Having watched Rogue One twice, and the second viewing was just yesterday in the comfort of my home, I feel compelled to discuss it now on the internet. Because discussing sci-fi shows is one of the three main reasons the internet even exists.
I am going to spoil Rogue One (And possibly all Star Wars movie) during the entire rest of this post. Rogue One is available on iTunes and Blue Ray and all the various contrivances for home viewing so if you haven’t seen it yet simply close this blog and go watch it immediately. Then return here for insight into what you’ve just witnessed.
Rogue One is the finest Star Wars film since the original trilogy.
Rogue One takes place during the time of the original trilogy, I swear you could start A New Hope at the moment Rogue One ends and it would feel like one long movie. It doesn’t suffer the problems of the prequels, which look and feel like completely different movies. Neither does it suffer from episode 7’s problem of having changed everything to familiar but different things. (Episode 7’s First Order feels a lot like the Empire but … it’s not exactly the Empire so what is it?) Rogue One feels like the first three movies.
Rogue One answers questions and I like the answers it gives.
Q. How is it that the Death Star had such an obvious weakness?
A. The man who led the design team was a rebel sympathizer who secretly and purposefully built a weakness into it. He secretly communicated the weakness’s existence to the rebellion. Political infighting among the Empire caused Tarkin to destroy the base where the plans were kept so he could eliminate his rival Krennic (and also any hope of the Empire analyzing the plans to find the weakness themselves).
Q. How did princess Leia end up with the plans at the beginning of A New Hope?
A. A team of rebels snuck into the facility where the plans were stored and transmitted them to Leia’s ship.
Q. Why does the rebellion have nothing but X-Wing fighters to defend their base during the attack in A New Hope?
A. Their capital ships were destroyed during the battle to secure the Death Star plans.
Rogue One is wonderful because, if nothing else, it finally answers the question of how the Death Star could be blown up so easily. How many times have people asked about that? A million times perhaps? Finally we have a reasonable answer!
The action scenes are spectacular. Every time people on the ground are fighting or ships in space are battling it’s a fun thing watch. The space battle over Scarif looks like a sci-fi version of World War 2 aerial dog fights and naval battles. For that matter the battle on the surface of Scarif looks like sci-fi versions of war movies as well. Every fight scene in this film is a joy to behold.
Jyn Erso is awesome. I love all her dialog, what she says and the way she says it is just a joy to listen too. The pep talk she gives after they land on Scarif is both inspiring and honest. The moment she really becomes a great character for me is when she and her team steals a ship to go off to try and get the plans. In that moment she rebels even against the rebellion and launches her own clandestine mission, and because she’s making the right call that act secures her as a leader and hero. It reminds me of Kirk stealing the Enterprise in Search For Spock to go do what Star Fleet won’t authorize because he knows it’s right. Great Sci-Fi heroes often defy orders and Jyn Erso follows that proud tradition.
K-2SO is comedic relief done right, he’s funny without being silly or distracting. And in the end he dies a heroes death. Also the voice acting was perfect, you might say that droid was a leaf on the wind (get it?). Chirrut Imwe is wonderful and more than makes up for this being the first Star Wars movie without a Jedi in it (Darth Vadar is a Sith so he doesn’t count). I love Chirrut Imwe’s whole Blind Monk thing he’s doing, his faith and ability in the Force and his chant, he’s just fantastic! I thought director Krennic was an excellent villain and enjoyed the political fight for power he had with Tarkin. Darth Vadar was in the movie exactly the right amount, and at the end when he’s mowing down rebels while chasing after the Death Star plans he is more terrifying than he has ever been.
THE ONLY BAD THING for me is the sad ending. Everybody dies. I like happy endings. And this ending is a downer. It’s not all bad of course, they get the plans and that’s the big win that makes all the sacrifice worth it. When they hand the plans to princess Leia that’s the happy ending right there, that’s the big victory and that’s an AWESOME moment! And I’m not sure the movie would have worked if Jyn and her crew hadn’t all given their lives. If they all lived and escaped it might have seemed a bit too easy, unbelievable, silly? But whatever, personally I think I would have liked at least some of them escaping alive at the end.
So there you go, I loved it. 5 out of 5. It’s the BEST of the new Star Wars movies. It’s perfect in every way except for everyone dying at the end. And I can get past that. The way it set’s up A New Hope is fantastic. The way it explains the weakness in the Death Star is a godsend to a nerd who is tired of defending how easy it was to destroy it. The space battle at the end is pure awesome. I really love this movie.