Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
December 14, 2016 6:58 PM - Subscribe

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, will attempt to win their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies hope to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, a team of Rebel spies, mercenaries, and droids, race to capture the stolen plans that could save the Rebellion and restore freedom to the galaxy...
posted by EndsOfInvention (395 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
Found the pacing a bit off for the first part, but the battle on (and above) Scarrif was awesome.

And now, some jumbled thoughts:
- Ramming the Star Destroyer into the shield generator!
- ❤️K2SO❤️ is The Best Droid.
- Vader casually massacring the Rebel troopers was brutal.
- CGI Tarkin was good, CGI Leia was a little iffy. Using slightly altered footage of the original Red and Gold leaders (and a couple of other pilots I think?) was pretty clever.
- Spotted the Ghost (the ship from the Rebels show) on Yavin and at the Scarrif battle. Plus obviously Saw Gerrera from The Clone Wars show.
- Romantic cuddle on the beach while you watch the sunset approaching fireball.
- Krennic was such a glorious dickhead. Fun to see him get screwed over by Tarkin.
- I liked how it demonstrated the Rebellion isn't always one plucky Jedi saving the day. Sometimes it's about a lot of people all contributing a little bit, and a lot of them dying.
- I liked that it ended directly connecting to A New Hope. I wanted to watch that immediately afterwards, but it's 3am so bedtime now...

One bit confused me - why did Cassian shoot one of Saw's men during the hover tank ambush?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2016 [14 favorites]


Jyn was sheltering next to the tank he was going to hiff a grenade at, I think.
posted by John Shaft at 9:51 PM on December 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


Great film! I had a good time. Big call, but I think I liked it more than the Force Awakens?

I absolutely didn't notice that Tarkin and Leia were CGI at all. I just assumed they used a lot of makeup on Carrie Fischer and an actor who looked similar to the old Tarkin! I didn't realise it was CGI until we were discussing it after the film.
posted by other barry at 5:33 AM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Haven't seen it yet. How many Bothans died?
posted by adept256 at 7:48 AM on December 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


None*, that was the second Death Star.

(*well, not on screen - there might have been some starship crew)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:50 AM on December 15, 2016 [5 favorites]




CGI Peter Cushing floored me at first, I thought they were just going to go with the tasteful reflection in glass and then bam! Jaw dropped. The more they used him the less convinced I was, but still amazing. Leia was good too, shame they'd over-seeded her "hope" line. Vader in a confined space was brutal, even if he did seem to have a fat head.

As for the characters the film was actually about, Jyn and Cassian seemed to be the only ones who bonded, everyone else was along for the ride because it was the right thing to do. A few scenes from the trailers were absent, imagine they got cut when the space battles got added in. So much fanservice in the film (blue milk! Tatooine Bar Dudes! Red Five vacating his callsign! AT-everythingTs! The Force Of Others!), but the main Dirty Half-dozen war film thrust carried it.

tl;dr - I liked it and I'll doubtless like the inevitable low-Star Wars content fan edits.
posted by comealongpole at 2:46 PM on December 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed this. The space battle was excellent, Vader (his ill-fitting helmet aside) was badass. But I found the music to be really distracting.. no subtlety at all, very little coherence.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:12 PM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Really enjoyed it! Too bad they overused CGI Tarkin. And why have CGI Leia at the end when they could've had someone frantically getting the plans into R2? And avoided uncanny valley and that clunky hope line. Quibbles aside, it looked fantastic and I liked all the new characters.
posted by Mavri at 7:24 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I really loved the first trailer for Rogue One and was sold. It's a shame that the movie didn't live up to that.

The pacing was off, the direction weak (particularly the battle scenes), the characters barely formed, music odd placed, and the plot needlessly convoluted. From the beginning it was a straight by the numbers movie, limply wedged into the Star Wars Universe. That last complaint could be said about The Force Awakens (and probably was, by me), but the acting in that film was top notch, along with the chemistry of the characters and it made those rough patches more bearable. I bought some of the novelizations that sprung up around TFA, I was so engrossed with the characters. Don't see that happening with Rogue One.

I loved that the cast was more diverse and that there were diverse aliens. Yes, ❤️K2SO❤️ is THE BEST DROID AND I WILL FIGHT ANYONE WHO SAYS DIFFERENT. That everyone died at the end was a neat change of pace, along with the darker tone.

But ultimately, I didn't really care about many of the characters, except for Director Krennic, who was a great villian, the sort of who truly believes in what he's doing and is wiling to commit atrocities to do it. The actor sold the hell out of the role and was the one bright spot in the cast. Actually seeing Vader be deadly was fantastic. The CGI of Tarken was truly wonderful, Leia not much. K2SO was great. But Jin? Eh, typical role, typical hero path. K2SO was really, really great and his death was the only one I felt. He died a goddamn hero, everyone was pretty meh.

Pretty disappointing film from such a wonderful trailer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 PM on December 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


Okay, that was big fun. A bit rough in places, a bit cheezey in places, but big fun. Jyn kicking ass! (Oh god, young rmd1023 so craved more women in the rebel alliance - apparently they were all in hiding for several decades, but I'll take them now.) K2SO! Space-Zatoichi! Using a rebel ship as a tugboat to wreak havok with star destroyers!

The plot of the latter part of the movie unfolded differently than I expected, mostly because we hadn't had Jyn's "It's a rebellion. I rebelled." bit of dialogue (or whatever the exact wording was), so I figured that would be part of some sort of wrap-up after their return to Yavin 4. The fact that some of Forest Whitaker's dialogue from the trailer went missing too should've clued me in. :)

The Tarkin and Leia cgi was just a smidge too far into the uncanny valley for me (I can mostly overlook it in a hologram like with Snoke in Force Awakens, but more live sort of live action just makes me notice it too much.) Vader's helmet looked weird, but I liked his tank. I like that this kinda leads directly into Episode IV. And now that Mads Mikkelson has been in Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the James Bond universe, and Hannibal, can we get him a role in Star Trek so he can continue to be ruler of all franchises?
posted by rmd1023 at 7:56 PM on December 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


I was mostly disappointed though it wasn't without its pleasures. The wisecracking robot, the "fan service", the fact that it seemed a lived-in world. Darth Vader being bad-ass.

What was missing:

*The characters were all one-note. One thing that made TFA enjoyable was that Kylo Ren had this ambiguity: a naive youth who was playing at Darth Vader, but who could also be truly dangerous.

*The original Star Wars had all these cinematic references, to everything from Flash Gordon (now I guess about as much far before Star Wars as Star Wars was before the new movies?), Kurosawa, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wizard of Oz. Now all the references are to other Star Wars movies.

*The original Star Wars came up with random stuff out of nowhere that made you speculate about a wider universe. Now a movie like this is all about tying up and tidying up the unknowns from previous movies. At least in TFA we were speculating about Rey's ancestry.

*Some have said approvingly that the original Star Wars was like a Western. This movie had that quality too. But the original was also like a fairy tale in some ways. Odd that the rebellion has gone from being seen as idealistic (Han Solo who didn't join it was the morally compromised one) to something that we see from the inside and everyone now feels compromised by.

*Some of the realistic moral ambiguity among the rebels played well, but the big council meeting seemed flat and perfunctory. People giving one-line "speeches" that were just to move the action along.

*Back when I saw the original in 1977, there was a futuristic feel to much of the technology that's impossible now. Same thing with Star Trek (I think there's a MeFi post on real-life "tricorders"). Maybe we need some completely new sci-fi dreams. Back in 1977, hardly anyone I knew had ever sat in front of a computer. Some arcade video games were coming around. For some starship captain to turn on a computer and type into a screen at a monitor with flashing graphs was itself something wondrous. We're even starting to get robots that make Star Wars's dreams seem quaint.
posted by Schmucko at 8:22 PM on December 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


Yeah, what's up Dark Helmet from Spaceballs doing a cameo at Vader's crib? He gave great helmet.

I enjoyed the heck out of that silly ultraviolent film except for Vader--he was way outsized in the scenes we saw of him. It would've worked a lot more for me if all we saw was a menacing hologram, maybe his special TIE fighter, and some wide shots of him engaging his fleet somehow while tracking the escaping rebel ship. But otherwise, a fun exploration of diminishing potentialities, LOUD NOISES and snarky banter hit the right place in me and I recommend not analyzing the thing too much.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:51 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed this but not as much as Force Awakens. CGI Tarkin didn't bug me. CGI Leia managed to annoy the shit out of me, though. A lot of that was with the overplayed HOPE line calling attention to her appearance, though.

Jimmy Smits is still hot as hell, btw.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:08 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why this movie hit me as hard as it did, but I haven't cried that hard in a theater since Hamilton. I really liked it and have no idea what y'all are talking about re: flat characters, because they are all my precious, precious babies and I am writing fix-it fanfic in my head as I type this.

(when Jimmy Smits says he has to go to Alderaan I was like noooooo don't IT'S A TRAP)
posted by nonasuch at 9:35 PM on December 15, 2016 [48 favorites]


Awesome casting, all the way around. Nice to see Jimmy Smits again, kind of closing the loop. I understand having CGI Tarkin and Leia, but it was a bit uncanny valley for me too.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:40 PM on December 15, 2016


(okay, so if Bodhi made it into the cockpit before the grenade went off he could have survived the explosion, and then if he made it to a functional ship in time he could grab Jyn and Cassian before the blast wave got them--)

(dammit let me have this)
posted by nonasuch at 9:44 PM on December 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


From NPR's review:
Anyway: Meet the rebel spies, watch them run, see them get the plans. There may be no more famous MacGuffin in movie history, excepting the Maltese Falcon and Dorothy's ruby slippers. There's your holiday blockbuster. It's a tense, well-made spacefaring war movie about a desperate and demoralized band of insurgents standing up against a rising authoritarian regime.

So, you know: Escapist fare.
Heh
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:47 PM on December 15, 2016 [19 favorites]


I had a blast at this movie. The fan-service cameos were well done, the characters were compelling, and a ton of dudes get shot/blown the f$ck up. Oddly enough, it's a Star Wars movie about a war. It feels like an old 1960's war movie set in the Star Wars universe with some nice characters. I just wish that they'd do a movie where it's set on a planet of one story buildings.

I'll stipulate that there are pacing issues, but Force Awakens had crazy pacing issues, and I had a hard time with a couple of the characters.

-I thought the blind force guy was going to be a stupid retread, but he was brilliant.
-I thought the Director guy with the white cape was a reach, and it worked (Off to buy a cape).
-I thought Vader wasn't going to work, and I was insanely wrong. His scene at the end was incredible.
-I thought "This is Disney it can't be as dark as Empire." This is arguably the darkest Disney film I've seen in a long time.

My brother is going to take Nephew to see this. I hope it's not as bad as the time I saw Deadpool with an 8 year old kid sitting in front of me. Young Nephew is a huge Mace Windu guy.

Stipulation #2: I'm not into guys, but Jimmy Smits is aging like a fine wine.
posted by Sphinx at 10:00 PM on December 15, 2016 [16 favorites]


There are a giant amount of dead people in this flick. I mean dead. Dead, dead. Not GI JOE dead, just dead. That really struck a chord with me. You do something like this, and you expect to go home and live a happy life? Nope. Uncle Owen, we're burning your Styrofoam igloo to the ground and leaving a couple of skeletons in the desert. Have a nice day. Where are those droids?
posted by Sphinx at 10:07 PM on December 15, 2016 [25 favorites]


I honest-to-god thought they weren't going to have the courage to have everyone die at the end (well almost everyone). I kept expecting something or other to save the day and Jyn make it out. I'm so happy I was wrong, I'm actually impressed they didn't back out at the last second, it's awesome. I guess this is the nice part about having an endless franchise? You don't have to save the heroes for a sequel if you know you're already making another one.
posted by Carillon at 10:11 PM on December 15, 2016 [28 favorites]


I liked it so much! Still all fresh and jumbly in my brain since I just crawled into bed after a 10:15 showing, so these will not be coherent thoughts, but:
- agree with folks saying that all the Vader scenes seemed really...off, somehow? The campiness of the tone ("I hope you don't -wait for it- CHOKE on your ambitions" hahahhahahahhahaha that was terrible), though totally right for original flavour Star Wars, felt off in this much darker film. Also the Vader costume looked like the one my nephew wore for Halloween last year. Which is to say, not good. The scene at the end though? Hellllllll yessss! That was TERRIFYING, and is, I think, going to change how I view the opening scene of New Hope from now on, which is FANTASTIC! I love new lenses on old things!
- This movie, whether intentionally or not, managed to make me care and feel and agonize over the deaths of the extras and the bystanders and the Random Crowd Aliens at the Bazaar and all the "collateral damage" deaths even more than I felt it for the main characters, and I don't (I think?) mean that to be a criticism. It was kind of astounding. No other big Hollywood action-y sci-fi-y blockbuster-y movie - Star Wars or otherwise - has ever really managed to get across the sheer scope of the human(alien) destruction and loss in quite the way this one did, and I was very impressed and affected by that. I don't know quite what it was, but it felt oddly powerful...and timely.
- I had no idea CGI Tarkin and Leia were going to be a thing, and I thought it was pretty damn great!! My spouse was convinced that Leia was just a lookalike actress. ("There are so many Leia impersonators in the world, they probably just hired one of them" he says to me as we're leaving)
- I'm unclear on whether the two Temple Guardian dudes were meant to be, like, a sect of Jedis? Or Jedis in hiding? Or the spiritual wing of the warrior-monk religion of Jedis? Or just force-sensitive dudes not affiliated with the Jedi Knights as we know them? I think I missed some important dialogue there. (Also my phone keeps autocorrecting Jedis to Jesus which is delightful)

I'll post more thoughts if/as they come to me! But I've got that awesome half-giddy post-new-Star Wars feeling and I LOVE IT and I can't wait to spend all day tomorrow reading a million reactions and thinkpieces about it! I'm SO EXCITED that we basically get new Star Wars every Christmas from now until infinity!!!
posted by Dorinda at 11:01 PM on December 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


Not GI JOE dead, just dead.

