdowns’.

      My point was all about losing my sense of disbelief – essential for any great movies.

      Star Wars a new hope and the originals all did this from the off.

      So did The Force Awakens

      That’s what was so achingly missing in Rogue One.

      I’ve a feeling K-2SO make make a reappearance.

      I hope so!

  3. Liz Schneidewin

    I, too, felt thoroughly deflated after Rogue One. The flaws in logic you mentioned all bothered me but I could have forgiven them all if only there’d been some balance in the force, or in this case, a few more laughs.

    There were so many missed opportunities to lift the energy and sympathy of the characters with a bit of good, old fashioned one-linership. After hearing the madness-inducing side-effect of the Giant octopus, my brain kept wanting the scenes with the pilot to be lavished with buckets of crazy. They had the perfect opportunity to ‘Crazy Harry’ this guy but instead they let him normalise almost instantly. Very dull.

    And grubby. OK. I get it. Space is dirty and dusty and crowded and dank and smelly. At least on most planets. Or so it would seem. Yes, the evil empire is shiny and covered in mirror tiles. It’s an aesthetic contrast of inner versus outer beauty. Blah, blah, blah, I get it. By why does everything just keep getting grubbier and duller?

    I suppose that’s my overall impression of this movie. Grubby and dull.

    My main disappointment, though, was not the fact that they attempted to employ almost every movie trope ever invented, it’s the fact that most of these tropes and cliches were only half baked or not seen through to the end.

    The clearest example of this is the ‘brothers who do not share beliefs but the non-believer embraces the belief in the end’ cliche. They could have done so much more with this. I would have loved to have seen the non-believer constantly mocking and ridiculing the beliefs of the blind believer (sorry, but their names escape me right now). It would have made me like the pair so much more that I did and the impact of their loss would have been far deeper than it was.

    I feel like there’s a lesson I have learned about my needs as an audience member. If a character doesn’t make me laugh, how can they make me care?

    To confirm this theory I went back and watched ‘The Force Awakens’ again. I definitely liked it better than Rogue One (Although they are going to have to do something pretty incredible to make me give two hoots about Ben Solo (or whatever he calls himself).

    1. Some great extra points raised there.

      I thought the same about the octopus – what an opportunity missed!

      In Aliens, the soldier actors spent a few months together in character so that they bounced and reacted off each other.

      Here there was none of that camaraderie.

      Earned or otherwise.

      Just flat.

      They should’ve made it two movies and spent part one on getting the band together.

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