Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Premise: A ragtag group of rebels attempt to steal the plans to the biggest weapon in the galaxy.
About: Rogue One is the first movie in the “standalone” Star Wars universe. Its production struggles have been well-documented, as over 40% of the film was reshot. Look no further than the first trailer for Rogue One to see how bad it got. Barely anything we see in that first trailer is in the final film. The film was directed by Godzilla director Gareth Edwards and comes out… TODAY!
Writers: Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy (story by John Knoll and Gar Whitta) (based on characters by George Lucas)
Details: 2 hours and 13 minutes

awesome-collection-of-star-wars-rogue-one-promo-art-features-new-look-at-characters-and-more18

I’ll get right to it.

I was so disappointed by Rogue One that I considered not writing this review.

I thought this movie would at least be decent. Most of the people I trust online liked it. But everyone seems to be wearing their Star Wars goggles (Star Wars Goggles is a phenomenon by which you love a Star Wars movie right after you see it, then several months later realize you hate it).

I’m struggling, ten hours later, to find anything that I liked.

Everything about this film was either bad or weird. And the only times it felt anything like a Star Wars movie was when it cross-referenced the other films.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS BELOW!!!

For those who don’t know anything about the plot, the infamous Death Star’s killer planet ray was created by a dude who hated what he was doing so much, he built a secret flaw in the system that would allow anyone who knew about it to blow the whole thing up. The Rebel Alliance recruits the man’s daughter, now a criminal, to find her father and retrieve those plans. She, in turn, teams up with a rag-tag group of nasty dudes to go perform the mission.

It’s a pretty good plot, to be honest. So where does it go wrong?

The characters. Oh my God, the characters.

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Jyn Erso – Easily the least charismatic lead character in any Star Wars movie. And that’s hard to pull off when you’re competing against the prequels. Holy shit was this character boring. She just looked angry a lot of the time. We don’t need to look further to know why this movie failed. If your lead character isn’t interesting. If we don’t care whether they succeed or not, the most adept screenwriting plotter in the world can’t save the film. I felt 1000 times more emotional watching William Wallace (an obvious inspiration) lose his father as a kid than I did Jyn Erso cradling her dead father. And I’d known William Wallace’s character for one scene. Boring boring boring boring. People can hate on Rey. But one thing Rey was not was boring.

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Cassian Andor – So we’ve at least gotten the worst character out of the way, right. Nope! There’s a character who’s, somehow, even more boring! Cassian Andor! I think this guy was supposed to be the Han Solo of the group, but here’s the problem. He had no wit and no charm. Like most characters in this movie, he kept his thoughts close to the vest which meant we never got a chance to know or care about him. This is the problem when everyone has a secret motive, is we don’t get to know them as people. And if we don’t know them, we don’t care about them.

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Bodhi Rook – Okay, phew. We’re done with the scathing character assassinations, right? I mean, it can’t get worse than that. Oh no, it can get worse. It can get so very worse. I am officially announcing Bodhi Rook as the second most annoying character in the Star Wars universe behind Jar Jar Binks. WHAT THE FUCK WAS GOING ON WITH THIS CHARACTER? Half the time he was mumbling to himself. The other half he had to be told to do something eight times before he understood it. Riz Ahmed better thank his lucky stars that The Night Of came out this year. Or there’s a good chance this role would’ve ended his career.

So did I like anyone? Yeah, Ben Mendelsohn was solid as Orson Krennic. Donnie Yen was cool as a blind dude with Jedi aspirations. And K-2SO was good with a few funny lines. But it was like using the Chicago Fire to roast marshmallows. Are these performances really that tasty when the rest of the movie is burning down all around you?

And don’t get me started on the special effects. There hasn’t been a moment I’ve felt more uncomfortable during a movie all year than when General Tarkin’s CGI character appeared. He looked and moved so robotically, it was like I was transferred back to 2002 CGI. This is Star Wars. There isn’t a production that has better resources in the special effects department. Hell, Star Wars CREATED the special effects industry. And this is what they give us??? Some video game CGI character that takes us right out of every scene he’s in?

