Saturday, December 17, 2016

Movie Review: Rogue One, A Star Wars Story

Today, my husband and I had a movie day, sans kids. (Yay! They're old enough to stay home. Too bad they didn't get their chores done--we checked in on our home security system.)

We had the movie without the typical commentary from our oldest child, which made for a more pleasant experience. She loves to chat through the whole movie. Unfortunately, she probably gets that from me as I see a face I know and have to ask my husband who it is--he typically can identify the actors since we both tend to watch the same shows (science fiction and fantasy).

In the case of Rogue One, I heard the voice of Scorpius (Farscape villain) from Governor Tarkin, although it didn't quit look like him. My husband confirmed that, while Wayne Pygram played Tarkin in a small scene at the end of one of the prequels, this was Guy Henry, who was a minor character in the Harry Potter movies. The only problem I had was the bad CGI trying to alter the actor's face to make him look like Peter Cushing. I am not fond of the computer animation of real faces. It came off much better for Michael Douglas in Ant-Man, but there they just made him look younger. In this case, they were trying to put on a similar face and it looked too animated and not real, especially with all the other actors around him being live.

Other than that, I enjoyed the show. It felt more like it was meant to be an Easter-egg than a full-on Star Wars movie, something to appease the full-on fans like my husband. Don't be mistaken, I like Star Wars, but I don't need to know every little detail of every character or ship or planet or whatever. My husband role-plays and miniature games in the SW universe, so he's totally absorbed. I don't need that degree of immersion. That said, it had the feel of a fun side story, which, if I'm not mistaken, is what it was intended to be, something to fill in the gaps from the main canon.

The plot could have come from a YA/NA or animated series crossed with a SW Rebels story. In fact, there are references to the animated series in this--a call for Syndulla over an intercom and several shots of the Ghost. And one of the characters helping Jyn bore a striking resemblance to Kanan while another character was blind like Kanan but could as well have had eyes for his fighting skills (like Kanan). The supporting characters overall were largely caricatures of themselves, VERY distinctive traits perhaps exaggerated too much to make up for lacking real depth.

I will give kudos to the ending. It wasn't what I was expecting in some ways but how it played out for the main characters was the only way to explain their absence in A New Hope et al. I was pleased with it breaking from the typical Star Wars story. The events made the ending feel like it truly fit with the rest, and that brought me a sense of satisfaction; but others may not feel the same.


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