Author Topic: Rogue One  (Read 3071 times)

Gaoics79

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Rogue One
« on: December 19, 2016, 08:24:52 PM »
I had a chance to see this and thought I'd share some of my thoughts.

SPOILERS BELOW

Let me preface my comments by saying that I despised The Force Awakens, for reasons that are well documented on the earlier thread:

http://www.ornery.org/forum/index.php/topic,24.0.html

From its sloppy, lazy plotting, to its Mary Sue protagonist, TFA was one of the biggest disappointments for me, a sign that not only had they made a bad Star Wars movie, but that Star Wars had moved on to a place I could no longer follow it - that this was no longer my Star Wars, but J.J. Abrams and Mickey Mouse's Star Wars. Like Star Trek, I was ready to write off the franchise as invariably lost.

With that in mind, my expectations for Rogue One were mixed.

Let me say that I liked Rogue One - I liked it alot. This movie is the antithesis of Force Awakens. While TFA had practically no characters to speak of save one, Rogue One depends on a colorful cast of characters, each with a unique contribution to the story and each played beautifully by talented actors. Any one of these characters, from Forrest Whittaker's fallen rebel, to Donnie Yen's blind monk (with the soul of a Jedi, but no flashy powers) could have carried a movie on their own.

While TFA ripped off A New Hope, plundering and regurgitating its story shamelessly, Rogue One tells a fresh story that complements Episode IV rather than raping it. While TFA insulted our intelligence with a shabby sloppy plot riddled with holes, Rogue One is a story that works, start to finish, and requires no appeal to conjecture or other apologetics.

Rogue One has an effective villain who is vile to perfection, oozing arrogant malice, but avoiding the over the top Nazi caricatures of TFA. What I enjoyed about this villain is that even he struggles against forces beyond his control, even he falls victim to the petty tyranny of his overlords. He is the kind of banal bureaucratic villain that we have yet to see in this kind of film. Regarding the Death Star, they make the brilliant choice of having it operating only at a fraction of its power. Instead of obliterating worlds, it levels cities instead. The sight of the mushroom cloud rising above murdered cities as the protagonists look on in horror is more chilling than anything seen before in a Star Wars film. This is destruction that feels personal , the very antithesis of the detached CGI explosions we see in TFA or even A New Hope with the destruction of Alderaan. In its use of the Death Star, I'll go so far as to say that this film actually surpasses ANH.

Let me also say that this is a story that does not pull its punches. The heroes face an impossible task, and the conclusion of their story must be to pass the baton to the next person, with little hope of personal salvation. A final scene involving Darth Vader slaughtering the rebel crew (as they desperately pass the disc with the death star plans from person to person) really provides an amazing image in service of the story arc - even fan service in this film bows to the story, complementing it, rather than seeming extraneous or tacked on. In this story there is no happy ending, except the satisfaction that there is still hope. In case you didn't know, everybody dies. Everybody. This is a type of Star Wars film we have never seen before.

It's not a perfect movie. Ironically, the leads are possibly the least compelling of the characters. The thing that most kept this good movie from becoming a *great* one was really the weakness of the central performance by Felicity Jones, who simply cannot convey the emotional punch that is needed for this role. Unfortunately, for most of the movie she just sails along without really selling us on her character. She is kept afloat, despite this weak performance, by a powerful supporting cast, including such standouts as Forrest Whittaker and Donnie Yen. Even the droid manages to die with poignancy. But that's the beauty of this story - Rey needed no one, and pretty well carried the story single handedly - Jin is supported by her friends, and cannot reach her goal without them. Her death at the conclusion is powerful, despite the weaknesses of Jones's performance. But sadly, not as powerful as it should have been, and would have been had they selected a more talented actress.

But the good far outweighs the bad here. I give this movie a strong recommendation. If you, like me, felt that the franchise had left you behind with TFA, Rogue One is the film for you.


D.W.