That scene where the blind quasi jedi dude's bodyguard shoots the wounded stormtrooper in the head was genuinely disturbing even though we see little more than a quick burn mark.

The scene at the end though? Hellllllll yessss! That was TERRIFYING

Vader stabbed right through that dude to cut the door open. It was like he hadn't killed in awhile and it was buffet time for him.

I kept expecting something or other to save the day and Jyn make it out.

Yeah, I had a thought that she was going to survive and actually turn dark and become Captain Phasma but as characters started to drop it was just inevitable.

But now I want to play multiplayer battles in that document retention facility. And lo, that's coming to Battlefront! Battlefront is cake and ice cream and I play it shamelessly.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:04 PM on December 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Overall, it lacked the energy of previous Star Wars movies (especially compared to TFA, which was super fantastically fun).

But there were things about it I really liked. I was tremendously moved by Cassian and his team of fighters standing behind Jyn as their leader. I cried throughout the second half thinking about that. You're not going to see that same kind of strong female leadership in Fast and Furious or Transformer movies, I don't think (they played trailers for both before tonight's screening).

Also, the friendship between Chirrut and Baze was really compelling and dare I say it felt downright progressive.

In conclusion: solidly good, if not as close to perfect as TFA was.
posted by too bad you're not me at 12:11 AM on December 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm unclear on whether the two Temple Guardian dudes were meant to be, like, a sect of Jedis? Or Jedis in hiding?

I think canonically, Chirrut does not have any actual Jedi abilities. They were formerly guards (or "guardians"?) of the Jedi temple on Jedha before it was destroyed (I got the impression the temple had been destroyed when the Emperor purged the Jedi). I see Chirrut as a kung-fu master - no magical powers, he's just trained a lot. Maybe he trained with the Jedi when they were around.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:00 AM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Surprised to be on the less-enthusiastic side for once, but I really felt that the emotional arc through the first part of the film - the conversion from selfish outlaw to True Believer - felt totally unearned.

And I've gotta strongly disagree with most upthread - CGI Tarkin was really obvious, especially when he moved around the room - there was just something eerie and off about it, and given it's Disney, I'd have expected better. The less said about Leia the better, honestly - super super creepy and the line they gave her was cheesy beyond belief.

Those two gripes aside, there was a lot to enjoy, and I'll probably see it again over Christmas. But I'm genuinely surprised by the praise for the CGI here.
posted by ominous_paws at 5:01 AM on December 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Also, is Vader's butler the one who eventually becomes Snoke?
posted by Burhanistan at 5:24 AM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I see Chirrut as a kung-fu master - no magical powers, he's just trained a lot.

My understanding of Chirrut's abilities is that he represents a return to the original trilogy's interpretation of Force sensitivity and Jedi training: Although only some people are "strong" enough in the Force to become full-fledged Jedi, the Force ultimately moves through all living creatures. Perhaps Chirrut's order of monks had developed an alternate means of understanding and accessing the Force that was parallel (but not identical) to that of the Jedi Order.

Either that, or he's the Star Wars universe version of Daredevil. Intra-Disney crossovers ahoy!
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:18 AM on December 16, 2016 [14 favorites]


I loved it. It was such a relief that there was no whitewashing of the many, many, many deaths that were/are inevitable in any kind of rebellion. I'm glad Ben Mendelsohn used his own accent and that he was an irredeemable arsehole and I loved the look he gave Vader after the choking bit. The cgi characters were a bit too cgi-ey for my liking but hey ho. It's not like Peter Cushing is still around or Carrie Fisher is still 19.

I will be seeing this again many times before episode 8 comes out next year.
posted by h00py at 6:52 AM on December 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


The scene at the end though? Hellllllll yessss! That was TERRIFYING, and is, I think, going to change how I view the opening scene of New Hope from now on, which is FANTASTIC! I love new lenses on old things!

Makes you realise exactly how brave/terrified these guys were.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:58 AM on December 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


So I'd love other people's reading on this - how do we think the force is regarded in this universe now? My read from the original trilogy is that at least within the empire there are at least a couple of camps, with Vader representing the believer power base and Tarkin on the other. I'd assumed this would have been mirrored on the Rebel side, but everyone there seemed to be proper believers, with constant "the force be with you"s at every turn. I'd have expected a little more Han Solo-ish contempt for hokey religions from at least some of the parties - would have brought an interesting tension. Or am I off here?
posted by ominous_paws at 7:05 AM on December 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


That's a super interesting question, ominous_paws. I think I need to watch again and mull it over a little more, but one of the things that stood out to me was the inclusion of Jyn's kyber crystal necklace given to her by her mother. At first, I was really thrown off by what seemed like and introduced-and-then-ignored Chekov's Jedi memorabilia. Like, it only comes into play when her mother bestows it upon her, and then when they're trying to get into Scarriff and she sort of clutches it and force-prays, which seems like a super minor payoff for on object that was given such prominence in to opening sequence.....why bother have it at all, if it's never going to be used or even referenced as a sort of revenge talisman for murdered mommy sort of thing....
But while I was mulling things over in my head last night, I decided that I actually really, REALLY liked that it was underutilized/not a deus ex machina. Like, it felt very much like an equivalent to a kid raised in a household where one parent is agnostic and one is at least somewhat religious, and while the kid definitely leans more to the "meh" side of spirituality, in the most dire of moments what she reaches for is that token of faith...not necessarily because she is suddenly a believer, but because the faith of OTHERS often gives us hope when we can't muster our own. Which is a lovely sentiment. Unlike my husband, who read her "prayer" while clutching the crystal and subsequent gaining of a landing code as an unambiguous force-use moment, I think I much prefer the reading that she was in that moment reaching out to her memories of her mother's faith in such things. Half in a desperation/"no atheists in a foxhole" kind of way, and half in a self-soothing/seeking strength gesture. I don't think their gaining of an access code was the result of Force manipulation, at least not in an active sense; I guess one could make the argument that the Force was sort of working Providentially there, but from the character Jyn's point of view, I think it was just perceived as a lucky break....
So to circle back in a roundabout way to your question, I think I did kind of get the sense that there were varying degrees of "faith" in the Force and it's workings that were presented in really subtle (for a Star Wars movie) ways. The cliches being tossed about re: "The Force being with you" and all seemed sort of like stock phrases (except from the Guardian dude, and the mother) from a secularizing culture that still retains some of the linguistic and cultural remnants of a religious history.


So yeah. I read too much into things.
posted by Dorinda at 7:28 AM on December 16, 2016 [36 favorites]


In the Empire, I think the majority of the leadership see the Jedi as "finished" - they may have had special powers but were ultimately killed off so couldn't have been that powerful, right? Maybe a lot of it was smoke and mirrors? Vader is tolerated because of his close ties to the Emperor but is viewed with contempt by a lot of the leadership.

In the Rebellion, the Jedi are an obvious touchstone for "how it used to be" in the Republic. I think "May the force be with you" is as much their version of "good luck"/"Godspeed" as it is a genuine belief that the Force will help you. It's almost a cargo-cult use of a phrase that previously only the Jedi would have used, maybe? (I don't recall if it was used much/at all by non-Jedi in the prequels).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:30 AM on December 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


Thinking about it some more and reading the Wiki section about reshoots, it looks like whatever the original director Garth Edwards intended probably was papered to an unknown extent by reshoot director Tony Gilroy and various suits. Which explains the remarkably different tone from the first trailer to final movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:44 AM on December 16, 2016


But while I was mulling things over in my head last night, I decided that I actually really, REALLY liked that it was underutilized/not a deus ex machina. Like, it felt very much like an equivalent to a kid raised in a household where one parent is agnostic and one is at least somewhat religious, and while the kid definitely leans more to the "meh" side of spirituality, in the most dire of moments what she reaches for is that token of faith...not necessarily because she is suddenly a believer, but because the faith of OTHERS often gives us hope when we can't muster our own.

This detail is expanded upon in the Rogue One prelude novel Catalyst. It's explained that Jyn's mother Lyra carries a semi-religious reverence for the Force and Jedi, and is deeply affected on an emotional and spiritual level when the Jedi are destroyed. The kyber in her necklace is literally the lightsaber crystal of a fallen Jedi, which was gifted to the Ersos by Director Krennic to aid in Galen's energy research; Lyra wears it to remember their sacrifice.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:11 AM on December 16, 2016 [12 favorites]


I really enjoyed it, and how well it set up A New Hope. Obviously, big obvious plot points like thermal exhaust ports, but mostly smaller things like, "Oh ... that's why there are only red and gold squadrons fighting in that final battle." When the Blue Leader announced himself and I made that connection, it did really strike an emotional chord.

I love, and will always love, Diego Luna. I wanted to give Riz Ahmed's character a haircut. I liked Felicity Jones but I agree that they elided a lot of Jyn's journey from not caring about anything to being the person rallying the Rebel special forces to attack.

I wish that there were more women. I know that apparently the problem with this movie is that there was a female protagonist, but I wanted women in with the group that went to Scarrif. I loved the two temple guardians, but why wasn't the woman who was hanging out with them on Jedha also have been a badass temple guardian?

OK, off to go rewatch A New Hope.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:40 AM on December 16, 2016 [26 favorites]


"Oh ... that's why there are only red and gold squadrons fighting in that final battle."

We also found out why Red Squadron had a HELP WANTED sign out for the Red Five position.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:48 AM on December 16, 2016 [19 favorites]


A cynic would say that they threw shout outs to everything in the movie to drive toy sales.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:58 AM on December 16, 2016


On the advice of some folks at Lucasfilm (via twitter) I re-watched A New Hope before going into the movie, which I think added a certain level of memory refreshing for small things and helped mesh Rogue One into the A New Hope setting.

With that said, it's apparently hard for me to process the new Star Wars films after only one viewing. I never actually ever wrote a proper review of TFA, and now with Rogue One, I'm still trying to analyze it in my head all proper like. I can say that I really enjoyed it, maybe even loved it as a Star Wars film, but thought, if critiquing it like a regular movie, thought it was good, but not necessarily great. The latter is more a reflection of its production and final product, versus a commentary on enjoyment on my behalf (see the former).

I agree the pacing was a little off at times and that I wish they could have dug a bit more into the new characters, be it Jyn (her transformation from rebel without a cause to a "rebel" with a cause), to an even deeper look into Krennic and his past. Catalyst does this, but in the movie, it wasn't very well summed up, I thought, how much of his life and passion he had thrown into the Death Star project. I mean the dude REALLY, REALLY worked hard to get that white cape! (A symbol of his rank).

Vader felt a little off. In his castle, which I think is a throwback to the Ralph McQuarrie sketch from the original trilogy, I swear he basically had on his temporary, quick suit, which was a bit surprising, and later on, I believed they were matching his suit in A New Hope, which was altered going forward for the rest of the trilogy. James Earl Jones' voice is getting a bit weaker now and it shows, distractingly to me, at least. I wasn't against his inclusion, however. That guy who announced Krennic's arrival, without any ability to confirm my own vague memories, but he wasn't one of the dudes in Return of the Jedi who are in the Emperor's chambers and are told to exit, was he? This guy?

Then again, the possibility he could be Snoke isn't entirely impossible as....the credits thank Rian Johnson, which I assume can only mean there may have been some clue or nugget related to Episode VIII. (That or he watched the film and offered some insight). If Episode VIII has Snoke living in Vader's castle, well then, there you go.

CGI Tarkin...was a bit distracting and was right on the edge of the uncanny valley for me. I think the problem for me was that knowing that it was CGI Peter Cushing made me want to spot the strings attached to the puppet, so to speak, and put a spark of doubt in my mind regarding his reality. When I turned that off, I thought he was fine and an unexpected delight. Tarkin features in the back half of Catalyst and it was fun to see that continue into the film, even if it basically concludes the back and forth gamesmanship between him and Krennic in Tarkin's favor.

CGI Leia felt like a love letter to George Lucas. It was completely something Lucas would have loved and on that ground alone, I confess, I liked it. It was nice to give a nod to the man who started it all with such an addition. I was caught by surprise that they showed her face, I figured we'd just get her in the background. And, for those complaining why they didn't show a rebel giving R2 the plans...they can't, we see Leia do this in A New Hope.

But enough criticisms...I had a hoot watching the movie. Some of the easter eggs were fun, some of them were a bit too on the nose, such as our future cantina patrons and the two droids commenting on Scarif. (Okay, that was a minor criticism.)