Then there’s Vader.

No.

Just no.

Everything about Vader in this movie sucked. Meeting Vader on his nerdy Lava Hideout (an early iteration of Vader’s home that previous Star Wars teams scrapped because it was so dorky) for a scene that made no sense other than to… well, have a Vader scene. And then, to resort to giving Vader a 1980s Arnold Scwartzennegar zinger???? “Make sure not to choke on your aspirations?” It was cringe-worthy to the millionth degree. I felt like I was watching two 12 year old’s rendition of what a new Darth Vader scene should look like.

And then in the end, we get this Vader song and dance kill a bunch of people in a hallway scene that WAS THE MOST UNNECESSARY SCENE IN THE MOVIE. Not only does it show that the writers don’t understand why Vader is cool (Vader is cool cause he’s stoic), but think about this for a second. If you’re a kid who’s never seen a Star Wars movie, and you’re watching this film, you’d be like, “Why is that guy in the dark suit who was in one pointless scene all of a sudden the star of this ending?”

Then there was the score.

What the hell did this new guy do to the Star Wars score???? He turned it into one of those scores you hear in Star Wars parody videos where it’s clear they didn’t get the rights to the music. So they changed up the second half of the chords to stay out of legal trouble. That’s what Micahel Guggianico’s entire score felt like. You kept waiting for the iconic melody and it never came. It was like bad sex. Never any climax.

And I don’t usually talk about score cause I don’t know shit about it. But there is no franchise more tied to its score than Star Wars. Maybe after a second viewing I could appreciate it more. A lot of good music tends to grow on you. But honestly? I don’t know if I’m going to watch this again. And you’re talking to someone who’s watched every Star Wars movie at least five times (even the prequels!).

Is there anything, ANYTHING, that I liked here? Let’s see. I thought Jedha was a cool idea. That was one of the better sequences. And I thought the tropical island location was a fresh way to explore a Star Wars battle.

But you know what bothered me? This plot was BEGGING our characters to sneak onto the Death Star, yet they never go there! Think about it. The original Star Wars was limited in its ability to explore the Death Star due to budget. This movie could’ve explored the intricacies of the Death Star on a whole new level. The most iconic villain lair of them all. Yet we never go there. It was an odd choice to say the least.

Rogue One helped me better understand why Star Wars worked. Star Wars was a simple story about a boy with big dreams. It’s so relatable. All this shit about “STAR WARS MUST BE DARK” is a big part of why this movie failed. All the characters were rebels and resistors. There was no purity, no one truly good to get behind.

It resulted in a beautiful to look at film with no soul.

[ ] What the hell did I just watch?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the price of admission
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: If your main character is boring, you’re fucked. Plain and simple. And let’s go further than that. If the bulk of your main character’s personality is introverted, it’s hard for that character to stand out. You can only have a character stare out forlorn for so long before we get sick of them.

  • Scott Crawford

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it. Needlessly to say, i don’t agree, although it’s always going to be up to individuals how it affects them. I think there were some problems, i’m to address them, but I didn’t think it was half as problematic as you’re suggesting.

    Oh, well, let the fun commence.

    STAR WARS WEEKEND!!!

  • RO

    So what I am getting from this is that, Rogue One should have been less like a WWII mission movie and more like an Ocean’s Eleven take on stealing the Death Star plans?

    Interesting to note that the writers took the stand of making the Rebels reflect more with extremists instead of something more in the line of a hopeful resistance like the Maquis?

    • Scott Crawford

      Hello! Sorry for pouncing on you after you’ve just posted, but it’s getting lonely here!

      That’s one persons opinion, that it should have been a heist movie inside th Death Star. I think that the movie is designed to work so that you can watch it THEN watch. A New Hope. Since A New Hope is supposed to be the first time we see insid the Death Star, I think they made the right decision. Rogue One is more spectacular.

      Don’t want to spoil it for you, though, you’ve still got to see it!

      • RO

        Hey no worries Scott. I’m in the same boat.

        I’m still expecting to enjoy the film as it is. But I do like these other opinions, as they provide new perspective towards my own scripts.