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2016, 10:28:38 PM »
While I thought TFA was nostalgia distilled and tested to offend as few as possible while still making huge bank... I still enjoyed it.  It was no origional trilogy, however I didn't feel it was particularly worse than I, II and III.

Now Rogue One is my favorite in the series since A New Hope.  It kicked the crud out of I, II and III and felt like the prequel I was hoping for the first go around.  The seamless tie in to episode IV  and the weakness of the Death Star being an intentional plot point actually enhanced my appreciation of IV.  Something I didn't see coming.

Now I have no gripes with Jones's performance.  The character was IMO poorly written.  Not awful mind you.  It all worked.  However the scenes where she who went from "keep your head down, only look out for myself" to turning on a dime and being the unofficial moral officer for the rebellion was just crazy.  They should have had someone else fill that capacity and have her along to avenge daddy or something.  The bad attitude made sense with her history.  The 180 into cheer leading this mission was something I don't think any actor could have pulled off convincingly. 

Gaoics79

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2016, 05:19:10 AM »
D.W. I also think Jones just isn't a very good actress. One key moment which should have been a huge turning point for her was her confrontation of Forrest Whittaker, who we discover abandoned her at age 16. From her performance, you'd think she was confronting the man who stiffed her on a bill from Burger King. She manages a few tears at daddy's death, but apart from that she barely smudges her face the whole movie. Even her hair seems just so the whole time - maybe a criticism with the makeup / hair people more than Jones, but indicative of my problem with this performance.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 05:24:01 AM by jasonr »

D.W.

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 10:25:51 AM »
You may have a point on hair and makeup given the more battle oriented movie, but even coming out of a garbage chute the actors in a SW flick tend to look their best.  ;)

As for the no crying or overblown reaction, that's an interesting one.  I got the impression that growing up, after being abandoned again, she probably just decided to bury her emotions entirely.  It took seeing her dad again to break that shell.  Seeing Whittaker's character I thought the reaction seemed natural.  Granted, it was a brief encounter, a message from her father, then a desperate flight and realizing he wasn't coming.  I probably would have been more annoyed about a tearful reunion or the stereotypical angry temper tantrum ending in a teary hug...  This worked better in the time allotted. 

Gaoics79

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2016, 11:58:05 AM »
Fair enough DW. But even when Jin has awakened to the cause and is supposedly giving some passionate plea she seems barely there.

D.W.

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2016, 12:02:30 PM »
Yep, I agree with you there.  It made no sense to have such a... beaten character try and raise the spirits of everyone there.  Avenging her dad?  Ya, that I'll buy.  "Let's do it for the rebellion!  Have hope all!"  I totally don't know what this hope thing is, as I've not had any since I was like 8 years old... but here I found it in the glove box of the ship and you all totally need it.  (So I can get my sweet sweet revenge on the empire...)

JoshuaD

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2016, 01:18:50 PM »
I enjoyed the movie and it made me look forward to the next one.

I also was pretty disappointed with TFA. It wasn't bad, exactly, but it was kind of like a grating, well produced pop song.  I've heard it all before, and this rendition didn't have any particularly good hooks.

Regarding Rogue One: while I was mostly happy and enjoyed the movie, here are some criticisms I have:

  • I was a little put off when the leader of the rebellion apologized to Jin personally for not sending the rebellion on a suicide mission. The whole scene (where Jin was pitching the mission to get the plans) was far too Jin-centric to be realistic.
  • I wish Forest Whitaker's character had a bit more room to breath. I will watch that man in anything and I thought the character had a lot of potential, but was cut short.
  • I thought the droid's lines missed the mark most of the time.
  • I didn't love the actor's choices for the blind monk. I thought the character had a lot of potential, but I think he played it too flippantly.

