First off, I want to say this was a completely fine movie and I’m glad I saw it instead of being uncertain of what it was and if it was good or not and enjoyed it enough for a one-off viewing. I didn’t hate it or anything – I didn’t totally dislike it, I just saw loads of flaws and it really didn’t grip me at all or interest me most of the time – with most of the film feeling boring and unnecessary. Is it a bad movie? I mean kind of, but I wouldn’t really call it that, it’s just sort of ‘whatever’ which was kind of surprising given my huge Star Wars fan brother puts it as his #1 film in the franchise now so prior to seeing it I went from having no expectations to being somewhat interested and curious.
Let’s get this one out of the way early because it’s not a big deal but fuck it’s stupid. The movie name drops itself about 8 times IN A ROW in the middle of the film and again a couple times at the end. There’s a point where the main cast steal a ship from the Rebel base they’re at in order to do some shit the counsel refused to do and when hailed on the radios about it the pilot character says Rogue One like 5 times as it’s their fake callsign he thinks up on the spot and the guy on the other end does a few himself along the lines of “Rogue One? We don’t have any Rogue One registered identifiers. Rogue One you do not have permission to take off”. It literally made me cringe while also almost had me laughing right in the theater thinking back to all those great sub-title edits from /tv/ and /v/…except it was the real script. I could handle saying it once or twice in that situation as a shitty attempt at a fun little moment but, as with most things in this film, they just run it straight into the ground by going on and on with it. Worse, the times later on are all “Thank you, Rogue One” which just comes off as self-masturbatory to an amazing degree.
Second quick note; absolutely every name in this film is fucking stupid so I don’t know a single character’s actual name. It’s not like it had a big cast but everyone’s names are just the most “let’s make something weird because it’s Sci Fi” they could think of. This isn’t a problem for me but reading this might get a little confusing because I have to just call them what I knew them as so here’s a quick run-down. Girl = the only main female. Guy = the most main male of the group, the spy dude(?). Pilot = the imperial traitor pilot who joins our group. Mongolian = the big mongolian with the machine gun. Ip Man = the blind monk with the stick. Talk about diversity hires, nobody in this cast was white aside the lead girl who was some kind of European, hell the spy and pilot both seemed like they’d start screaming about Allah any second and Ip Man is just literally a racist caricature but he’s not black so that’s acceptable of course.
One of the biggest issues lies in that group. None of them are anything beyond exactly what I just said. Nobody has development, nobody has any depth at all. Ip Man is a blind chinese guy who is exactly what you’d assume he is. Mongolian is a big guy who barely speaks and shoots things. Pilot flies things and of course wears really fucking stupid looking goggles all the time because pilots wear goggles right? Guy is generic protagonist. Girl is generic protagonist. They are COMPLETELY empty characters who don’t just lack development but lack anything there in the first place beyond one single aspect that makes it so you can tell them apart outside of just their physical looks. That’s not to say I didn’t LIKE the cast, they were fine and I thought the mongolian was actually very likable. I liked robot some too but he was just “I am the quirky robot in all movies and games nowadays”. The acting on all their parts was also not great with the exception of maybe Ip Man and Mads, doesn’t help that one of the sub-antagonists is a CG actor because the real one died so he has very badly done facial movements and lip flapping that feels inhuman…so they for some reason decided to always have close-up shots to probably show off their work while making it just even more apparent he’s not real. The girl’s actress was probably the worst of the whole movie, she has the same facial expression on constantly (annoying “I’m confidant” look with lips pursed slightly) and couldn’t convey any feelings her character was meant to feel at any point.
Oh, don’t want to forget to mention the main antagonist…well that’s easy to do because he’s just a bad guy. He just. Yeah. He’s the bad guy. He’s not anyone we know and he’s not really made to be interesting, he’s just bad.
Everyone in the movie dies. That’s totally fine and I figured that’s where it’d go though I suspected at least one or two would survive to be totally honest, but they really go all out and murder them all so I do appreciate them not holding back in that regard. However, almost none of the deaths are “good” deaths. Half of the cast dies by grenades, worse, two of them die ONE SCENE RIGHT AFTER THE NEXT in the exact same grenade fashion within ~3 minutes of one another with the pilot blowing up in the ship from a grenade he could have easily ran from directly to Ip Man getting blown up by a grenade after powering down the shield generator. Actually, I don’t 100% remember but maybe it was THREE deaths within 3 minutes from grenades, because I’m pretty sure the cool Mongolian guy also gets blown up by a grenade right after Ip Man dies in the same actual scene. The two most main characters die off-screen from a Death Star blast reaching them after awhile. Robot is the only one who has a meaningful death and it’s a very overdone “sacrifice myself by locking this door after you go through it because enemies are coming” one.
The worst death in the film though has to go Forest Whitaker There is absolutely zero reason for him to die but he gives the usual speech of (verbatim) “SAVE YOURSELF” while telling the lead girl to escape a decimating explosion from the Death Star…miles and miles away that they barely make it out of alive yet he had no physical impairments in terms of running ability that were bad enough to make him too slow and they all made it just fine. There was absolutely no reason for him to stay there and stand dramatically staring out a window at the coming carnage aside to be dramatic. He even says he refuses to run anymore, as if somehow avoiding a Death Star blast is the same as hiding from the Empire and fighting openly against them when in reality he’s just exploding for no purpose. Or maybe he literally meant he doesn’t want to physically run anymore because it’s a pain in the ass to not just slowly gait around. That’s fine though because he was literally in the film about 7 minutes total so it’s not like it mattered if he died or not. Another really stupid death is that of the the girl’s dad played by Mads Mikkelson who just randomly gets blown to shit by Rebel fire from non-characters (no, really, it’s just random x-wings) in a scene that really didn’t make any sense but had to happen so her dad could die and she could be there to see him one last time in his last moments.
