A GREAT ADDITION TO THE SERIES
Whether it’s in spite of the sense of predestined doom that hangs around all of the main characters or because of it, Star Wars: Rogue One is a very good movie.
We’ll admit we had our doubts going in. Retroactively messing with the continuity of a series like this is often not a good idea, after all. However, we were pleasantly surprised.
Be warned, this review will contain some spoilers!
It feels wrong to review a Star Wars movie without first taking the time to remember Carrie Fisher who unfortunately died on December 27th, after a heart attack.
She was an amazing actress and script doctor, who worked on a number of screenplays for well-known movies and the world is a bit less fun for her passing.
Now then, on to the review.
While it has a somewhat slow start, the tension quickly ramps up and combined with solid performances across the board, this presents a well-written movie with beautiful animation, likeable characters and a sense of humour. Despite knowing that nothing good awaits these characters, you’ll be rooting for them all the same.
The action scenes, and in particular the assault on the archive, are incredibly well done and tense all the way through. It speaks to the movie’s quality that, despite this being a pretty large part of the movie, you’ll be on the edge of your seat for most of it.
The movie’s greatest strength is probably its characters. The main characters are al quite likeable in their own ways with Cassian (Diego Luna), Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and Bodhi (Riz Ahmed) standing out quite a bit.
Oddly enough, though, the most likeable character in the movie is actually a bloody droid. Alan Tudyk gives a great performance as K-2SO, the snarky, reprogrammed imperial droid. He gets the majority of the funny one-liners and his death is well-handled. He may be just a droid, but K-2SO is his own character throughout the movie.
Donnie Yen also gets a good share of the one-liners as Chirrut, whom he portrays brilliantly. Chirrut falls into that odd stereotype of the monk/warrior who’s blindness only made him a greater martial artist, but the character is certainly no less likeable for it. He stands as a reminder of the power of the force in the Star Wars universe.
We grew particularly fond of Cassian, despite the fact that Diego Luna’s performance is sometimes overshadowed by his co-stars. This is mainly because of the fascinating nature of Cassian as a character.
We never learn much of his background, but he clearly realises that as a spy he is on moral shaky ground. However, the brilliance is that he never apologizes for this. Having been in some way tied to the rebellion since he was 6, Cassian is as invested in it as anyone and it has been his justification for the less pleasant acts his job has forced him to commit.
While he’s not without guilt, he feels what he did was necessary. If he had apologized, it would have cheapened the character’s convictions.
The presence of these strong characters makes it all the stranger that we never clicked with Jyn. None of the characters really grow as people, but Jyn in particular feels a bit…pointless. Felicity Jones’ performance is absolutely fine, but Jyn just feels a bit boring as a character.
Screenwriters badly need to learn that killing off one or both of the parents in the first 5 minutes robs that death of most of its emotional impact. We don’t know this person. Why should we care? Sure, the husband and child are sad, but the viewer hasn’t really been given a reason to care that much yet.
It’s this lack of an emotional connection to her parents that also make Jyn’s quest to get her father back a fairly boring addition to the plot. When he dies, it’s not only predictable, but we still haven’t been given much reason to care beyond a single holographic message.
Had the movie spent more time developing Jyn, her parents and their relationship, their deaths would probably have had more meaning.
For a movie largely about the rebellion’s efforts to thwart the empire, a character with closer ties to the rebellion might have been a better choice. The scene where Cassian calls Jyn out on her sudden appreciation for the rebellion’s struggle rings with a bit too much truth.
Of course, there are some smaller flaws too.
One of the more notable is the inclusion of CGI characters. While it’s great to see some of the characters from the older movies for pure nostalgia, they do stand out a bit and not in the good way. There’s something just ‘off’ enough about them for it to be distracting.
Of course, the movie suffers whenever the viewer’s immersion is broken in moments like this, as you’ll inevitably remember that you already know how this will turn out. The movie’s story is supplementary and, if the characters don’t succeed, the series of events required for the other movies suddenly no longer exists.
In these moments of distraction, we also began to wonder about something else.
Why the hell does anyone bother wearing armour? Clearly, it does absolutely jack shit.
We’re not even talking about storm trooper armour never saving a single storm trooper from a direct or even a glancing hit. We’re happy to accept that the armour isn’t really intended to stop the plasma or whatever the Star Wars blasters fire.
We do, however, take issues with how it apparently doesn’t provide any sort of protection from a blind man armed with what is essentially a stick. Chirrut spends the movie wailing on storm troopers in full armour with his staff and, bafflingly, it actually works. What, exactly, is this armour good for?
Despite these issues, the movie is still great. It’s a great addition to the series and we’re honestly sad we’ll never see any of these characters again. If future movies in this franchise take a page out of this movie’s book, the future is bright for Star Wars.
What did you guys think of the movie? Let us know in the comments below!