Overall, I loved the ensemble they put together as the core team of rebels. I really appreciated the diversity, and if they had manged to add more women into the mix, it would have been perfect. I found myself liking Baze probably more than Chirrut, as his character really got to finish an arc from devout protector to cynic back to devout by the end (I did finish Ip Man 3 in Donnie Yen's honor before seeing the movie, tho'). Diego Luna's Cassian was great and unexpectedly ruthless. Felicity Jones did just fine as Jyn. I thought her character flattened out a little bit after her introduction, as opposed to almost all the other characters. Galen....well, I'm glad I read Catalyst, or may not, it felt as if he was a major character who had been sidelined by substantially. Jimmy Smits as Bail....OMG, I want more Smits Bail now! The conversation about Obi-Wan killed me.

I thought the battle scenes were stupendous and at least in terms of ground combat, the best we've ever seen in a Star Wars film. Lady pilots, all right! Admiral Raddus continues the tradition of kick butt Mon Calamari admirals, and we can just pretend he's captured and not killed...making for a surprise return in some post-RTOJ EU story. The horror and desperation of the rebel soldiers trying to get onto the Tantive IV was heartbreaking and visualized one of my favorite moments in Star Wars: Battlefront concerning an encounter between rebel troops and Vader in an enclosed space.

Gareth Edwards has a great eye for visuals and he brought it with him to the film. There's a lot of beautiful moments in Rogue One.

So many things bouncing around in my head, none of it organized. Argh.
posted by Atreides at 9:39 AM on December 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


That's a super interesting question, ominous_paws. I think I need to watch again and mull it over a little more, but one of the things that stood out to me was the inclusion of Jyn's kyber crystal necklace given to her by her mother. At first, I was really thrown off by what seemed like and introduced-and-then-ignored Chekov's Jedi memorabilia. Like, it only comes into play when her mother bestows it upon her, and then when they're trying to get into Scarriff and she sort of clutches it and force-prays, which seems like a super minor payoff for on object that was given such prominence in to opening sequence.....why bother have it at all, if it's never going to be used or even referenced as a sort of revenge talisman for murdered mommy sort of thing....

It's what attracts the blind monk to her, and he's the one who ends up being the key to getting the shield down.

Which, btw. I watched this with a blind friend, and we both audibly drew in a breath when he showed up. He was a very offensive blind trope--the whole "magical ability erases disability." I mean, stock standard, but still.

I thought the movie was pretty poor with regards to this stuff. It's great to have more strong female characters in primary roles, but there were so. few. women. anywhere. All the engineers were old men. All the rebels who joined their team at the end (I was squinting trying to tell if one of the people in the one group shot was a girl but I don't think so--if it was, we never saw her again). I think I heard one female rebel pilot, once? But that was it. Why couldn't Bodhi have been a girl, or the Samurai-esque character? I guess you get once robot, one chick.

All the dad stuff was just terribly written. It should have hit me hard, as a parent of a young girl and someone who lost her dad young. But I was just ...

I liked Jynn's light romance with Cassian, and thought they were an interesting lead pair.

Most of the characters had totally inscrutable motivations for the sake of plot movement. I still have no idea why Saw Gerrera stayed to die except he would have gotten in the way of the story (though that "paternal" relationship was sooo much more interesting than the actual one.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:53 AM on December 16, 2016 [17 favorites]


I wish that there were more women. I know that apparently the problem with this movie is that there was a female protagonist, but I wanted women in with the group that went to Scarrif. I loved the two temple guardians, but why wasn't the woman who was hanging out with them on Jedha also have been a badass temple guardian?

This was so glaring and so frustrating. At least one more of the main crew should have been a woman. And it would be so easy to scatter more women in the minor, largely non-speaking roles of the Scariff volunteers or the Death Star scientists, but nope. We've got a lady hero and Mon Mothma so the rest of the movie is a total sausage fest.
posted by Mavri at 10:02 AM on December 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


Which, btw. I watched this with a blind friend, and we both audibly drew in a breath when he showed up. He was a very offensive blind trope--the whole "magical ability erases disability." I mean, stock standard, but still.

I saw Chirrut's martial prowess to be inspired by the long cinematic tradition in Asian martial art films of blind practitioners using heightened senses to fight, such as Zatoichi, the samurai. In the first fight scene, there seems to be an emphasis on him hearing the movement of the stormtroopers, for example. He did seem to have a bit of Force sensitivity, which I could see as a play on magical abilities, though again, I viewed it through the martial art mystical powers framing. Not that it helps, and maybe this is more in line with the trope you have in mind, but the current season of Rebels has a blind Force user who uses the Force to see his surroundings and I could see Chirrut being a much, much weaker version of it.

I thought the movie was pretty poor with regards to this stuff. It's great to have more strong female characters in primary roles, but there were so. few. women. anywhere. All the engineers were old men. All the rebels who joined their team at the end (I was squinting trying to tell if one of the people in the one group shot was a girl but I don't think so--if it was, we never saw her again). I think I heard one female rebel pilot, once? But that was it. Why couldn't Bodhi have been a girl, or the Samurai-esque character? I guess you get once robot, one chick.

Yeah, there's no excuse for this outside of "didn't think of it, sorry!" which isn't an excuse. If you look at the first trailer or initial photos that were released showing the big meeting at the Yavin Base, there are almost no women other than Mon Mothma and the other woman senator. In the film, there's a few more scattered in the crowd, and I think they were added after criticism started popping up early. All I can guess is that during the re-shoot phase, they didn't think about the need to add more women characters elsewhere (unless the women pilots were added - there was at least one X-wing pilot and one U-wing pilot). I'd have to go see the film again and compare faces, but I don't think they even showed the woman X-wing pilot who was released as a card for the Star Wars Collectible Card Game, whom many initially hoped was Evaan Verlaine.

You could easily turn half the background characters into women and make zero affect on the story. You could easily turn half of the major characters into women and make zero affect on the story. You could make than half of the major characters into women and make zero affect on the story. I do think it's an issue that Lucasfilm is working on, albeit, it seems, way too slowly.
posted by Atreides at 10:10 AM on December 16, 2016 [16 favorites]


I saw Chirrut's martial prowess to be inspired by the long cinematic tradition in Asian martial art films of blind practitioners using heightened senses to fight, such as Zatoichi, the samurai. In the first fight scene, there seems to be an emphasis on him hearing the movement of the stormtroopers, for example. He did seem to have a bit of Force sensitivity, which I could see as a play on magical abilities, though again, I viewed it through the martial art mystical powers framing. Not that it helps, and maybe this is more in line with the trope you have in mind, but the current season of Rebels has a blind Force user who uses the Force to see his surroundings and I could see Chirrut being a much, much weaker version of it.

Yes, of course there's a long cinematic tradition. But that long cinematic tradition is offensive. I can see if I can dig up more discussion from the disability-sphere (the friend who I saw it with is an author, has written blind characters, and has written about this) but the idea that a blind person "sees" with magic or other compensatory abilities is just one more way to erase the actual lived blind experience.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:33 AM on December 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


I think I heard one female rebel pilot, once?

She had a couple of lines and shots, but yeah, that was it.

Which is odd, considering how diverse they made the aliens. There were literally more alien creatures than women in the movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 AM on December 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


Here's a decent link about magical erasure and disability.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:36 AM on December 16, 2016 [15 favorites]


This was so glaring and so frustrating. At least one more of the main crew should have been a woman.

It's funny, the first thing I thought of when I was mulling over this was Switch in the Matrix. Strange that it was such a revelation to have two major female characters in a fantasy-action movie cast.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:38 AM on December 16, 2016


Here's a decent link about magical erasure and disability.

Thank you for the link!

In the context of that article, does Chirrut fall into the Toph area of acceptance? Or do we just not know enough about the character to make that determination.

While the timing is debatable, Chirrut seems to be the first blind Star Wars character that I can think of, which definitely heightens the scrutiny over how he/Lucasfilm portrays blindness.
posted by Atreides at 10:54 AM on December 16, 2016


In the context of that article, does Chirrut fall into the Toph area of acceptance? Or do we just not know enough about the character to make that determination.

Ennnnhhhh, Chirrut seemed depicted essentially identically to how a sighted person would act, with maybe one exception (when he feels around for the lever). He's not a jedi, but his magical ability is so strong that he can see character motivations (anyone else think "the force flows darkly around someone about to kill" was pretty ridiculous?). He mostly seemed blind as a way to highlight his vulnerability and magical powers rather than because blindness as an experience was something the writers were actually interested in.

But Star Wars generally isn't great with disability--the use of prosthesis is a shorthand for loss of humanity, for instance. Saw Gerrera could have been an opportunity to subvert this but we really didn't see him enough for there to be any sense of the message there. Maybe it's different in the show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:08 AM on December 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


I completely agree about the lack of women, and am mondo disappointed about that. I could maaaaybe buy that, in addition to its speciesist/human supremacist attitudes, the Empire is misogynistic, too, which is why there were no women on the Death Star team* or in any of the Imperial outposts. It's nota super satisfying explanation (especially as the film does literally nothing to demonstrate that it recognizes this as an evil of the Empire and not an oversight of the filmmakers), but I can headcanon/handwave it away if I'm feeling generous. But there is ZERO excuse for the Rebels not to be better on this front. As you all mention, many of the Rogue Squadron volunteers (or any other character) could EASILY have been female (and/or alien, for that matter). It would, in addition to just being more believable, have helped combat the "one in a billion super special Joan of Arc so it's ok to follow her" female figurehead trope that Jyn takes on. I don't think the filmmakers intended this for Jyn's character...I actually think they were trying to make her fit into the "regular folks in extrodinary circumstances do heroic things" war movie trope. But, because of the massive gender imbalance, that gets lost and she automatically becomes exceptional Because she's a woman, not simply an exceptional (or just regular) woman.
Again, saying that this was not their intention isn't meant to excuse the filmakers, but rather to condemn them further since it was clearly just so thoughtless.

Thanks for those insights/link about the problematic portrayal of blindess, PhoBWanKenobi. This was, I admit, not something that immediately struck me about the blind character, so I'm grateful to have my attention brought to why it's offensive. Thanks.




*I, for one, would TOTES watch a Star Wars story about a woman in the Imperial science core or in the infantry dealing with massive institutional misogyny and just Not. Fucking. HAVING. It. and busting ass and achieving success and breaking glass ceilings left right and center.
posted by Dorinda at 11:45 AM on December 16, 2016 [18 favorites]


Saw Gerrera could have been an opportunity to subvert this but we really didn't see him enough for there to be any sense of the message there. Maybe it's different in the show.

I just rewatched the Onderon/Gerrera arc in Clone Wars and the only connection between the character seen there and in R1 is their background as insurgent leaders. When we leave Saw in CW, he's a young, able-bodied warrior who's all-in against the Separatists because they overthrew his planet's king and killed his twin sister/second-in-command. But he hasn't yet sustained the injuries that took his legs or forced him to use the respirator, so unfortunately the recurring Star Wars motif of "idealistic crusader-turned-insane cyborg" is again reinforced.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:59 PM on December 16, 2016


I've been thinking about Saw Gerrera's evolution from the freedom fighter on Onderon to the machine sustained partisan of Rogue One. I wonder if it's intended as a parallel with Vader. Have the tactics and methods of Gerrera's become so violent and callous, they've become amoral or even immoral? Essentially, Gerrera's humanity has literally been wiped away over the years as he becomes more ruthless in his strategy.

Obi-Wan says with no little disdain that Vader is more machine than man, and perhaps, Saw's own recognition of this fact, where he's become paranoid of plots against him (his distrust of Bodhi) and subjects potential allies to a weirdo psychic monster that can drive its victims insane. Thus, after being snapped back to some form of humanity, sanity, by Jyn's visit, opts to die from the Death Star blast rather than go on living as the creature he had become.
posted by Atreides at 4:58 PM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that was my reading, too-- that Saw was spiralling into paranoia and madness, and knew it, and that it had gotten so much worse since he left Jyn behind that (once her return snapped him out of it a bit more) he no longer trusted himself to fight the Empire.
posted by nonasuch at 6:46 PM on December 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


First impressions:

* Did I hear a line of dialogue in Jedha referring to the Whills?
* No title card on Vader's planet/castle? Perhaps significant? In the old canon, it was Castle Bast on Vjun, I think? Was that Mustafar?
* CGI Tarkin & Leia were hella uncanny valley and won't age well.
* Loved seeing Red and Gold Leader again, was hoping for Wedge and/or Biggs, too.
* The X-Wings impacting on the planetary shield was a shout-out to the described scene in the ROTJ novel, yeah?
* The Ponda Baba and Dr. Evizan (or whatever) cameo was gratuitous and lame.
* So was the Threepio & Artoo cameo, but I would not have minded a less blatant one.
* Were there any nods to the prequels besides the Corusant flashback and the rolling juggernaut in the jailbreak?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:35 PM on December 16, 2016


Guys, I need to see this, but it sounds like it's going to be really overwelming right now, and frighteningly prophetic in the way that Star Wars movies tend to be (I checked-- Empire Strikes Back really did come out the year Reagan was first elected.) Like... my tumblr dash is in equal parts photos of varying graphic content of Syrian White Helmets in Eastern Aleppo, and camera gifs of Vader ripping through those white-helmeted Rebels in the corridor, and it's kind of horrifying. At best it seems like Rogue One is like... something like the Steven Universe episode about how to deal with a racist uncle who is afraid of change, made when all the creators thought Hillary would win this election, and now these weird little missives from an alternate timeline are too frighteningly close to reality. I really want to see this movie but I'm afraid it's gonna wreck me.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 10:11 PM on December 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Was that Mustafar?