That being said Oh My God when Darth Vader killed everyone it was amazing. I just loved that scene, and really all of the Darth Vader scenes. The entire time, I had the sense of Anakin Skywalker in a walking machine: half-dead, trapped, alone, angry, and lost. I heard somewhere that Anakin was destined to bring "balance to the force", but he had the choice of doing that by walking on the light side or on the dark side. For whatever reason, for me, these scenes did a good job of showing the hell he made for himself. He was an Angel of Death in this movie. Absolutely terrifying and unstoppable. Loved it.

I thought the tie-ins to ANH were satisfying, and there were some subtle things I didn't catch during the movie that made me smile. For example, "Gold Five" dies during the assault, and that's the call name that Luke is given.

On the whole, I was really happy about this movie. A pleasant surprise.

JoshCrow

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2016, 09:55:47 AM »
I was rather indifferent to the movie... it wasn't the wretched story-weak mess TFA was, but I feel like Rogue One never really justified its existence because it had nothing to add to the philosophy of Star Wars and didn't really give us a good character story. Instead this was more like the Star Wars version of Ocean's 11 (but with grimness replacing humor). Each character had their requisite moment or two but most were basically interchangeable.

On the plus side, it was fun seeing familiar fixtures like Tarkin (looking 'CG' but excusably so and I didn't mind) and Vader - although I kinda wanted the latter to take down more than a handful of redshirts.

I'm sure this movie is fun for those who enjoy the trivia/mythology aspects of Star Wars, and the filling in of a universe, but I was hoping for more of a humanity-minded piece. Jyn Erso was basically a shrug of a character, given little to do and no opportunities to develop the audience's interest in her (but still better to watch than the empty, vapid Strong Female Chatacter that is Rey in TFA).

The film did end better than it began, and does deliver on the grimness of their task in spades. Yes, they had the balls to end like that. It doesn't make this a film worth rewatching or remembering, but it didn't insult me either.


Gaoics79

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2016, 10:21:54 AM »
Josh, needless to say I am in agreement with your criticism of Jin. Yet I disagree with your statement that this added nothing to the franchise. I thought this was a different kind of Star Wars movie. We spent the better part of 3 movies being told how horrible the empire was, but this was the first Star Wars movie that came close in my mind to showing it. I enjoyed the way the rebels were also humanized in a way never before done. The idea of an "extremist" rebel, let alone one racked with guilt over the murders he committed, intrigued me. I see Rogue One as akin to what DS9 did for the Star Trek franchise, albeit on a smaller scale.

And the final third of the movie was just awesome - one of my favourites from the whole franchise.

JoshCrow

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2016, 10:45:47 AM »
The ending "dilemma" was a bit of a farce when you think about it. They needed to get data off a planet. Planet had a shield around it. Ok fine. People who can destroy the shield are outside it. So we need to... send them a voice message to destroy the shield? Uhm, ok. So we need to throw a switch to open a communication channel to get the guys up there to destroy a shield generator that's preventing us from... communicating data?

The joke is that this all happened because, we're told, the Death Star blueprint is "a big file". Hah! I never in my life thought a plot point would hinge on a file being too big to send. It's like my e-mail inbox has this dilemma every weekend.

"Even in the future nothing works!"

Gaoics79

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2016, 08:06:12 AM »
Okay I'll concede that it was odd that the rebels needed to tell the fleet to breach the shield when that was always the fleets' goal. Then again, having a vague idea that someone down there might be waiting to upload the data and knowing it to be true are different things. Would the rebel fleet have resorted to desperate kamimazi attacks to bring the shield down if they didn't know tgat the data was there to be sent? Keep in mind they had no clue what was happening on the surface. For all they knew everyone was already dead.

As for the shield needing to be down to send the big data files, okay hear me out on this. You have to assume the schematics for a gigantic moon sized starship / superweapon are going to be huge. I have routinely dealt with large pdf documents for work regarding highways, mechanical devices etc... that are hundreds of megabytes. You have to figure that these files for something like a death star are well into the multi terabyte range. Yes, the rebels could communicate via real time audio through the shield, but that means what? 64 kbps? They needed to send these schematics in a manner of minutes not hours or days or weeks.