        Still, personally I think seeing any Star Wars spy mission done similar to an Ocean’s Eleven type film would be quite entertaining as well.

        • Scott Crawford

          Absolutely. There’s more than one way to do s story. In a minute I’m going to post my three quibbles post I prepared earlier. But the gist is, if you change ONE aspect of a story then you potentially affect the other parts.

          Rogue One almost certainly started out in treatment form (TFA did) and I’d imagine during discussions MOST if not all possible story scenarios were discussed and then rejected.

          Rogue One could’ve been a heist movie.

          Rogue One could’ve been a chase movie (they steal the plans in the first half and spend the rest of the movie zooming from one place to another).

          Could’ve but wasn’t. And I think it’s done rather well as it is.

  • budgetfrog

    I actually disagree that Jyn was a bad character. I thought she was sufficiently developed for an anthology film and her father’s plan to sabotage the death star was a genius way to cover the plot hole that a lot of us Star Wars fans complain about. However, I do agree that the rest of the characters were awful. They were funny but were not fleshed out at all and were just there for deus ex machina purposes during the beach sequence in the 3rd Act. It was refreshing to see a change of aesthetic in the Star Wars universe and it actually felt like something new. I thought it was infinitely better than The Force Awakens and I believe that the look and cinematography is definitely worth the price of admission. However, I don’t think it should be considered as a top 10 movie of the year.

  • klmn

    Get to the point, Carson – how did you like the white fudge-covered Oreos?

    • Poe_Serling

      The ultimate holiday gift for Carson – the gold dust black timepiece
      from Vault48.

    • carsonreeves1

      They were kind of ruined by the experience, to be honest. It was the first time I had them, so they will always be associated with Rogue One. And the character I brought them for, Moloff, was barely in the movie!!!

      There weren’t nearly enough aliens in this movie. I wish at least one of the main team would’ve been an alien. That little badass squeeker troll on Jedha could’ve been the coolest team-member! But every cool thing available to them, they seemed to avoid, while every boring thing, they embraced.

      I mean Space Monkey is in the movie for 5 seconds.

      HE’S A FUCKING SPACE MONKEY! You include him as much as possible!

  • Alan Mockler

    Pretty hard to objectively refute any of that. But I look forward to watching people try!

    • Scott Crawford

      Jyn isn’t boring. Her eyes are alive with energy and passion. Al the characters are interesting, I think because of the situation they’re in. The rebels are falling apart (like resistance in other countries, Syria), arguing. No wonder Jyn initially wants nothing to do with them.

      And Cassian, who has lived all his life in the resistance (interesting stuff there) is now destroyed inside now he is reduced to an assassin. This isn’t the rebels of the original trilogy, it’s much dirtier.

      Could’ve had more Vader, but his final appearance IS awesome.

      You should see it, come back, and we’ll talk some more. Here all weekend.

      • RO

        I find that take pretty fascinating. Given that when we first meet the Rebels in A New Hope they are all organized, civil and a coherent team.

        Seeing this band of “outsiders” is an interesting take. Still 28 hours away from seeing the flick.

        • Scott Crawford

          What happens in Rogue One helps unite the Rebels. One purpose of doing a prequel is to show what things were like before we know them be like… sort of like watching a history documentary.

  • ChadStuart

    I still just don’t have any interest in learning more about how the plans were stolen. The how’s and why’s don’t in anyway inform, strengthen or enrich the main story which is Luke’s journey.

    And I don’t have any interest in seeing what Han was like as a young buck. Nor did I care what he was up to as a septuagenarian (and as it turned out, it wasn’t all that interesting).

    If they want to do Star Wars movies outside of the main saga, then give me something new and different. Give me a story about the last time the Sith were vanquished before Palpatine resurrected them. Show me the people who founded the Jedi Order.

    But filling in the main storyline with what amounts to long deleted scenes, I’m not so interested in them.

    • andyjaxfl

      I didn’t mind Rogue One so much, but I’m with you on the young Han Solo adventures. While I have more faith that a talented duo is creative force, it’s just not something that I am craving for.