Yep. Because, who wouldn't want to be close to the place where their mentor and best friend sliced off their remaining limbs and left them to burn to death in a lava flow?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:31 PM on December 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


I had the same passing thought about Vader's servant guy being Snoke.

Looks like the character's name is Vaneé and he's played by Martin Gordon. (No pic of him on IMDb, but there's one purporting to be him in the 1970s here, though I don't know how accurate that site is.) It also sounds like the novelization/official materials describe the planet as being Mustafar.

Kren Blista-Vanee was a character in the throne room in Jedi. ("Kren Blista-Vanee first appeared in the novelization for Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi in 1983, shortly before appearing in the film itself, portrayed by an unidentified actor. He was barely visible onscreen, but he and his fellow Imperial advisors posed for a promotional picture which has been reused in numerous sources.")

There's an action figure from 2003 too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:01 PM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I loved Saw Gerrera's light Vader wheezing.

Was kind wondering if Chirrut would disappear and leave a pile of clothes behind when he died, not sure if I'm glad or disappointed that he didn't.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 11:10 PM on December 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nah, for a real jedi to do that he has to already be so close to being one with The Force he'd be well beyond needing to chant a dualistic calming prayer.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 PM on December 16, 2016


Entropicamericana, they did say something about Captain Antilles on Yavin - I assumed that was Wedge.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:39 PM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just got home after watching this, lots to chew over.

Technically - I thought it was terrific (Gollum-like Cushing aside, would have worked for a bit but I think they overplayed it), I enjoyed the special effects a lot. The droid and the climatic battle scene were both spectacular. The various worlds looked great and I thought the production design was lovely. It was generally well edited, though I wasn't crazy about the music. Plot-wise, I thought it was okay. Simple, but effective.

However, the characterisation was virtually non-existent for everyone. Why they joined up, why they cared, what they were thinking - with the exception of Cassian we really didn't get to see any of it. I agree is was a total sausage fest for no apparent reason. I was especially puzzled why everyone was listening to Jyn at the rebel council and taking orders from her later etc. She's like a kid, with seemingly no experience in anything and her only connection to the alliance is some genes - they really really undersold her character and experience. I want to see more of her as a hardened criminal who had commanded people before or something. Cassian at least had his little moment at the start and then moral crisis up on the cliff; Jyn had no moral crisis - she sprung into the world fully formed and never really changed. I guess character development is hard when you have no character.

Likewise I enjoyed the snarky android, but it got veerrrrry close to the line to being too much for me.

Everyone else didn't really exist in any meaningful sense, which was a shame.

Still, the positives outweighed the negatives for me. Quite different to The Force Awakens, but I enjoyed both .
posted by smoke at 12:15 AM on December 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also the Vader costume looked like the one my nephew wore for Halloween last year.

OMG yes, I don't know if it was my kid memories playing tricks or what, but I thought the costume looked shite - and wasn't Vader bigger as well, like a head taller than most people?

The helmet at the castle looked ridiculous with its rubber bottom, like the vader equivalent of coming out in a towel. It was distractingly bad, I thought.
posted by smoke at 12:29 AM on December 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


Vader's muumuu.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:34 AM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I will have more thoughts on this later (I want to see it again), but: I liked this a lot!

I think "pacing issues" is a valid complaint. I also think too much CGI Tarkin -- I like the theory, but I wish they'd kept it a bit more off-screen or in reflections. Nonetheless, I had a really good time with this. Not as good as TFA, but a solid movie that I'll be happy if more like it are made.

Right now, probably the biggest issue for me while watching it was the easter eggs / references. There were at least 2-3 too many, to a degree that it got a bit stupid. For someone not as insanely versed in the originals it isn't even noticeable (e.g. my wife, a fan but not a superfan, didn't catch most of them), but for me it got a little grating.
posted by tocts at 5:51 AM on December 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Per a line in ANH, Captain Antilles was R2 and 3PO's last master, and (I think per Episode III) captain of the Tantive IV.

I thought Vader looked fine, and much better than Hayden's emaciated Vader in EIII.

Minor quibble that has bubbled up while thinking about it: Why did the plans have to be kept on a giant car-stereo sized assembly earlier (this was good, it fit with the 70s aesthetic) but fit on the 3x5-sized card once it got to the Mon Cal ship? I always assumed the card that Leia used in the message recording scene ANH was some sort of command / ID / encryption card, not the plans.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:34 AM on December 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why did the plans have to be kept on a giant car-stereo sized assembly earlier (this was good, it fit with the 70s aesthetic) but fit on the 3x5-sized card once it got to the Mon Cal ship?

For the same reason why an old 50GB hard drive is the size of a small paperback book, and a brand-new 50GB flash drive is the size of a postage stamp. Even though technological development seems to have basically plateaued in the SW universe, the data facility was probably already built well before the Empire took control, and probably well before Leia went to the Galactic OfficeMax to pick up a box of 3.5" floppies.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:09 AM on December 17, 2016 [21 favorites]


I mean, this is the Empire. The one they retrieved is the MIL-STD version that is shock-proof, waterproof, EMI mitigated, and designed to last for 25 years.

The one the Alliance was using was the consumer USB drive equivalent.
posted by olinerd at 8:12 AM on December 17, 2016 [43 favorites]


Or maybe those progress bars were showing the conversion from original TIFFs to lossy JPEGs.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 8:14 AM on December 17, 2016 [30 favorites]


ChuraChura, the Antilles mentioned in the convo between Mon Mothma and Bail Organa is Bail Antilles, the captain of the Tantive IV who gets strangle-terrogated by Vader at the beginning of ANH. (Presumably "Bail Antilles" is the SW equivalent of being named John Smith?)
posted by bettafish at 8:32 AM on December 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


Did I hear a line of dialogue in Jedha referring to the Whills?

Yes indeed.

I liked it but I agree that some of the characterization was weak. I also felt like the final scenes were way too abrupt. I get why they did it that way—the protagonists are all dead—but it feels weird, even adjusting cinematic expectations to Star Wars parameters.

I knew nothing at all about Saw prior to going in, and on the way out of the theater I found myself wishing he had gone along with the Rogue team, and maybe wound up as the only survivor. It would have given all the leads a lot more of the juicy interaction and conflict that we only got a hint of: pilot dude could be terrified of him, Force dudes could sneer at his barbarism and cybernetics, etc. Plus, that way, once the mission is over, (1) it makes sense for him to disappear from the Rebellion, which was clearly one of this story's directives—to not leave anybody alive for us to say "Hey where'd so-and-so go" in the OT, and (2) it'd add a bit more pathos to the finale—a way to more concretely acknowledge the leads' sacrifices.

And yeah, I find myself wishing I could still play Battlefront. This is practically "Battlefront: The Movie." When I first heard about this movie I was hoping it would be "Lucasfilm Starfighter Sims: The Movie," but all the same I'm not disappointed in that regard.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:40 AM on December 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


I agree with what everyone said about the pacing problems--it backloads all of the high octane material (although when the battle scene showed up, it was exciting). Jyn Erso's transformation into Joan of Arc also made no sense, although the actress gave it her best shot. CGI!Tarkin struck me as fine work overall, except that something about the eyes seemed off (perhaps the skin around them wasn't mobile enough?); if I hadn't known going in that he was digital, though, I wouldn't have paid as much attention. CGI!Leia, on the other hand, was transparently CGI!Leia.

I figured R2D2 and C3PO would show up just to maintain their track record of appearing in every film.

In terms of characterization, this film has the same problem as the original SW, which is that the droid is much better written than the actual humans. K2 offing the stormtroopers at the end was a good deconstruction of the equivalent scene in SW, where C3PO tricks his and R2's way out of the control room.

Darth Vader's "choke your aspirations" pun struck me as, ah, typical SW-level wordplay, but his final appearance was really chilling.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:58 PM on December 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Did I hear a line of dialogue in Jedha referring to the Whills?

Both Chirrut and Baze are Guardians of the Whills, those who guard the Temple of the Kyber (which stripped of its kyber left them out of a job). (This is from the Visual Guide to Rogue One.)

I knew nothing at all about Saw prior to going in, and on the way out of the theater I found myself wishing he had gone along with the Rogue team, and maybe wound up as the only survivor.

The fifth season of The Clone Wars tells Saw's origins as a partisan rebel, and ah, well, not to spoil anything, but MeFi mail me if you want to learn where information about Saw Gerrera only a year out from Rogue One will be available. Saw has a small role in Catalyst set not that long before the opening of the film.

Per the technology, the Lucasfilm Story Group has come to a position that the technology in Star Wars should generally be technology one would find around the 1940s or 1950s (something to that extant, anyways). Or better put, maybe something a sci-fi writer writing in that time period might think up of.

I'm thinking that there's a fair argument that the guy in Vader's chamber may be Snoke. We were told Snoke has been around, witnessed everything. In the role of serving Vader, he could learn about the Dark Side, not to mention, have that cachet with young Ben Solo as having known his grandfather and tell him the truth, not the "lies" about Vader. That they chose not to name Mustafar out of every planet, seems to put a spotlight on it, so they can reveal it in Episode VIII. Where better than to have Ben Solo learn the ways of the Dark Side than in the castle which belonged to his grandfather? As I mentioned above, Rian Johnson was thanked, so he played some role in input for the film. The timing is just right to establish a background which will be revealed a year from now.
posted by Atreides at 1:07 PM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


The continual complaint that the characters are thinly drawn make me eyeroll so hard. Rogue One is both a war film and a heist film. Did people need intricate backstories for the Dirty Dozen or Ocean's Eleven? I think you need backstory of the lead (which we got more than enough of for Jyn) and everyone else had their talents displayed before they were meaningfully deployed. That's the Dirty Dozen. That's Ocean's Eleven.

I think Jyn's backstory is laid on with a pretty heavy hand. The recurrence of "stardust" was just too much.

And while some of the cameos annoyed me, what I love about this film is that it foreshadows things we already know. It's such a pair with A New Hope, but like a dark reflection. Jyn is almost Leia; they both have two fathers, one who works for the Empire (Galen, Vader) and one for the Rebellion (Saw, Bail Organa). Saw is more machine now than man, same as Vader. Jyn gives a speech about hope, Leia has a one-word cameo and then rushes off to star in "A New Hope". It's all pretty neat.

Given the reshoots and, it seems, so many changes - the fact this film has a clear vision of what it is is pretty remarkable. And the fact Lucasfilm got away with killing everyone off at the end, that's pretty remarkable.

I'm hoping future standalone films won't be so beholden to past canon, but I liked this one. For a film where you go in knowing the outcome, there's a few solid surprises in there.
posted by crossoverman at 3:38 PM on December 17, 2016 [35 favorites]


I didn't hate it, but I didn't really like it :(

I don't think anyone has mentioned this here, but I was struck very early on by the score, in that it sounded like a cheap knockoff Star Wars score. It stuck out to me throughout the film in a bad way. I watched a youtube review where the reviewer mentioned that the score was composed in a few weeks, and so considering that, he said, it was actually pretty good. Well, that doesn't make me like it any more. The "Rogue One" title card looked really off, and that visual combined with the music made for a very jarring moment to me.

I thought K2 was a great character. Unfortunately, I really didn't care about any of the other characters, and their deaths felt pretty meaningless. The blind guy had some cool visual moments, but I found his mantra super annoying. The pacing felt off, especially at the beginning, and I was bothered by the location cards popping up towards the beginning, something that's never happened in a Star Wars film.

CGI Tarkin looked... pretty good, but was way overused. It would've been great if it had been subtle. Why oh why did they have to make him a main character? I also thought Vader's first scene with Krennic was awful. The scenery looked fake/goofy/low-budget, with too much fog machine, Vader looked like a cosplayer, he didn't sound right, and his dialogue was silly.

Bumping into Dr. Evazan/Ponda Baba was silly and unnecessary. I didn't care for the inclusion of the old Red/Gold leaders, either. The edit in Red Leader's line, "Starting our attack run" / "on the shield generator" felt awkward. I thought Leia at the end looked impressive and was fine, but also unnecessary. I saw someone on Twitter say that this film was good because it stands on its own, outside the original trilogy, and couldn't disagree more -- it ends by directly leading up to the first shots of A New Hope!

The "war room"/battle planning scene towards the end was bad, too, as was the one in The Force Awakens. Really cringey when some guy from offscreen yelled "What exactly is she proposing?" Both ANH and ROTJ had non-shitty battle-planning scenes, the two most recent films had them as necessary beats so we could get to more action.

All in all I just feel like this is a story that didn't need to be told. There are lots of interesting things to explore in the Star Wars universe, many of which have been delved into by various EU media over the years -- this film seems to exist to fill in a plot hole in the original trilogy that really didn't need filling.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:41 PM on December 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


On the other hand, I thought Giacchino's score was amazing. Some of his best work.
posted by crossoverman at 3:44 PM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


My main complaint was that when the rebels land on the planet to go infiltrate the data center, Jyn puts on some Imperial whatnot garb - jet black and with what looks like two swords' hilts sticking out of the back. In several shots her head is framed perfectly between them with a light background behind, throwing everything into stark relief.

