Monday, January 2, 2017
Rogue 1: Spoiler Review
If you have been a reader of this blog and/or listen to our podcast, you will know that I have been very skeptical going into these new Star Wars movies. I held my hype level down for many months before the Force Awakens believing that it was going to be very hard for Disney to convince legions of Star Wars fans to care about these new characters they were dropping into our lives and laps.
I was wrong.... so wrong about the Force Awakens. The movie, although much of it a beat for beat repeat of a New Hope is so well done, so well acted, and rides the line so well between reminiscing with the old characters and blending in the new.
So when Rogue 1 was announced, you would think my trust in the Mouse with Star Wars property would be restored and I'd go blindly to the stores buying toys and getting my tickets months in advance for a screening. You'd be wrong. If anything, I was more skeptical. A Star Wars movie literally with no characters- beyond Vader- that we have ever heard of; starring in a movie without any Skywalkers. My thought was this is Disney being greedy looking for a money grab to tell a story that nobody wanted to hear.
Once again, I was oh so very wrong and oh so happy to be wrong! Rogue One is a great Star Wars movie. Going in I was wary of this story of the rag tag group of rebels who need to get the Death Star plans into the hands of Princess Leia. Director, Gareth Edwards, tells a fascinating tell that unravels over the course of the movie into an emotional, yet action packed story that will have even non Star Wars fans on the edge of their seat.
There are three stars of the movie. The first is the diverse cast. Look, we all love Star Wars but it has not been a bastion of diversity in that galaxy far, far away. In this movie, we get a female lead, a Latin male co lead, Asian co-stars, as well as an African-American character is Saw Gerrera whose intentions may not be all that admirable when you really look at it. Star Wars should always look like this. ALWAYS. Never at a time in the year 2016, should a movie not reflect the ticket buying public. Enough with the token characters such as Lando, Mace, and James Earl Jones' voice. We love those characters for sure, but they have never properly been giving the shine they deserve in the Star Wars universe.
The 2nd major star of the movie is Ben Mendelson as director Krennic. His singular focus on wanting to get the Death Star made- no matter what the cost is not only scary, but inspiring in a way I was not prepared for. We were all expecting Vader to have this overarching hand in the building of the Death Star, but Director Krennic and his manipulating Jyn's father into the building the thing was a great B plot to the movie that played out so well!
The 3rd star of the movie is the various call backs or forwards to a New Hope. From the pilots of the X-Wing battle, to the base on Yavin, to the CGI faces of Leia and Govenor Tarken. So many little Star Wars Easter Eggs. And the Vader we get to see as he is taking over Leia's ship is the Vader we heard so much about and were so scared of as little kids.
I hope people understand how hard this movie was to pull off. Going in, knowing that none of these "rebels" appear in the original trilogy, you know they are all going to die. But how they die and the story that leads to it is so well executed, you forget that these heroes are on a doomed mission.
Overall, I rank Rogue one in my Top 3 of the all the Star Wars movies. I have Empire at 1, New Hope at 2; and Rogue 1 at 3. Just a great movie overall and restored my faith in trusting the Mouse with Star Wars. Bring on Episode 8!