      Show me a fall of the Sith trilogy!

  • Scott Crawford

    Here’s the “comment” i wrote earlier, before reading the review. Needlessly to say there are:

    ***SPOILERS***

    There ARE three “quibbles” I would have with ROGUE ONE… it’s just that they’re not enough to destroy my love for the film. And I think correcting them might not work without damaging other parts. So…

    1. There’s not as much action as THE FORCE AWAKENS.

    True. Even though R1 cost $200 million (and maybe more), it has less setpieces than TFA. A set piece… it’s a difficult thing to describe. Some people will say two people having a fight is a set piece. Or two people talking, but in an unusual location. I’m going to limit it to BLOCKBUSTER-WORTHY setpieces, the sort of thing in a Bond film or Mission: Impossible film that’s gonna cost a shedload of cash (more than $10 million) to pull off. In TFA we have:

    Escape from the Star Destroyer
    Attack on Jakku/Escape in Millennium Falcon
    Creatures loose on Solo’s freighter
    Battle of Takodana (where Maz Kanata lives)
    Everything in the ending

    In R1 we have:

    Shootout in Jeddah market
    Destruction of Jeddah
    Platform attack
    Everything in the ending

    One less setpiece, and even those I’ve mentioned are smaller in size and scope than on TFA. In other words, there’s not much action until the end. Then we get a SPECTACULAR space battle – maybe the best there’s been – and lots of ground action, ending in another huge explosion.

    There’s two ways of doing an action story – either lots of setpieces, one after the other OR you can focus effort (and money) on a spectacular ending and payoff people’s patience. R1 goes more for the latter than the former.

    2. The dilemma in the middle of R1 isn’t as mind shattering as it might have been.

    Cassian Andor is ordered to kill Galen Erso to stop him building the Death Star, but by the time Andor has Erso on his sights, Andor knows two things (or thinks he knows two things): that the Death Star is complete, so killing Erso would stop nothing; and that the Death Star would’ve been built even without Erso’s involvement – in fact, Erso has deliberately sabotaged the Death Star.

    Killing Erso changes nothing, unless Andor believes that the Death Star is not complete (unlikely after the destruction of Jeddah) and that Andor will be the one to complete it. And I don’t think we are 100% sold on that. It’s a quibble – I still think it’ a powerful scene but I think it would’ve been more powerful had killing Erso made a difference to whether they could’ve destroyed the Death star or not.

    I suppose not killing Erso gives him time to say where the Death Star plans are kept. To be honest, I need to see the film again, or read a detailed synopsis to be sure. But it might have been better.

    But changing it would’ve meant changing other things, like keeping Erso alive.

    3. Some characters were advertised as playing major roles in the story only they don’t.

    Notably Saw Gerrera and Darth Vader. One of the great things about TFA, for me, was how much Han Solo was in it. I was expecting a few scenes, instead he’s in a lot of the movie – and he’s great!

    But just as we get to know Gerrerra, and feel he’s a complex character, he’s wiped out. And I guess Vader was never going to be in THAT much, but it still feels disappointing that he didn’t intervene more in the story (though his final appearance almost made me wet myself – probably scene of the year!).

    Still… sometimes a cameo appearance by a great character is better than a drawn-out appearance where the character has nothing to do. Comparisons between Vader here and The Joker in SUICIDE SQUAD. Wish there was more Joker in SS but… it does kind of work the way they used him, as more of a subplot than the main plot.

    So three quibbles, some suggestions… but I know why it ended up the way it is. Film is (a phrase I don’t really like but it seems appropriate here) organic – not organic as in you have no influence over things or you can’t change things, but organic as in you can’t just remove one part or substitute in another without the rest of the “body” being affected.

  • T Jess

    Carson, for the first time I completely agree with your review. 100%.

    And you know what? You are spot on with the score. The music is the soul of a movie and this movie had no soul. Period.

    I let out an audible groan in the theater when Vader said that ridiculous stupid line, “Don’t choke on it..” or something like that. Vader is ruined for me now. I can’t “unsee” that. I mean, George Lucas trashed the comic relief character by forcing Jar Jar down our throats, but screwing up Vader? Oh the humanity.’

