Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first official on screen expanded universe movie that we have received. Since Disney told us that the 30+ years of EU that we have grown up with is no longer canon, did Disney do the former Extended Universe justice?
When I first saw the teaser for Rogue One, I got something that I had hoped to get from the Episode VII teaser… Goose bumps. Going into this film, I knew it wasn’t going to be part of the main story line, well, not really. I knew it wasn’t going to be an Episode, let’s put it that way.
This review MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. I will do my best to keep them to a minimum. If you have not seen the movie, I suggest you do so ASAP! Then come back.
Since our experience with Episode VII, we planned to be out in the cold for a few hours before the theater let us in for seating. Since Mrs. Uncommon Geek and I couldn’t take off work, we arrived about a hour and 45 minutes before our showing time. I was expecting to see massive lines outside the theater, you know, the standard Star Wars type crowds. But, there were no crowds! The theater lobby was fairly empty, and there was no lone for ticket pickup. I thought to myself, “what the frak?” We quite easily made our way to the auditorium and found quite a few people already in their seats. Turns out, everyone was waiting in the nice, warm theater.
Here is Mrs. Uncommon Geek and I’s first impressions after seeing the film. This DOES contain some spoilers.
My first impression of Rogue One was that it was an awesome Star Wars film. The pace of the film in the beginning felt a little off, like it was quickly paced for such slow paced parts. The first half was slow, but I forgave that since the film had to establish new characters. Awesome characters, I might add!
One of the things that really got to me about Episode VII is how much it dd not feel like a Star Wars film despite having the original cast return to continue their stories. Rogue One felt like a Star Wars film. For the most part, it had the classic Star Wars pace that Empire and Jedi had. The overall feel of the film was good. The visuals were tons better than Episode VII. The ships were designed in such a way that they fit into the universe seamlessly. The way everything was designed from the buildings and locations, to K-2SO the reprogrammed Imperial droid were very Extended Universe feeling. In Episode VII, the majority of designs just felt out of place, and I was quite happy that Rogue One felt as though it belonged in that respect.
The special effects were damn near seamless! The CGI did not stick out and was highly polished. There were only about 2 things that did not seem to mesh well; One was when a transport ship was landing on a landing pad in the dark rain on an Imperial research planet, and the facial CGI they used to bring back Grand Moff Tarken (which I totally geeked out about, by the way!). But, I am able to look past all of that, especially Tarken’s face.
I am honestly happy that they had Tarken in Rogue One since he did oversee the final construction of the Death Star. So, from a canon perspective, it would not make sense for him to NOT be there. Peter Cushing was the actor who played Grand Moff Tarken in A New Hope, and I feel that the portrayal of Tarken in Rogue One stayed true to the established mannerisms of the character that Cushing set forth. His voice and everything were very close to being spot on. For a moment, I had forgotten that it really was not Peter Cusing!
The new characters that Rogue One introduced seemed to fit well into the Universe. Jyn Erso seemed to be the only character to get any sort of background development. Her mother was killed in front of her at around age six, her father as forcibly reinstated back into the Imperial military was was crucial to the completion (and weakness) of the Death Star, and she was vital in the Rebellion’s obtainment of the Death Star plans because of her childhood nickname of “stardust.” The other characters introduced into the film were hardly given any form of backstory, such as Saw Gerera; a friend of the Erso family who we find out later raised Jyn after her family was torn apart by the Empire. But, we know nothing about his backstory and, if you think about it, after you see the film, if Saw was not part of the film, the Rebel Alliance would have never obtained the Death Star plans. Saw is so important to the entire Original Trilogy and he doesn’t even get any form of backstory! And what about Chirrut Imwe and his friend Baze Malbus? All we know if their backstory is that Cassian Andor called them “Temple Guardians.” Chirrut appears to be strong in the Force and wishes to do its Will, but is not a Jedi. Is Disney planning on expanding their stories at a later date? Spoiler We see all of the main cast die after the Imperial Archive is destroyed by the Death Star, and Chirrut dies in front of Baze after he flipped the “master switch.” The only reason why we felt sad for his death is because the character himself caused us to become emotionally attached. Other than that, we had no backstory, no establishment of emotional investment. I apologize for the rant, I just like backstory for those important to plots is all. And since Star Wars has given us a lot of character history throughout the years, I just hope that we get to know more about the characters.
My favorite character in Rogue One goes to Chirrut Imwe, the blind monk-like Guardian. in believing and trusting in the Force, he used the Force to fight and protect his new found friends and helped the Rebel Alliance obtain the Death Star plans. There is an ability in the Extended Universe called “Force Vision” that helps Jedi who have lost their site still be able to see. Somewhat the same way that Dare Devil and still “see” though he is blind. I like him because though the galaxy is going to hell, he appears to still sees the positive side, and all he needs is his friend, Baze, and the Force. He teaches us a simple lesson in that respect.
And let us now forget the last scene in Rogue One… Spoiler That bad ass scene with Darth Vader boarding the Rebel ship with his lightsaber and just laying Forceful waste (get it?) to the crew! I have to say, that scene with Vader was probably the most kick ass scene in the entire movie! Throughout the Original Trilogy, we have never seen that side of Vader before! Yes, we get to see him force choke and do lightsaber fights, but never like this. It helped to show why we feared Darth Vader in A New Hope.
Overall, Rogue One was everything that Episode VII should have been. It was a true Star Wars movie and was a nice piece of EU. It was an awesome flick and everyone should go see it several times. I just wish that it had a crawl at the beginning… that bothered me.
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