... and then later she takes off that outfit and nothing ever comes of it. I spent literal minutes waiting to see her pull these ... I dunno, billy clubs? laser sticks? literal swords? off her back and start fighting.

The point is: if that was my main complaint about the movie then I must have had a good time.
posted by komara at 3:44 PM on December 17, 2016 [18 favorites]


I have to register my nerd-rage over the abuse of hyperspace. You have to get out out of a gravity well before you use it, and you can't change course in hyperspace. You jump to your next jump point, recalculate, and move one.

Other than that, I loved it!
posted by vibrotronica at 3:55 PM on December 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


... and then later she takes off that outfit and nothing ever comes of it. I spent literal minutes waiting to see her pull these ... I dunno, billy clubs? laser sticks? literal swords? off her back and start fighting.

Them were just hand held landing lights for the shuttle, she'd taken the uniform from the Imperial ground crew guy. Yeah, I was originally thinking she was going to go to town baton style with them. You can buy the figurine here!

We also didn't get that shot of her standing in that tunnel. They passed through the tunnel on the way to the storage room, but not that shot.
posted by Atreides at 4:00 PM on December 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


I saw it as part of a technology company's promotion, so I was primed to see IT-related story geatures -- but having a peak event takr place inside a giant tape backup library made me laugh out loud.

That aside, and the weirdly mottled skin in Yarkin's face, and Sax taking hits of air like Frank in Blue Velvet, and a lot of people getting very killed, I had a ball.

Better than TFA, too, I would agree.

The ship battles were great. I liked the touch of having a star destroyer drop out of hyperspace, and several rebel ships splatting into its shields like bugs hitting a windshield.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:35 PM on December 17, 2016 [9 favorites]


24 hours later, as I've thought it through, the cut I'd like to see (not "perfect" but just "fixes a bunch of little things I'd like fixed") is basically:

- Remove the encounter with Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan. (way too fanservice-y)

- Re-cut the Vader / Krennic encounter to take out that godawful hand gesture and pun. (you can still have the force choke, just not the super camp factor).

- Re-cut the scene where they leave on their mission to get to the "Rogue One" callsign faster. (as-is it's kinda cringey like bad improv)

- Get CGI Tarkin some blemish remover or something, because he's supposed to be pre-Episode IV Tarkin and yet seems to have developed pre-cancerous moles or something.

- When they arrive on the beach planet and there's a giant dish atop the building they're stealing information from, cut the voiceover part explaining the significance of the dish. (way too hamfistedly foreshadowing)

- Right before shit gets real on the beach, when the stormtroopers are walking on the beach, cut the audio of them talking about speeder models. (again, way too fanservice-y)

Being the person I am I'm sure I'll come up with more, but while I acknowledge all sorts of other things that could be improved, these specific things are the ones that stood out not as "eh, not the choice I would have made" and instead more like "ugh, please don't ruin this movie for me".
posted by tocts at 7:04 PM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh oh oh and the hammerhead corvette shoving the disabled star destroyer into the other one. Hnnnnnggggg.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:05 PM on December 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have to register my nerd-rage over the abuse of hyperspace. You have to get out out of a gravity well before you use it, and you can't change course in hyperspace. You jump to your next jump point, recalculate, and move one.

Well that had been the system used, but we have JJ Binks to thank for the new system. Now you can loiter in hyperspace and then just drop out whenever you want to ala TFA battle over Laser Planet. Also, jumping directly into a gravity well as Han did when he jumped directly into Laser Planet's atmosphere. So apparently the old system has been thrown out the window because.....? reasons? Lazy film making? I don't know.

As far as the movie, it is so much better than TFA. The first act is a bit clunky. The second act was ok, but the third act totally made up for any weaknesses that had come before. I agree with people saying Vader was off. For me it was the neck part of his mask. I don't know if it was the lighting, but it was sticking out like a sore thumb. Finally a proper fleet engagement in a Star Wars movie! We haven't had one since ROTJ, and this one was really cool.

Anyways, I was very pleased with this first anthology movie. I hope the Han Solo flick can turn out at least this good. What I am really hoping for is an anthology film where they remake seven samurai with Obi wan on Tatooine having to recruit six scoundrels to save a poor village from pirates or sand people.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:14 PM on December 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


The continual complaint that the characters are thinly drawn make me eyeroll so hard. Rogue One is both a war film and a heist film. Did people need intricate backstories for the Dirty Dozen or Ocean's Eleven? I think you need backstory of the lead (which we got more than enough of for Jyn) and everyone else had their talents displayed before they were meaningfully deployed. That's the Dirty Dozen. That's Ocean's Eleven.

Huh. It didn't feel like a heist film at all. There was none of the coolness of Ocean's Eleven and the Dirty Dozen doesn't really hold up that well.

Sure, they were trying to steal some plans, but it the most convoluted way that seemed more about Jin dealing with her daddy issues while Dad was creepily hinting as Jin as the love of his life. Sure, in a fatherly way, but a strange one. Hello, what about your wife, Jin's mom, did she matter at all to anyone? Clearly not. Why is that?

Nobody sold their character as believable or that their bonds were anything other than lines in a script.

The film doesn't mesh up seemlessly with A New Hope, it just opens more questions, such as one Mon Montha and company seem united in ANH, but divided here. It's as if this film never happened and doesn't matter to A New Hope.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:56 PM on December 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm really intrigued by what the shape of the movie was before the reshoots. I'm guessing it was more cartoony and felt false. It ended up as a real war movie that doesn't pull its punches, even if that makes it feel less Star Warsy.

I'm sad we have to wait two whole years for a Lobot cameo.
posted by rikschell at 7:56 PM on December 17, 2016


Waiting calmly for the mushroom cloud on the beach was very affecting but also in combination with current events probably gonna give me nightmares. I was in general way too emotionally wrapped up in the sadness of fighting an implacable power against terrible odds and dying not knowing if anything you did actually made a difference.

Mads Mikkelson was great.

I would also liked to have seen a lot more ladies.
posted by emjaybee at 7:58 PM on December 17, 2016 [18 favorites]


I think the fact of the Death Star could be a pretty strong factor in reunifying the rebellion.

When the hell did I become a Star Wars nerd?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 PM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just got back and liked it quite a bit. I'll agree that the characters other than Jyn weren't very wall drawn but they were well acted. The only thing that really bothered me was that Jyn went from this obscure person from outside the rebellion to someone that a whole squad are willing to defy orders to follow on a suicide mission without much transition.

Did anyone else think of Melancholia at the end?
posted by octothorpe at 8:22 PM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


It was the kyber crystal around Jyn's neck, of course!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:26 PM on December 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


During the fight around the starport, Cassian's troops reminded me of footage from "Band of Brothers" and "Saving Private Ryan" -- I think it was the helmets and the running with those long arms.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:59 PM on December 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was pretty disappointed at how easily Forrest Whitaker's character decided to bow out. I was massively in love with the force-sensitive guy-with-a-stick and his buddy, the force-sensitive LIVING MACHINE GUN NEST.

Also, K2 was creepy and sinister and uncomfortably powerful, you were constantly questioning where he would stand in the end, until all doubt was removed.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:08 PM on December 17, 2016 [9 favorites]


Someone up thread complained that the original trilogy had references to other movies and this doesn't. I really doubt that's true. There are probably lots of others, but the scene at the end where they're on the beach waiting to be engulfed in the mushroom cloud felt like a reference to the last scene of KISS ME DEADLY.
posted by chrchr at 9:46 PM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow, tough room. I liked it a lot, not least of which because it was a very different SW movie from all its predecessors; the only things that really took me out of the movie were CGI Tarkin and the lack of female figures aside from Jyn and that one pilot in the action scenes. They could have salted the commando team with a few; I think there was only one alien in the bunch, they could have thrown one or two more in there as well.

But these are relatively minor quibbles. As it happens, the first thing I did when I came home was fire up A New Hope, and if you think that the characters in R1 are thinly drawn, oh ho ho. R1 did a lot with the fact that its primary characters weren't space paladins who were in danger of flipping out and replacing the despots they were fighting if they strayed from their Lawful Good alignment even once. R1 may have put most of the best character development onto the robot (again, what ANH basically did--it seemed like C3PO had about half the dialogue in the entire movie), but the whole interplay of why people do what they do and how the moral and ethical decisions of others affects that is really good.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:51 PM on December 17, 2016 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I also really liked it. Thought the characters were great; the droid was FANTASTIC, and our blind force-sensitive friend illustrated the way the force is WEIRD for non-force people. The first act was definitely off on pacing, but had some really lovely Space Landscapes, which I appreciated. And man, that last battle scene was awesome. The rebel fleet dropping out of hyperspace made my heart jump.

The early street battle in Jeddah seemed like a direct reference to Fallujah. A 'holy city' with a bunch of extra-militant rebels dealing with an occupying force via street ambushes, hm! In fact, I *think* I heard a storm trooper refer to the rebels as 'terrorists' somewhere in there, which was excellent.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:08 AM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


(See also, this War is Boring post on the Rebels treading the line between terrorists and freedom fighters, and Saw Gerrara's torture scenes..)
posted by kaibutsu at 12:11 AM on December 18, 2016


I liked it way more than TFA, and I found it the most affecting Star Wars story since Knights Of The Old Republic. It also underlined how tired I am of the Skywalkers... The wider world is much more interesting. K2 reminded me of a more ambiguous HK-47, and it's nice to see a smart droid with some unpredictability and terrifying attributes. Kinda reminded me of some of The Culture droids. If anything this movie made me think film is maybe at the point they could do justice to a Culture novel now...
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:19 AM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


The film doesn't mesh up seemlessly with A New Hope, it just opens more questions, such as one Mon Montha and company seem united in ANH, but divided here.

Mon Mothma isn't even in A New Hope, so I'm not really seeing your point.
posted by crossoverman at 1:58 AM on December 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


Some essay questions I thought up, and honestly have no answer to:

1. How does modern Hollywood produce ethical war films?

2. "Why be an activist/rebel" and does Cloud Atlas or Rogue One make the better case, comparatively?

3. Is the repeated redemption theme around the main characters, their supports, and their foils psychologically realistic? How does this message apply to modern life, for example the viewing demographic (bonus points: as contrasted to the demographic of the main movies)?
posted by polymodus at 2:37 AM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I may have more to say later, but I'll add my love for K-2SO. As someone brought up on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy I couldn't help but see him as Marvin but with his depression subroutines swapped out for sociopathy.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:54 AM on December 18, 2016 [11 favorites]


I thought K2's voice was by David Mitchell, which would have been awesome...but probably it's for the best that it wasn't.
posted by wenestvedt at 4:09 AM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


That former Jedi guard with the vacuum on his back looked like Mickey Rourke in "Iron Man 2" when he attacks Iron Man during the car race.

(I think I need to find a way to engage more deeply with movies as they are and not get distracted like this.)
posted by wenestvedt at 4:40 AM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


I definitely thought of Marvin too, Major Clanger!
posted by h00py at 5:19 AM on December 18, 2016


After thinking about it overnight, I'm amazed at the boldness of the ending. I was certain that they'd find some last minute way to rescue the two leads just because that's what happens in Hollywood movies but nope. They just sit down and hold hands while the blast engulfs them. They don't even really know if they succeeded or not, they just know that they did their best and calmly accept their fate.
posted by octothorpe at 5:41 AM on December 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


Reshoot info
posted by rikschell at 6:19 AM on December 18, 2016 [10 favorites]


Reshoot info

"Jyn’s troublemaker backstory is mostly removed from the finished film. Her responses are more antagonistic and somewhat snarky. We had heard that the reshoots reworked the Jyn character to make her less arrogant and abrasive and more empathetic, and it appears this is true."

Oh man, I really wish we had gotten that Jyn, as what appeared was a fairly blank slate. The trailer implied there were big conflicts going on with Jyn, in terms of her having sympathies with the Imperials perhaps.

That reshoot info link shows that a lot of stuff changed from the trailers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 AM on December 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


I don't know. The movie we saw flirted pretty hard with condoning terrorism. Crossing that line is not where they wanted to go. I don't understand why Darth Vader is so beloved, and we don't want people to be rooting for the First Order next year.

Also, I wonder if some of the cut Saw material was to free it up from his TV backstory. One of the many problems with AotC was the General Grevious stuff made no sense unless you watched the TV show (maybe it made no sense anyway). I liked that the movie was accessible without having to read the comics or novels or TV shows.

Anyway, it's nice to have a fifth Star Wars movie.
posted by rikschell at 7:08 AM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


So are we all supposed to infer that the Tantive IV was docked to the Rebel flagship during the entire battle or did I miss something? Either way, this puts the beginning of ANH in a whole new light.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:40 AM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't know if we can be sure that it was docked there for the entire battle, but Bail Organa makes a vague reference to giving the mission to Leia earlier in the film, "I would trust her with my life" or something like that. He also mentions Captain Antilles, who is captain of Tantive IV.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:57 AM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm really intrigued by what the shape of the movie was before the reshoots. I'm guessing it was more cartoony and felt false. It ended up as a real war movie that doesn't pull its punches, even if that makes it feel less Star Warsy.