  • Poe_Serling

    I had a hunch* that Carson might give it a [X] wasn’t for me.

    As a moviegoer, it’s always disappointing when a highly-anticipated
    flick doesn’t meet your expectations.

    Personally, I’m hoping the new slate of films being built around the
    the classic movie monsters from Universal can generate some
    excitement for fans and still make a few dollars.

    Somewhere down the line…

    I’d like to see a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon from
    the studio.

    *Having the SS Premium account does have its benefits. ;-)

    • Scott Crawford

      I thought he might give it a 3, not a 2. Oh, well.

      Last time a film REALLY disappointed me was A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD – too short, missing a set piece. I was so stoked about seeing it it too. But I still kinda like it. Because it was different.

      And I feel the same way about this, in the sense that it’s different and I liked it. Not disappointed.

  • andyjaxfl

    ROGUE ONE was a mixed bag for me. I thought the first act was pretty weak, and the jumping around and introduction of 42 characters in the first thirty minutes was a nice reminder as to why you don’t introduce a lot of characters early on. The focus should have been 100% on Jyn with some Krennic sprinkled in between.

    As much as I enjoyed the final act, I was hoping for a more subdued act of espionage. The setup for Leia receiving the plans was a little too explosiony from my interpretation of how she received them prior to the opening scene in Episode IV.

    • Scott Crawford

      You’ve sort of answered it, but how did you expect they stole the plans? From inside the Death Star? A low-key heist?

      Empire Strikes Back was probably the least spectacular climax, the only one that ended without a HUGE battle scene. But it had to be something that wouldn’t undo the rest of the trilogy. A big battle on a planet that is then wiped out makes sense.

      • andyjaxfl

        My thought was old fashioned WW2-style espionage via cloak & dagger infiltration, not by using a massive battle as a distraction so they can sneak in through the back door.

        Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed everything about that battle, but I wish it happened thirty minutes earlier in the movie, followed by a finale more akin to Act Three of World War Z.

        • Scott Crawford

          So like The Guns of Navarone, The Deadly Dozen, even Kelly’s Heroes, most end with an explosion. Maybe not as shooty-shooty as R1, but it’s tough. You can’t really sneak into an imperial outpost and out agin without a big battle…

          … except that WAS what happened in the original Star Wars treatment! That is the very first one, back in 1973. The heroes rescue Princess Leia from an imperial prison, sneak out, accidentally set off an alarm, a few a killed, but most flee to Alderaan or whatever it was called then.

          • andyjaxfl

            I keep thinking of the third act of ARGO as a strong third act sneak. Granted, there weren’t gunshots and explosions in that movie (I think one gunshot the entire movie, if I recall correctly).

            I still can’t believe Disney allowed everything that happened in Act 3 to happen, especially the sitting on the beach scene. There were a lot of ballsy choices in this movie.

  • Jim

    I chuckled when I realized The Rebellion was saved by Napster.

    • Scott Crawford

      Eh?

      • Jim

        Illegally uploading/downloading stolen files?

        • Scott Crawford

          Sorry, yes you’re right! It’s also lucky in the future/past you can stroe millions of files on a credit card.

          • Jim

            I kept thinking, wow, hard copies? Don’t they have cloud storage? Cloud City would have been a nice tie in!

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s that Star Trek thing where everything has mechanical buttons rather than touch pads or walkie talkies rather than headsets.

            In New Hope, Leia inserts a credit card into R2D2… for 1977, that seemed pretty sophisticated.

            I the 1960s, the Israelis stole the plans for a French Mirage fighter jet so they could build their own.

            Blueprints. Three million of them. Loads of boxes.

            Imagine how many pages of blueprints there are for the Death Star. And yet it all fits on a credit card.

          • RO

            I personally like the button switches over the touch screen. For starters, so much easier to repair. Could you imagine trying to debug a touch screen system? It could take hours, where with a switch not working you just replace the switch.