The entire film relies over and over again in every single tense situation, and I very literally mean every single time, on whichever good main cast member(s) who is in a harrowing situation being saved at the last second to the point it felt like a parody. There is not a single perilous moment for any of the main characters that does not end with BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING – ANOTHER MAIN CHARACTER SAVED THEM JUST IN TIME aside their deaths. The bigger problem there is that they are CONSTANTLY in perilous situations where they will die within a second if they aren’t magically saved so it’s not like this is done a couple times, it’s like 30 times instead. Hell, even in the just mentioned scene of girl and her dad, as she’s holding Mads a few stormtroopers run over, see her, pull their guns up to shoot…and are killed by a character who last we saw mere moments ago was across a cavern a few miles away running over and shooting them to death just in the nick of time.
One of the most disappointing scenes in the movie in terms of potential was an actually really cool moment at the end wherein the Rebel ship is boarded by none other than Darth Vader himself. You see Rebel troops not able to get out of a busted door and just barely being able to hand over the Death Star plans to someone that can get to safety and then the camera turns around to see behind them. Complete darkness and then the sound of Vader’s breathing. Then his lightsaber comes on and it’s a greatly set-up shot of him appearing and standing there very menacingly in the glow of his sword – and this is where it should have ended. Not only do we all know the story from this point on, but it would have been a really cool time to cut to the credits. Instead, we get like 6 more minutes of pointless shit just so they could ruin that potential with an otherwise boring sequence of Vader killing the random soldiers and being blocked by another door (somehow) and CG Leia (two CG characters!) getting away with the plans. I like the concept of tying it directly to the first scene of the original Star Wars movie (Episode 4) but was there any reason to show us all the way to that point?
We knew what was going to happen and seeing Vader boarding and the plans being handed off was completely enough to tell us what was going to happen in these last moments and would have been a much better way to convey it. Instead we get spoonfed like retards to the very last second which kills all the imposing feeling of Vader’s appearance. It’s the cost of being a Disney film – even in something so full of death and carnage the fact remains that “we need to make this scene cool for da kidz and normie fans who can’t read into anything ;)” and you end up with a sequence that feels like it goes on for ages just showing how “badass” Darth Vader is killing these no-name soldiers with barely dramatic music to remind you that yes he’s a bad guy doing bad things and is real strong too. Oddly, though I guess not that surprisingly after what I just said, it seems this scene is one of the most popular and loved somehow when to me it’s on par with directing from the prequel trilogy.
What about the story – why haven’t I mentioned much of anything about that? Because there kind of isn’t one beyond “these barely-characters want to get the Death Star plans because girl’s dad built it by total chance and managed to purposefully somehow make a gigantic weak spot that absolutely nobody else on the engineering or construction staff noticed in the enormous moon-sized cannon-base. That’s the whole plot, it has no real purpose and is absolutely total filler between main episode releases. If it was about that AND the development of the cast or something that’d be totally different and much better, but this doesn’t bother with that. Hell, the whole advertised spy theme is also irrelevant as only one character WAS previously a spy and a handful of unnamed nobody characters also were. Plus that concept being the main story element is just kind of stupid, it’s so contrived and unbelievable that it almost makes knowing how this happened damage the events of the original trilogy.
It’s strange how Disney managed Episode 7 so well and made arguably one of the (if not straight up the) best films in the franchise to date with great directing, great writing, fantastically developed and believable characters with great chemistry…to making something so simple, flat, and lifeless with sub-par cinematography, mediocre acting from almost the entire cast playing empty characters with no charisma or bonds to one another, and scenes that just continually drag on far too long and treat the viewer like an idiot.
Do I recommend watching this? If you LOVE STAR WARS then absolutely, it’s more Star Wars and serious fans will appreciate that. If you’re just a medium level fan like me then it depends. I only saw it because my brother wanted to take me and, as I said, it was completely fine. Not terrible, contrary to all my complaints, but also not something I’d encourage spending more than some cheap ticket price for when it’s been out a bit longer and you can see it when it only costs like 5 dollars instead of the normal price for a theater and only if you’re bored albeit the film is pretty boring too. Even then just be sure to go in with no expectations aside some fun action and a few laughs (mostly from the robot) because the film falters pretty hard in every other aspect from acting and writing all the way to the cinematography dragging it down to mediocrity. Plus, the story is just kind of meaningless. Again, if you love Star Wars I’m sure it’s fantastic seeing this period of time filled in, but otherwise who gives a shit? It didn’t even have any worthwhile sensible cameos aside Vader – like where were Biggs and Wedge, for example? There’s no reason they couldn’t have taken part in the assault on this base as far as the canon is concerned and they’re LITERALLY in Rogue Squadron in the original trilogy, most of which (including Wedge) are ex-imperial traitors which also would tie in to the traitor aspect of this film.
Basically this movie was kind of whatever.
As an aside, I didn’t hear/see that retarded rumored anti-Trump message at all so it doesn’t exist luckily or it really is just libs imagining retarded shit from nothing again.