Now you're the engineer, so tell me, is it plausible that an energy barrier could impede wireless communication, limiting bandwith for a data transfer? Seems plausible to me. Certainly it seems true where a physical barrier is degrading one's wifi signal so why not an energy barrier?

« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 08:08:26 AM by jasonr »

D.W.

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2016, 01:31:50 PM »
Are we trying to "fix" this?  Use light, have another R2D2 cameo of him spotting this while observing the surface.  Some rebellion long time ago Morse code.  Message sent without getting into a data throughput discussion that would probably still go over the heads of most of the audience...

JoshCrow

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2016, 02:48:30 PM »
It's just that given the advanced technology required for space-faring, the transmission of data (and the idea of a file being too big for something) feels anachronistic. Throw in the old-fashioned antenna dish on top of a tower, and the laughable idea of "files" being stored in some kind of physical matrix of discs that a person could climb onto... it's all very amusing. I guess you could almost say it's less sci-fi and more steampunk.

Pete at Home

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2016, 07:00:13 PM »
(Would not be the first steampunk element in Star Wars, either)

Gaoics79

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2016, 07:26:37 PM »
Quote
It's just that given the advanced technology required for space-faring, the transmission of data (and the idea of a file being too big for something) feels anachronistic. Throw in the old-fashioned antenna dish on top of a tower, and the laughable idea of "files" being stored in some kind of physical matrix of discs that a person could climb onto... it's all very amusing. I guess you could almost say it's less sci-fi and more steampunk.

I know I know it's silly. But again, to defend the movie, I took the extreme inconvenience of the data facility as a security feature. Much like how present nuclear ICBMs are equipped with very crude software that is not connected to the internet or otherwise networked, to ensure that they could never be hacked.

Pete at Home

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2017, 08:44:58 PM »
I haven't seen yet, but heard it,described as election publicity for people of,color to get,behind the white lady, die together gloriously, and stop Darth Vader.

D.W.

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2017, 09:38:00 AM »
If it was election publicity, they screwed up on the release date badly.  :)

That is an amusing description though, but I don't think anyone buys Felicity Jones as a stand in for HRC.  :)  I think most starwars fans would also be insulted by Darth Vader as Trump.  Well, maybe episode I Aniken... or Jarjar, but they don't lose.   :-\  So also bad "propaganda" from the left.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 09:40:14 AM by D.W. »

Seriati

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2017, 10:52:42 AM »
I really enjoyed this movie, much more than TFA.  But I guess, the flip side of that is there is so much less to talk about.

The only question I really had afterwards, was what the heck is a Bothan, and then I felt dumb when I went on line and realized the Bothans died to bring information about the second death star.

Really enjoyed the planet side views of the Death Star, and liked the idea of a low power setting.  Couldn't really understand the slow pace of the destruction wave afterwards, but maybe it was supposed to be a trick of scale.  Made sense they'd plow under the Holy City, but they seemed over willing to wipe out their own base, particularly since it apparently was a major records archive.  Would have to think that hurt them a lot.  Maybe Tarkin is just that decisive.

Visually stunning, but I can't imagine why even a bad guy would want to build his fortress on a lava waste, particularly not in a galaxy spanning civilization.  In real life, bad guys like pretty places and large population centers as much as the next guy.  Plus they don't often see themselves as bad guys which makes it especially odd to build a bad guy fort.  It's not like there's an intimidation factor when you build it in the middle of an unobserved wasteland.

Vader was pretty cool in his end of movie rampage, but it would have been trivially easy for a force user to take a physical copy of the plans that are in the same room as he is.  He didn't have to even move to do it, can't imagine any Jedi or Sith would fail to realize that.  I blame that on the writers, the plans should have been handed through and the door sealed before he came into the room.