If anything, I think it was probably the reverse, that Gareth Edwards dropped a pretty dark and realistic war movie on their laps and the executives worried it wasn't "Star Wars" enough. My thought on that had to do with the loss of Alexandre Desplat as the composer, who I can only guess left for "work conflict" because the tone of the movie had changed and he didn't want to alter his work to accommodate a potentially lighter version. (This is entirely my speculation!)


(See also, this War is Boring post on the Rebels treading the line between terrorists and freedom fighters, and Saw Gerrara's torture scenes..

The place of war in Star Wars has really been two fold. You have the idea of 'just war' which is very much an American perspective on war when we look at how the United States considers its involvement in the First and Second World Wars. Then we have the warning of war as a political tool which undermines democracies. Throughout both of these, war is rarely glorified, often characterized by death and sacrifice, and for the latter, also, unnecessary death. Until Rogue One, the 'just war' perceptive was seen in the original trilogy, The Force Awakens, and Rebels, while the other was found in the prequel trilogy and The Clone Wars. Rogue One more so picks up on a new running idea that even just rebellions can have actors who go to far in the form of terrorism. Touched upon in both Rebels and in Claudia Gray's Bloodlines, Saw Gerrera becomes a warning that there are limitations on what can be condoned under the banner of a just war.

Saw's evolution from partisan freedom fighter on Onderon as a young man to mangled leader of a ruthless rebel cell is capped with his own recognition of how far lost he has become in his fight against the Empire. His tactics, which place innocents in danger, serve as Star Wars underlining there's a difference between what the rebels do in their fight against the Empire and what terrorists do to further their goals. Saw is rejected by the rebels as not one of them, not during the fight against the Empire, but even afterward. Through this, I think the franchise is delineating between terrorists and rebels.

And well, of course, if you firmly believe in the Empire's goals and methods, then no matter what, the rebel alliance is a terrorist network. ;)
posted by Atreides at 10:07 AM on December 18, 2016 [9 favorites]




The article about the reshoots is really interesting. It seems like almost all of the trailer material was cut, weirdly. I'm sad Krennic's line to Vader “The power that we are dealing with here is immeasurable!” was cut (at least I think it was?). Seems like Vader would have a good comeback to that re: the power of the Force.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:08 PM on December 18, 2016


There's still a (very minor) story to tell between Leia's ship escaping and Vader's destroyer catching back up to it over Tatooine. Gaps can always be used for insertions and what not.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:18 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man, I wouldn't call the lack of women a minor quibble. It straight-up annoyed me when all of the engineers were men, and then when that squad stepped forward at Rebel HQ, the movie lost me hard for a good ten or fifteen minutes. There's just no excuse at all. I even tried to play that mindgame of deciding that the Empire was just misogynistic, too, but that went straight out the window. It made me mad.
posted by lauranesson at 1:59 PM on December 18, 2016 [30 favorites]


Here's what gets me about Rogue One, it validates the very worst of that George Lucas was doing when tinkering with the stories already laid down.

It's such a tired joke about how easy it was to blow up the Death Star, so lets make an entire film to explain away bad writing from forty years ago. That exhaust port was there on purpose, sure buddy.

Everybody hated Anakin, so give us ten seconds of Darth Vader rampaging like Anakin to finally give episodes 1-3 some payoff. That line about choking on your ambition was dumb but it was exactly what Anakin would say. This movie embraced the Lucas' spastic brat, not evil wizard of episode 4.

This movie was an exercise in ret-conning.
posted by peeedro at 2:44 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


But it was so much better retconning than Episodes 1-3 that you want to give it a free pass!
posted by rikschell at 3:02 PM on December 18, 2016 [16 favorites]


This movie embraced the Lucas' spastic brat, not evil wizard of episode 4.

Maybe in the prequel movies, but not in The Clone Wars. Rogue One was totally Clone Wars Anakin.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:13 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I loved this movie so much. Yeah, the pacing was a bit off, especially near the beginning but otherwise - all the thumbs up.

It sort of dawned on me about 2/3rd of the way through that everyone was going to die. I couldn't believe they would go that far, but they did and I am so impressed that they did.

I am in no way a big action person and I loved the action spacey war fighty stuff at the end of the film, I was so tense! There were actual stakes!

I didn't grow up with the originals, and while I enjoyed them, this is the film that made me feel invested in that original trilogy story. I went home and watched A New Hope again as a result.

So, so, so much love.
posted by liquorice at 4:31 PM on December 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


The thinly drawn characters complaint about Rogue One is really funny to me because that has always been my major issues with Star Wars in general - I never found any of the characters particularly compelling or interesting - they're all archetypes. Rogue One fits neatly into that theme.
posted by liquorice at 4:34 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is the first sequel to the original Star Wars which really gave me the kind of feels I had from seeing the original Star Wars in a theatre when I was 13 years old (and no, it didn't have an episode number and it wasn't called A New Hope, I was there goddammit).

Empire was well done but it was an interquel with no real ending of its own, and Jedi betrayed us with plush toys instead of Wookies. The prequels were the prequels, and TFA was a much better movie than most of the others but suffered greatly from JJ Abrams' inability to understand that the Universe is more than 50 miles across.

Of course Rogue One couldn't drop my jaw with all that new stuff I'd never seen before as Star Wars did, but it did show me new combinations of things. It was a true war movie unblinking in its depiction of death; the rest of the movies are a bit sterile considering they are about weapons of planetary-scale destruction. It gave a sense I hadn't really felt before about what war would look like at a local and personal level with the kind of weapons that exist in the Star Wars galaxy. It is probably not a film for preteens for this reason. But that actually makes it a new and more interesting thing, because we haven't really seen this world portrayed with that kind of brutal physical honesty before.

If Star Wars was a Western I'd say Rogue One owes more to films like The Guns of Navarone. That the good guys all die without even knowing whether they were successful is the kind of ballsy realistic move I'd like to see more often. Sometimes heroes die unsung. Maybe even usually.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:52 PM on December 18, 2016 [22 favorites]


Wait, were C-3PO or RD-22 even aware that they worked for the Rebellion in ANH?
posted by Apocryphon at 5:27 PM on December 18, 2016


R2 was, threepio not so much.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:42 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


LUKE
You got a lot of carbon scoring here.
It looks like you boys have seen a
lot of action.

THREEPIO
With all we've been through, sometimes
I'm amazed we're in as good condition
as we are, what with the Rebellion
and all.

LUKE
You know of the Rebellion against
the Empire?

THREEPIO
That's how we came to be in your
service, if you take my meaning,
sir.

LUKE
Have you been in many battles?

THREEPIO
Several, I think. Actually, there's
not much to tell. I'm not much more
than an interpreter, and not very
good at telling stories. Well, not
at making them interesting, anyway.

posted by phunniemee at 5:44 PM on December 18, 2016 [18 favorites]


I watched this with a blind friend, and we both audibly drew in a breath when he showed up. He was a very offensive blind trope--the whole "magical ability erases disability." I mean, stock standard, but still.

I'm not closely connected to any blind people, so it's likely I'm not as sensitive to this issue as I should be, but when we encountered that character, I immediately thought about the prominent theme in Episode IV that the Force is best able to assist Luke when he can't see (the opaque helmet, turning off his targeting computer) and I thought it made sense that a blind person with some Force sensitivity would be able to use that. I get how in the context of other blind characters in SFF it can be frustrating, but on its own it's a move that makes sense in-universe.

On other points, I agree with a lot of you. I found the CGI terribly distracting, to the point where I wish they had just recast Tarkin and only showed Leia in silhouette. The first first shot of Tarkin--from behind, with his face reflected in the window--was really cool. If that had been his only appearance, I would have loved it. But every time we saw him clearly, I was completely in the uncanny valley.

Also agree that Vader seemed off--the costume wasn't right, and that should have been something they could do easily. I really don't know how you mess that up. But, yeah, he was cool at the end.

But: really, really glad they let all the characters die. They had to, because it would have been really glaring when none of them show up in the original trilogy, so it was an easier call than usual, but it's still outside the Hollywood norm enough that I was afraid they wouldn't do it.

The best thing about this movie that that it makes Episode IV better. The Death Star was always ridiculously easy to blow up, and the idea that a rebel sympathizer designed it to be that way is as good an explanation as any. It just would have been a much better movie if the engineer in question was Jyn's brilliant mom, and it was her dad who died in a foolish rescue attempt.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:52 PM on December 18, 2016 [10 favorites]


The best thing about this movie that that it makes Episode IV better. The Death Star was always ridiculously easy to blow up, and the idea that a rebel sympathizer designed it to be that way is as good an explanation as any.

Now we just need another film to explain why the second death star was so easy to blow up (and also the third).
posted by dng at 6:03 PM on December 18, 2016 [7 favorites]


Now we just need another film to explain why the second death star was so easy to blow up (and also the third).

Nah, they kept basing future design on the original one and never figured out where the subtle weakness was. I'm going to go with that. Catastrophic technical debt.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:13 PM on December 18, 2016 [20 favorites]


The thinly drawn characters complaint about Rogue One is really funny to me because that has always been my major issues with Star Wars in general - I never found any of the characters particularly compelling or interesting - they're all archetypes.

But the archetypes of the original trilogy are at least recognizable as something like character. Luke is the naive innocent on the Campbellian hero's journey, Leia is strong-willed and high-minded, Han grows from nearly pure self-interest to being part of something larger, Ben plays the Merlin role of the sage advisor to the young would-be hero.

Quick, tell me something about the character of Padmé Amidala.

---

Grand Moff CGI was distracting only because of how much screen time was devoted to the gamble of giving a major supporting role to a man 22 years dead. There was something about the lifeless eyes that put me in mind of the vampire/zombies from I Am Legend. Still, Tarkin came off better than Leia's cameo: I think 2016 CGI is better at rendering a sexagenarian actor who was always slightly waxy anyway than someone portrayed by a dewy nineteen-year-old.

And there was something to be said for the willingness of the movie to have essentially everyone with more than six lines of dialogue taking a dirt nap by the end: it is simultaneously necessary to forestall questions about "where were all these people during ANH?", to demonstrate how brutal war can be, and to set itself apart from every other franchise. I agree that the reshoots seemed to strip away too much of Jin's persona, but the end result was still passable.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:28 PM on December 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


Guy Henry, the actor who presumably motion captured Grand Moff Tarkin.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:56 PM on December 18, 2016


"It's not a problem if you don't look up."
Death Star appears in the sky.

I went in with modest expectations and really enjoyed this movie. War, beach, death - Gave me Saving Private Ryan flashbacks. But the movie would have been very different if the Empire had better network bandwidth, eh? (Us Time Warner customers can sympathize.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:57 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't think I've seen Jimmy Smits in anything except for Season 7 of The West Wing, so my brain definitely interpreted his character in Rogue One as Space President Santos.

In one of the many big explosion scenes, you hear some bystander's head go crunch as it hits a beam. I've never seen anything like it, and it really drove home the scale of the slaughter in this movie.
posted by coppermoss at 6:58 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else parse K2SO as a chemical formula in addition to a droid name?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:06 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


Did anyone else parse K2SO as a chemical formula in addition to a droid name?

I can't hear it without appending a 4, and then wondering what the MSDS for potassium sulfoxide would say.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:15 PM on December 18, 2016 [7 favorites]


and then wondering what the MSDS for potassium sulfoxide would say.

I have been told I can be very irritating.
posted by phunniemee at 7:34 PM on December 18, 2016 [15 favorites]


The early street battle in Jeddah seemed like a direct reference to Fallujah. A 'holy city' with a bunch of extra-militant rebels dealing with an occupying force via street ambushes, hm!

I had the same thought as well. The Storm Troopers patrolling along side a hovertank, with civilian looking militia getting into position on the rooftops looks like something out of Generation Kill rather than Star Wars. Also the whole scene where Imperial command was watching Jedha get blown up with a "precise" test firing of the Death Star laser on a town (instead of a planet) reminded me of satellite footage showing smart weapons or drones targeting specific buildings. Those scenes and the man-portable rocket launchers (which I've never seen in Star Wars) seems to really bring the universe into the wars of the 21st century.

The filmmakers seem to be hinting that the Empire and the United States are not that dissimilar. So, Bob Iger saying that the film is not making a political statement is kind of a disservice to it and untrue. Any good sci-fi does make oblique comparisons to contemporary events. And I also find the whole thing a little ironic since it's always seemed to me the Empire is definitely more popular and iconic among the public in terms of merchandise, toys, and costumes.
posted by FJT at 8:03 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


I give it a solid meh, mostly for convoluted nonsense plot and disposable characters.

Also the empire must lose a lot of people to workplace accidents, not having discovered the concept of handrails for gangways crossing vast chasms.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:21 PM on December 18, 2016 [9 favorites]


(And oh my god, that satellite dish control panel hanging out over like a 10k foot drop for no particular reason whatsoever? Call OSHA.)
posted by kaibutsu at 10:00 PM on December 18, 2016 [16 favorites]


In whatever the hell galaxy those weirdos are in they somehow traded sensible computer systems and automation for lightspeed travel.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:13 PM on December 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm as big a Star Wars nerd as anyone, and I'm really surprised about the number of comments about Vader's suit. I did not notice anything odd about it whatsoever, and I love looking all over the screen in Star Wars films to check out all the background/prop/costume details.