          • Scott Crawford

            I love, love, LOVE mechanical buttons. You can find a few things in the Apple Store with buttons. I love control panels with one button for different things, but I guess it’s the way things are going – buttons have to be able to switch between different functions. I guess.

  • Craig Mack

    I absolutely loved it. It was one of the top 3 Star Wars films for me.

    • Scott Crawford

      Me too. 1. A New Hope. 2. Empire. 3. Rogue One.

      Then Jedi, Force Awakens… and then the prequels.

  • hickeyyy

    Not a lot of time to get into super detail right now, but I want to chime in while the post is hot to say that I really liked it, but didn’t love it. My thoughts are somewhat similar to Carson’s in some respects.

    Spoilers incoming, obviously.

    Jyn wasn’t as good a character as I wanted. Nor was Cassian. I didn’t dislike Bodhi though, in fact, I quite liked his character. Every other character I really enjoyed, specifically, our 2 Asian leads that I forget their names and the robot sidekick.

    The CGI character(s) looked obviously fake, but didn’t take me out of the story at all.

    I hated the dumb cameo by C3PO and R2D2. What was the point other than blatant fan service/nostalgia/whatever. Red leader, Gold leader, Vader, Tarkin, and Leia made sense. These 2 did not.

    Too much jumping around in the beginning and the runtime was a little long.

    That said, everything else was perfectly fine with me. I really liked the way the ending flowed into New Hope. I really liked a lot of the action sequences. Seeing the Death Star wouldn’t have helped AT ALL and would’ve lessened the impact of the “future” films to come after. If you want to show someone Star Wars in chronological order, this fits in beautifully and doesn’t take away any of the impact of what’s to come.

    I think I might rate it as [X] Worth the Price of Admission today thinking more about it, but [X] Impressive immediately after.

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m not going to chime in on everyone’s comments, but you’ve put a lot of thought into yours… and I think you’re mostly right, at least from your point of view.

      So far, I don’t anyone has UNEQUIVOCALLY loved it, not even me. But then again, it had to have something for people not to… maybe not not to like, but not to agree with, don’t you think?

      I think Force Awakens was more about trying to appease and please the fans by not being too different, and this wanted to be different. And when you’re different, not everything about you can be for everyone?

      • andyjaxfl

        Good points. There is nothing in the movie that I actively disliked. I preferred a cloak & dagger Act Three, but what we got was pretty amazing from K2’s heroism, to Chirrut’s Walk, to Baze’s just utter badassness.

        Can’t wait to see it again on Sunday morning.

        • Scott Crawford

          So far, and it’s early, Carson’s the only Star Wars fan here who saw it and disliked it, though there have been some lukewam reviews. Id say that’s better than Force Awakens, and WAY better than peoples reaction to Batman v. Superman!

          • JakeBarnes12

            Batman v Superman?

            Christ! That’s a low bar.

          • Scott Crawford

            I just remember that Monday, it was like, anyone who liked that film just couldn’t comment. I think ONE person managed to comment, the rest had to wait until later in the week to say they enjoyed it.

    • andyjaxfl

      Tarkin looked flawless on the screen I saw the movie on, but the same could not be said for the CGI’d Leia at the end. The rendering quality on Leia reminded me of the Charles/Magneto de-aging from the X-Men The Last Stand.

  • carsonreeves1

    One thing that worried me closing in on the release was the press tour. Every actor (with the exception of Mendelsohn and sometimes Tudyk) was so incredibly boring to talk to. They seemed like the last people you’d ever want to be stuck in a conversation with. There’s something to be said about personal charisma and how that translates to the parts your playing. And if you need any evidence of that, who are the two characters being praised the most in reviews – Mendelsohn and Tudyk. I don’t believe that’s coincidence.

    So if you pressed me on the biggest error in the production of this movie, I’d probably say casting.

    • Scott Crawford

      I didn’t follow any of the press or interviews or ANYTHING that i didn’t prior to watching it, that’s why I’m being so careful on spoilers. I think people should be able to watch movies clear of all that stuff. Those are the movies I’ve enjoyed the most, when I’m really looking forward to it… but don’t know everything about it.

      Maybe next time… less reading up on everything beforehand?