I like that everyone was bothered by needing to send a signal through the shield to be able to send a signal.  I didn't find that as troubling.  Didn't they say only rebel signals were blocked?  The rebels needed to let them know that they had to open a broader path for the large file to come through.  I don't buy the claim that the fleet knew it had to bring down the shield, it's other option was to leave if the situation was hopeless.  To me, the funnier part of the whole process, was the need to retrieve the plans by using the little bubble car - maybe its a security device.  Though not having files networked would make any usage or search of them enormously difficult (and if they were really so important that they couldn't even risk having them networked, kind of doubles down on Tarkin's odd decision to wipe them out).  So if you have to do physical searches, why  wasn't the bubble car already being used by the people who were ordered by Krennic to pull all the communications from Jyn's father?

Pete at Home

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2017, 12:04:50 PM »
If it was election publicity, they screwed up on the release date badly.  :)

That is an amusing description though, but I don't think anyone buys Felicity Jones as a stand in for HRC.  :)  I think most starwars fans would also be insulted by Darth Vader as Trump.  Well, maybe episode I Aniken... or Jarjar, but they don't lose.   :-\  So also bad "propaganda" from the left.

I was just riffing on this rogue writer:

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/culture/callista-ring/2016/11/22/post-election-star-wars-writer-tweets-empire-white

What he doesn't explain is why all those white supremacist Sith use the Dark side of the fort while the diverse rebels use ... the White side of the force? :p

D.W.

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2017, 03:50:24 PM »
I made the same mistake on the Bothans.  Was like, why would they just change that and not include a token Bothen or 3 on the crew? 

And I had heard the same before seeing it even Pete.  I just don't see how it's really any less inflammatory than the others were.  If you identify with an oppressive human (and predominantly white) regime then episodes IV, V and VI are no more or less leftist propaganda than this one was. 

Pete at Home

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2017, 04:09:00 PM »
I was making a joke, DW.  I don't know anyone,who identifies with the dark side, but imagine that if lefty propagandists keep touting that and Kwanzaa, it will eventually happen. But,until it,halpena, it is fun to mock the delusion.  I don't 5hunk r1 was lefty propaganda but evidently one of,the writers tried to,turn it into such.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 04:11:38 PM by Pete at Home »

D.W.

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2017, 04:29:59 PM »
Some on the right do thought.  There was indeed a boycott.  Not sure how widespread / effective it was.  Dislike liberals or Hollywood activists all you want but Starwars is Starwars!  :)

Pete at Home

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2017, 04:34:08 PM »
After getting specs on the "credible" allegations of rape vs Trump, I no longer presume that anything the MSM reports on regarding folks they don't like, has any element of truth.

D.W.

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2017, 04:44:23 PM »
Can't fault you there.  Trump is *censored*ing with my B.S. radar bad!  I read a headline and think, "that's gotta be exaggeration or taken out of context."  <click link>  "Oh *censored*, that's damn near a direct quote via twitter..."

Pete at Home

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2017, 02:46:22 AM »
Some on the right do thought.  There was indeed a boycott.  Not sure how widespread / effective it was.  Dislike liberals or Hollywood activists all you want but Starwars is Starwars!  :)

Well it finally hit the cheap theater so I saw it, and totally loved it.  Best star wars ever, and IIRC in terms of movies I'd say it was the best Prequel I've ever seen.   Agreed that the leader isn't some HRC stand-in.  It was kind of freaky how they hired only white actors to play the Empire.  Maybe they just told the PC-idiot that to keep him from objecting that they were hiring a disproportionately white cast.

Seemed weird that the early uses of the Death Star looked more like a low grade H bomb.

ScottF

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2017, 10:03:55 AM »
We just watched it on iTunes over e weekend. Best Star Wars scene ever comes toward the end of R1 where Darth Vader wades through and mercilessly wrecks a group of rebels trapped at the door. First time we've actually seen him in full beast mode, loved it.