Nah, they kept basing future design on the original one and never figured out where the subtle weakness was. I'm going to go with that. Catastrophic technical debt.


Yeah, my read is:
- The weakness was NOT the exhaust port. The weakness was the reactor's inherent instability/proclivity to catastrophically explode from a relatively weak shock-wave.
- Galen perhaps intended that internal sabotage would be used - slap a brick of C4 on the side of the reactor core, for example. Or at least, he couldn't add like a "SHOOT HERE" tube, the best he could sneak past his boss was a dodgy reactor.
- The exhaust port was a lucky fluke added by a different part of the design team who assumed that it would be fine for it to lead direct to the reactor, because the reactor was robust and could handle any explosives small enough to fit in the exhaust port.
- After DS1 is destroyed, the new design team assume that the exhaust port was the flaw, so they removed that, but left the weakness in reactor design in because no-one knew about it.
- OR... they knew the reactor was vulnerable to small shock-waves, and so a) removed the exhaust ports, and b) put shielding around the reactor*, because without the brilliant physicist Galen, they have no idea how to alter the reactor design.

(*During the DS2 attack Wedge destroys the shield generator so Lando can target the reactor**).
(**Speaking of which, my friend commented after the movie "it's always about destroying the shield generator in Star Wars, isn't it?")
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:22 AM on December 19, 2016 [28 favorites]


Wow! For the first time I'm excited about the potential for Disney Star Wars films! Rogue One was really good, the first truly good Star Wars film since... Geez, maybe Empire Strikes Back? Return of the Jedi is always going to be a classic because of where it sits in the series and what it pays off, and Revenge of The Sith had it's good moments, but Rogue One is the first film in a long time that is genuinely good as a film, and not as part of something larger.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:43 AM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


The thinly drawn characters complaint about Rogue One is really funny to me because that has always been my major issues with Star Wars in general - I never found any of the characters particularly compelling or interesting - they're all archetypes.

Maybe so many of us are reacting this way because The Force Awakens raised the characterization bar. That cast was not "just archetypes." The very worst you could say is "it wasn't so much a matter of TFA raising the characterization bar as it was the acting bar, on account of its undeniably excellent casting, and that what we perceive as characterization is actually just mystery, questions about these characters deliberately left unanswered because there must be sequels." But even THAT is a step up from the OT, which, yes, was overall just archetypes.

And R1 did have some pretty solid characterization, especially when you consider they were never gonna get three movies to build it. For instance:

- "It's not a problem if you don't look up." What a great line.
- The Galen hologram was inherently compelling, and not just because it's Mads.
- And Vader's bad pun is…I dunno, acceptable to me, I guess? He demonstrated some humor in ANH. I mean, when Krennic was being all "So you'll tell the Emperor that *I* deserve all the credit, right? Right?", all I could think was, "Oh, dude. No. You have no real concept of who you're talking to, do you?" So Vader had to treat him like a punk-ass.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:28 AM on December 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


My biggest problem with The Force Awakens was the characters. They were so bland and uninteresting, by the end of the movie I was hoping none of them would make it off Starkiller Base. Episode VIII needs to do some serious heavy lifting to inject likeability into that bunch. And honestly, I don't think there's anything that can make Kylo Ren a decent villain at this point. He's got to come back, but he'd be better used as a foil for some bigger bad.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:45 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


And honestly, I don't think there's anything that can make Kylo Ren a decent villain at this point.

Darth Fuckboy 2: The Return of Darth Fuckboy

posted by phunniemee at 3:51 AM on December 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


And Vader's bad pun is…I dunno, acceptable to me, I guess? He demonstrated some humor in ANH.
Apology accepted, Captain Needa...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:11 AM on December 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


> (And oh my god, that satellite dish control panel hanging out over like a 10k foot drop for no particular reason whatsoever? Call OSHA.)

At least it had railings
posted by noneuclidean at 5:12 AM on December 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


Oh, on characterization...

--I've been in this rebellion since I was six years old. You're not the only one who has lost everything.

That line very economically tells us everything we need to know not just about Cassian, but about the entire Alliance. Think about it, this is the fifth movie depicting the Alliance and it's the first time we've really gotten that perspective. These aren't just college students who dropped out to go adventuring (which, let's face it, is pretty much what Luke Skywalker wanted to be until Uncle Owen's farm got torched). These are people who have suffered and lost and banded together as much in terror as in anger. See also...

--We have to scatter our forces!

This touches a deeper implication about the Empire, which is that they didn't just wake up one day and think "Hey, a pushbutton planet killer would be really cool!" They've been doing things similar to the destruction of Alderaan all along, it's just been more expensive and less complete. Most of the cities burned to the ground in WW2 got that way by conventional firebombing, not atomic bombs. And the Romans didn't even need that to destroy Carthage.

But the desire for such a superweapon suggests that you've already been doing it the hard way and that this isn't going to be a completely new modality for you. That is a message that didn't come through very clearly in the other movies.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:44 AM on December 19, 2016 [31 favorites]


Nobody minded that they re-cast mon mothma, she was great. Cast tarkin.

Or just use a hologram. The fidelity totally would have worked via a hologram.
posted by French Fry at 6:07 AM on December 19, 2016 [10 favorites]


Maybe so many of us are reacting this way because The Force Awakens raised the characterization bar.

Indeed, that would be me. Looking back on R1, those early scenes of Galen, mom who doesn't even merit a name, and young Jyn, it's all very rote and by the numbers. There's literally nothing there that didn't surprise and plenty that made me go "wtf, that makes no sense."

It would have worked better if we had seen the family being a family for a few minutes to give them characterization. Something like trying to wake Jyn up or getting her to do chores. Jyn resists('cause she's rebel), mom-with-no-name argues with her, but in a gentle adult-parent way, then Galen steps in to try and smooth things over, and then there's a three person dynamic revealing character as they work things out.

Mom-with-no-name's death didn't mean much. Yeah, I raging on the no-name thing, even though I think Krennic mentioned it once, but damn if I can remember what it was, she was such a non-entity, we never see Galen or Jyn mourn her.

Why wouldn't she want to go live in luxury while Galen seemingly does "good work". She and him joined the Empire for a reason, what was it? Why'd they break from it? A simple comment from her as she has the gun on Evil dude would have done wonders to reveal that, something like "We've taken part in enough, especially Galen, we want no more. I won't let you take him back to that." That would have told a lot.

What was Jyn's motivation, character wise? I guess she just wanted to see her dad again, make some sort of peace, prove he wasn't all bad? All very understandable, but I didn't feel it, you know. The film just threw up the "broken family" trope and expected that to just sell it, without actually showing us anything.

Much could be said all the rest of the characters. Out of all them only K2's death struck me as real, as if an actual character I cared about perished. Everyone else was pretty by the numbers, where you more or less saw it coming. It's a great storytelling move that all the heroes died at the end, but again, just didn't care about them to be bothered by. It was just heroes what we the audience expected them to do. Heroism come from rising above that and doing the right thing, even when it costs.

Similarly, Cassian Andor's not shooting Galen doesn't really add up. When I thought about it, could infer that he was falling for Jyn and came to believe her, maybe based on his past of "losing everything," but nothing in the actual movie told me why a top level assassin, who has no problem killing, wouldn't kill the seemingly obvious threat at the first chance he could. Sure, the movie required that he not do it, and by this point we the audience know it wouldn't have done anything, but the character doesn't know that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:35 AM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Rogue One is the first film in a long time that is genuinely good as a film, and not as part of something larger.

I'm not quite that gung ho about it, but I thing Rogue One definitely demonstrated the potential for movies outside the established characters. I would love to see something that doesn't connect to the main storyline in any direct way at all. Instead, we're getting a young Han film, but maybe a long long time from now they'll do something truly unexpected with the SW universe.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:35 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mom-with-no-name's death didn't mean much. Yeah, I raging on the no-name thing

Lyra Erso. Galen says it, Krennick says it, I think even Saw might say it.
posted by French Fry at 6:44 AM on December 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


She is, in fact, one of only three named female characters in the entire movie. Her, Mon Mothma, and Jyn.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:10 AM on December 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


(Sorry - one of four named female characters. The woman at the round table who doesn't think they should fight is apparently Senator Palmo; I don't think they address her by name).
posted by ChuraChura at 7:12 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


because without the brilliant physicist Galen, they have no idea how to alter the reactor design.

That doesn't fit with Galen's stated rationale that if he didn't design the Death Star for the Empire, someone else would have. Brilliant, maybe, but not one-in-a-galaxy brilliant. (Which does raise questions about why Krennic is so keen to get Galen back working on the Death Star at the start of the film: if there are others who could do the work, why not find them instead?)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:26 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


She is, in fact, one of only three named female characters in the entire movie. Her, Mon Mothma, and Jyn.

Yeah her having a name doesn't fix the overall issues, didn't intend to imply that. After trailers featuring all the women in the movie, I assumed there would be more. But nope. One random soldier I spotted, one pilot.

Weird when the animated shows did a better job of this (with one hampered by the fact that most the characters where literally the same guy over and over) and the force awakens as well. If Captain Phasma taught us anything it's that you really can have a woman play any part, even a weird throw away character just made to sell toys.
posted by French Fry at 7:34 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also best possible built-in excuse for fan-bros being all "That's not how a new hope was!! what happened to all these women!?!" ... They died. They all died, like big damn heroes.
posted by French Fry at 7:37 AM on December 19, 2016 [17 favorites]


I don't have a problem believing that Galen was the one person needed to make the Death Star work at that time. Happens all the time, one genius really pushes a project forward.

But it's also clear that the reactor wasn't meant to be so easily blown, so you'd think the next death start wouldn't have that vulnerability, but hey, it's Star Wars. The plots of the films aren't made to be deep, just some of the ideas.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 AM on December 19, 2016


But it's also clear that the reactor wasn't meant to be so easily blown, so you'd think the next death start wouldn't have that vulnerability, but hey, it's Star Wars.

A pretty reasonable explanation here is that the only person in the Empire who was told what the flaw was (Krennic) died with that knowledge, and nearly everyone who witnessed it being put to use died in the explosion of the first Death Star (minus Vader). They may have built the 2nd Death Star without understanding what the true weakness was.
posted by tocts at 8:07 AM on December 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


If it helps (it won't help), Lyra's character was pretty much added on the back side of production, possibly even just the re-shoots. I can't support it with any evidence, but she may have been added in part because of rising complaints that Jyn's mother was completely absent from the picture that was forming from production leaks, etc.

While Lyra's decision to go confront Krennic is in line with how her character is depicted in Catalyst, in the film, I thought it made very little sense. She and Jyn could have escaped together, but Jyn had to be saved by Saw....so Lyra essentially walks into a blaster bolt. (Okay, so it also helped underline Krennic's villain status.)

The second Death Star was vulnerable because it was only partially complete (outside of its fully operational laser). Presumably, if it had been completed, it would have been immune to the same exhaust port problem. The second Death Star was also bigger than the first, so some redesign had been contemplated. When you can fly your literal star fighters into its innards and launch torpedoes directly at its power plant....it's gonna blow up. There ain't nothing you can do about that except protect the innards with a defensive shield. Ahem.
posted by Atreides at 8:13 AM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm sure Han Solo's origin movie in 2018 will have him discovering the "Death Moon," a small prototype laser-weapon space station that he will get to blow up in a climactic finale. And that Lobot cameo. They could change the name of the franchise to "Death Star Wars."
posted by rikschell at 8:21 AM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Pop Culture Happy Hour talked about Rogue One in a recent episode and Holmes mentioned something interesting about how she could see the good elements of the film, but how she kind of bounced off Rogue One because it wasn't the swash-buckling, close calls, and space wizardry like the other Star Wars.

I would add that my interpretation is that this is the first Star Wars movie that isn't a sci-fi space opera and more like a military science fiction. It's more like Aliens and less like, well, Star Wars.

I even admit that my initial reaction after seeing the film was complete surprise. I thought it was going to be like a heist film set in space, somewhat similar in tone to one of the recent Tom Cruise Mission Impossible films. Instead, it was a grim military science fiction with an ending ripped out of something like Gundam.
posted by FJT at 8:31 AM on December 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


Presumably the second Death Star wouldn't have had the fatal thermal exhaust port. They had to fly into the middle of the damn thing to blow it up, which was only possible because it was still being built.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:04 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Saw it yesterday and I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it the way I loved TFA. I didn't feel like it broke any new ground, and while there were a few moments that really resonated with me, it didn't leave me feeling like I needed to go back and see it again.

I really loved K2 and the blind guy (and I also went to "Luke had to wear a helmet to tap into the Force / blind may mean better connection", not magical disability place). I didn't know there would be CGI-people, so I thought Tarkin was a great lookalike who was a bit off in a way I couldn't put my finger on, and I figured that Leia had to be CG-enhanced version of Carrie Fisher, and assumed it was a reflection of the technology that it was a bit clunky -- but it wasn't more clunky than she was in parts of the original Star Wars movie, so I was 100% happy with her. For me, Vader was the one that felt off every time he spoke. He didn't talk like himself, the "choke" joke was painful, and in closeup the costume looked fake. But I can't fault his last scene in any way.
posted by Mchelly at 9:20 AM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also the empire must lose a lot of people to workplace accidents, not having discovered the concept of handrails for gangways crossing vast chasms.

