Friday, December 23, 2016

Review: "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

Full disclosure: I went into Rogue One expecting to hate it.

I hate prequels, as a rule. They're lazy storytelling. I saw the trailers and teasers and thought "this is just Disney trying to squeeze money from me."

I'm not wrong, but damn was it worth it.

Saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last night. I walked out of that theater thinking "fucking hell that was enjoyable."

Set just before the events of Star Wars IV: A New Hope (the original, to us old folks), it tells the story of how the rebels got the plans to the Death Star.

This wasn't a story I needed told, truth be told. I never cared how the rebels got the plans. Having seen it, I still don't care all that much.

No, what I took away from Rogue One was an appreciation for the average member of the Rebellion and the effort to widen the Star Wars universe.

The problem George Lucas ran into with his horribly-written prequels was the shrinking of his rich and interesting Star Wars universe. There was no need for Tatooine to figure into Episode 1: the most pointless movie ever, as an example. The prequels suffered horribly from too much self-referential garbage in addition to the bad direction and horrible writing.

Rogue One isn't any kind of repository of Oscar-winning acting, but it does a solid job of expanding the Star Wars universe through the eyes of people who aren't Jedi or similar wonks.

It did a solid job of telling a story of everyday people who tried to fight the power and, ultimately, succeeded despite a horrible price.

There weren't Jedi in it. There was one Sith who was in the film for maybe ten minutes max.

Ten minutes of "holy shit what the fuck!" awesome.

The people I saw the film with had their own favorites among the cast of Rogue One. I'm going to go with "all of them" as my answer. I was down with the heroine, the morally-ambiguous Rebel intelligence agent, the reprogrammed snarky Imperial droid, the defecting Imperial pilot, the blind temple guardian (Donnie Yen!), and the surly dude with the rapid-fire blaster. I never really learned any of their names. I don't really care what their names were. They were entertaining. Their story was no more or less coherent than the main Star Wars movies. There were heroics, space battles, good guys, bad guys, and lots of shit getting blown the hell up.

And there was digital necromancy that creeped me out while making me cheer.

I enjoyed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story despite my best efforts. At the end, the only thing I can really fault it for is the music. Michael Giacchino (or however his name is spelled) is really not the guy to be scoring these flicks. I wish they'd gotten John Williams on-board. But such is life.

That was a fun flick. Hopefully the other spinoffs will be as solid.

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