Pete at Home

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2017, 05:13:17 PM »
It's just that given the advanced technology required for space-faring, the transmission of data (and the idea of a file being too big for something) feels anachronistic. Throw in the old-fashioned antenna dish on top of a tower, and the laughable idea of "files" being stored in some kind of physical matrix of discs that a person could climb onto... it's all very amusing. I guess you could almost say it's less sci-fi and more steampunk.

I disagree.  Given the security level of the information, the quantity of resources at stake, the power of the station, the number and resourcefulness of enemies, the fact that it's a 1st generation empire that's taken over an ancient republic (so the "rebels" have legitimacy, staying power, and sympathizers everywhere), it makes perfect sense that the data would be rigged up in a system like that.

Grant

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2017, 05:31:30 PM »
I thoughly enjoyed Rogue One, and consider it to be the third best Star Wars movie.  Some cavets:

I also liked The Force Awakens.  It made corrections that improved it from the prequels (which I alone, with my sons, probably enjoy).  They got rid of the bad CGI.  They had better dialogue and actors with better chemistry.  They had better directing.  The weakness of The Force Awakens is that it was basically just an homage to A New Hope.  It was what Silverado was for westerns.  In terms of story, there was nothing at all new.  It was really a very lazy story.  At least Lucas was trying new things with the prequels. 

I do like the prequels.  I admit they were nowhere as good as the original three, but if you stop comparing it to them I find them to be good movies.  My boys love them.  I feel they are not trying to see them through jaded eyes. 

Rogue One was great because it brought War back to Star Wars.  It had compelling action, memorable characters, good dialogue, impressive villains.  Most of all, it went somewhere no Star Wars movie had ever gone.  It went even beyond Saving Private Ryan or The Dirty Dozen.  Personally, I feel the story would have been better if someone had survived, but it would not have been as bold or memorable. 

The weakness of Rogue One was that there was not much time for character development in a single film, with such a large number of distinct characters.  The Dirty Dozen actually probably had more, which shows how remarkable it was.  Seven Samurai, Kelly's Heroes, and The Magnificent Seven probably had a similar amount.  But the core of Rogue One was that it was a plot driven story instead of a character driven story.  It's a movie about something that happened, rather than a movie about how some people did something.  It's not that the characters were not rich, but that they had no time for real growth or interaction.  You basically meet some cool people, and then they die.  It's what they did, not who they were, that makes the movie. 

I personally feel that Krennick was a rather weak heavy.  The true heavies of the film were Tarkin and Vader.  Vader appears for only a total of less than 2 minutes yet captures the show, reinforcing his stature as possibly the greatest villain in film history, and especially welcome after having to watch Anakin bitch about how "Obi Wan is keeping me back". 

I thought all the characters and actors were OK.  Nothing super memorable, but then neither was anything since Carrie Fischer and Harrison Ford. 

Pete at Home

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2017, 08:34:37 PM »
Agreed that the characters are less strong.

This is a patchwork piece, actually making plausible the most unbelievable parts of New Hope.  (particularly the weakness in the death star, and the fact that it had never been tested on a whole planet before). 

So the fact that a retcon prequel could end up being such a powerful piece of work is a tribute in itself.

Excellent analogy with "Dirty Dozen."

DJQuag

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Re: Rogue One
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2017, 07:20:22 AM »
Rogue One was a good film.  A very good film. It was just different in it's goodness from the main sequence SW films.

I spoke to a client of mine who was wondering whether to see it. He didn't care about spoilers. I told him that it's a war film. That the heroes all die to fulfill their mission. And as a bonus, suited Vader kills the *censored* out of a bunch of mooks. He was down with it. I think a lot of people were. I'm also hoping that the Solo movie next year takes that same attitude and embraces that Han shot first.

It was a rebellion, and rebellions always do shady *censored*, even if is against people who "deserve" it.