I have long felt that if the Emperor had merely instated a Department of Workplace Safety, the Empire would not have fallen. More guardrails! Less chasms! HR guidelines about force-choking!
posted by nubs at 9:35 AM on December 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


I'm sure Han Solo's origin movie in 2018 will have him discovering the

Han & Lando's Intense Meaningful Hugging: A Star Wars Story
posted by phunniemee at 9:36 AM on December 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


One thing a friend reminded me of yesterday is that Vader does a great hip swinging, catwalk style sashay the first time we see him out of his gelatinous rest tube. I'm expecting to see a you tube recut with high energy dance music come the new year.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:38 AM on December 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm expecting to see a you tube recut with high energy dance music come the new year.

Got the moves like Vader.
posted by phunniemee at 9:42 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


OK guys, I haven't seen this yet but I have been skimming the thread because I'm not really afraid of spoilers for this one. What I am afraid of is that my kids are really keen to go see this when we are on holidays next week, and it's sounding like a bit of a grimmer movie than I was expecting. So, here's my question - if my boys are fine with what they've seen in Empire Strikes Back, will Rogue One be ok?
posted by nubs at 9:52 AM on December 19, 2016


Nubs: it's significantly grimmer than Empire, but not that much gorier or more explicit. You will find it hard to judge without reading spoilers for yourself, as the potentially disturbing stuff is plot related rather than imagery or language.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:58 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


> if my boys are fine with what they've seen in Empire Strikes Back, will Rogue One be ok?

Yes, I think so. My ten-year old enjoyed K2SO and I'm not totally sure he processed the ending fireball. In fact, K2SO's death might be the most affecting one in the movie?

It's a kick-ass space battle / blaster battle / desperate mission war movie, yes with thin characters (take a hard look at Ep IV and VI without the rose-tinted nostalgia glasses), and the light saber appearance at the very end emphasizes how amazingly powerful Force-wielders are.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:59 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, here's my question - if my boys are fine with what they've seen in Empire Strikes Back, will Rogue One be ok?

I mean, it depends on the kid probably. It's fucking sad. The folks above who described it as galactic Saving Private Ryan are really pretty close to the mark.

It's not blood and gutsy, but it definitely puts the war in Star Wars. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not got the happy endings (or promise of happy endings yet to come) we're used to seeing.
posted by phunniemee at 10:00 AM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


My son just turned 8 and I was worried about this as well (he was afraid during parts of Fantastic Beasts, if that's a guideline for you) - he loved it and had no issues. But we definitely talked with him before the movie started, mentioning the "Many Bothans died to bring you this information" line from whichever movie it was. So he knew going in that a lot of people, including good guys, were going to die before it was over.
posted by Mchelly at 10:03 AM on December 19, 2016


Thanks everyone - that helps. We should be ok, then, based on this feedback - I just starting seeing comments about comparisons to Aliens and Saving Private Ryan and thought "well, even without gore, some of that could be pretty intensely scary" but I think my guys are old enough to deal with the idea that not every story ends well for everyone involved; and they know where the story goes from here, so that will help.
posted by nubs at 10:18 AM on December 19, 2016


From the Radio Times: The unseen Star Wars archive footage used in Rogue One - cool way to get Red and Gold Leader in.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:19 AM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hollywood Reporter: 'Rogue One': Who's Getting Paid the Most? Answer: Felicity Jones. Also is the answer to the question, 'who has options in their contract for another Star Wars movie'. Some suggest that this could be because the movie was heavily reedited to change the ending based on comparing the trailers to the completed film.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:23 AM on December 19, 2016


Yes, I think so. My ten-year old enjoyed K2SO and I'm not totally sure he processed the ending fireball. In fact, K2SO's death might be the most affecting one in the movie?

Yeah, my 10-year-old is a reasonably bright kid, but she did not understand that Jyn and Cassion were about to die. I guess protagonists dying at the end is so outside of her movie-going experience that she just couldn't grasp it without it being completely obvious.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:32 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Alternate ending I just thought of: As Jyn and Andor are waiting at the end, one of them wonders out loud if they succeeded, if it was all worth it and the other says "I hope so," hugs the other one and then end credits.

There's zero need to try to exactly match up the ending of this to the beginning of A New Hope, it just comes off as weak an opens itself up to tons of distracting plot holes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


After seeing so much disagreement about Tarkin, I made a little poll over on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/CarlMuckenhoupt/status/810922596405571584
posted by baf at 11:03 AM on December 19, 2016


It was OK. I mean, it's a Disney Star Wars movie, and those exist to sell merch, so I didn't expect much in terms of characters or story, and I didn't get it. By the books story, and paper thin characters. However, like the Godzilla remake, it delivered on large-scale, technically excellent action film-making, which is really enough for me. The guy next to me who squealed with glee like a Gerbil whenever anything from one of the other films came on screen was... very unnerving, however.
posted by codacorolla at 11:07 AM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Scarif multiplayer DLC for Battlefront is indeed some fun videogamin'.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:09 AM on December 19, 2016


I was surprised that Stephen Stanton, who voiced Tarkin in the Clone Wars series, did not lend his voice to Tarkin in the movie. Particularly since Stanton WAS in the production as the voice of (the non-Ackbar Mon Calimari) Admiral Raddus. I wonder how he felt about that.
posted by Harlo at 11:56 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


The guy next to me who squealed with glee like a Gerbil whenever anything from one of the other films came on screen was... very unnerving, however.

Ahem I am a chick and I was squealing with glee like a guinea pig damnit.

posted by phunniemee at 12:04 PM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


The guy next to me who squealed with glee like a Gerbil whenever anything from one of the other films came on screen was... very unnerving, however.

That wasn't me, I was simply imitating signs that may have lead someone else to deduce a seizure or something. Perhaps choking. I did slap my leg in excitement. Yes, I literally slapped my leg in excitement like an old fashion hootin' nanny.

I was surprised that Stephen Stanton, who voiced Tarkin in the Clone Wars series, did not lend his voice to Tarkin in the movie. Particularly since Stanton WAS in the production as the voice of (the non-Ackbar Mon Calimari) Admiral Raddus. I wonder how he felt about that.

I'm with you, I was absolutely shocked they didn't go with Stanton.

Concerning kids, my coworker's husband took her 7 year old and a 9 year old. Both liked it, but apparently they found the movie kind of boring at times. I have no idea what they watch or allowed to watch on a regular basis, tho'.
posted by Atreides at 12:14 PM on December 19, 2016


(And oh my god, that satellite dish control panel hanging out over like a 10k foot drop for no particular reason whatsoever? Call OSHA.)

At least the walkway had railings.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:05 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


HR guidelines about force-choking!

"Force-choking shall not be applied as a punishment based on gender, race, species, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or belief in hokey religions."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:31 PM on December 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


> Force-choking shall not be applied as a punishment based on gender, race, species, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or belief in hokey religions.

Surely you mean disbelief in hokey religions?
(And yeah, that's probably coming to South Carolina.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:34 PM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Force-choking shall not be applied as a punishment based on gender, race, species, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or belief in hokey religions."

"Further, force-choking shall be the last step in the employee disciplinary process, after verbal warnings, written warnings, suspensions and (non-lethal) termination have been exhausted. The employee's right to a grievance process should also be taken into consideration."
posted by nubs at 2:40 PM on December 19, 2016 [10 favorites]


Rogue One isn't gory like Aliens, but I'm not sure how kids will process the theme about how it's sometimes necessary to sacrifice everything to stop evil. That seems a bit heavy for them, imo. But then again, Revenge of The Sith ended with the Jedi from the first two movies getting massacred. So if they saw that movie, this one isn't going to be any bleaker.

tocts:
A pretty reasonable explanation here is that the only person in the Empire who was told what the flaw was (Krennic) died with that knowledge, and nearly everyone who witnessed it being put to use died in the explosion of the first Death Star (minus Vader). They may have built the 2nd Death Star without understanding what the true weakness was.
Now you've got me wondering what kind of after-action report Vader might have given the Emperor (if any). He was no fan of the Death Star ("The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."), and he didn't yet know that the Rebel pilot that blew up the battle station was his son, so there'd be no need to conceal the nature of what happened from the Emperor. Would he report that one hit to an exhaust port blew the whole thing up?
posted by Kevin Street at 2:48 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vader didn't see the photon torpedo hit the exhaust port, because he was tumbling out of control at the time.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:15 PM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Now you've got me wondering what kind of after-action report Vader might have given the Emperor (if any)

I'm not sure about the veracity of the document
posted by nubs at 3:24 PM on December 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


So, when do we get to see the story behind the "Many Bothans died to bring us this" quote and do we want to?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:43 PM on December 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I just watched it in "4DX" (Here is a terrible advertrailer) which is the local cinema's new way to get people to buy crazy prices for cinema tickets.
What that means is that it's in 3D, and also the seats move around and there are rumblings.
Also gas jets which go *pppooooossh* and ruffle your ears when anyone gets shot (which is often).
There is smoke (mostly pointless, because it's near the front), bubbles (not used on this film, booo) and smell and water. So the sea spray at the start hits you with a fine salty mist, and the rainy planet you get rained on whenever they go outside. (there is a button to turn this off). Oh also when Jyn got woken up with a water drop on her face.

I thought it would be terrible. It was in fact pretty fun.
I did get whanged in the back with more force than I thought I would when Cassian fell onto a girder.
There was a great scene with an x-wing doing a barrel roll around a star destroyer that we followed along with, with some impressive seat acrobatics.
Also when K-2S0 threw Jyn to the ground the seats matched it from her frame of view so it all got a bit spinny.

I don't think I'm going to go see many films in 4DX, but I can see going to future star wars that way.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:48 PM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I agree with those who were disappointed by Rogue One. I know that the characters in ANH were just archetypes, but at least the camera would slow down for a minute and stop on their faces, and let us be with them and feel what they were feeling. The film opens with these super wide shots of a ship flying over a planet- and then chaos that gets across some simple plot points and that sets some stuff up for later (dad loves his daughter, calls her stardust, ok) but nothing that lets us know who these characters are. When we finally get a shot that lingers on Jyn's face (for maybe the only time in the movie?) we don't have enough context to know what's going through her mind or to start empathizing with her. Then we get introduced to way too many characters way too quickly, and they all die before I could start to care about them.

(I cry at sad commercials and have not just cried but sobbed twice at movies in the past month, it isn't just that I'm an uncaring person who's not affected by characters on a screen)

Tarkin was awful and there was no need to spend so much time on his face except that they thought they were showing off (no). There was no need for Leia's face. Too many callbacks to the original Star Wars movies (Especially those two from the Cantina! What are they doing on a totally different planet? Especially since we're about to find out that the events in ANH are at most days away from beginning to unfold). I thought the third act was better than the first two but it also wasn't Star Wars for me.
posted by matcha action at 4:08 PM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Galen Erso builds a flaw into the Death Star as an act of sabotage. He's effectively a self-directed deep cover operative. He can't whistleblow, so he fights against the Empire in the only way available to him.

Maybe the lack of railings is another example of engineering sabotage by rebellious engineers. Maybe all of it is! The lack of central control systems, the failure to automate basic information retrieval systems, random doors in walls that lead only to voids, the enormous voids themselves. All designed by Rebel-sympathising engineers to waste the Empire's resources, make basic tasks less efficient, chip away at their soldiers by massively increasing industrial accidents.

After all, the war was won due to direct impact of these flaws. It explains everything. The Empire's engineers are the true heroes of Star Wars.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:20 PM on December 19, 2016 [55 favorites]


The Empire's engineers are the true heroes of Star Wars.

The Corellians and Mon Calamari would agree, as would Vors Voorhorian.

And the next time you come at us with anything less than a Super Star Destroyer and a Death Star, you should bring friends. Hell no, wait there, Admiral Ackbar's gonna bring his friends to you. Deathstar and Super Star Destroyer or not.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:54 PM on December 19, 2016


Maybe Stormtroopers can't hit anything because the engineers who designed their blasters buggered the slights on them. Or the glass in the helmets is slightly curved to distort their vision and throw off their targeting.

And note that the Tie Fighters don't have shields.

"It's fine, it's a trade off for the speed. Really, they don't need them. Don't worry so much, General. Don't you have some fish people to subjugate or something?" said the engineer. As the general turned on his heel and swept from the room, a small, grim smile flickered across her face as she sat back down at her drafting table.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:01 PM on December 19, 2016 [16 favorites]


"Yes, Director Succup! Our helmets were designed for the speed and ease with which our Storm Troopers can obtain their targets! Each of them can take a full blaster bolt without phasing the wearer!" - Engineer.
"Well, they seem vulnerable to Wookie strength, and a skinny human with a stick." - Director Succup.
"But that sweet, sweet rapid-acquisition targeting system, and how is your dear sister, in charge of the Storm Trooper Rifles? I hear her programme is amazingly advanced... provided we make the changes we need to the helmets to work with them, Director Succup!" - Engineer.
"That won't be necessary, carry on."
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:30 PM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


While Lyra's decision to go confront Krennic is in line with how her character is depicted in Catalyst, in the film, I thought it made very little sense. She and Jyn could have escaped together, but Jyn had to be saved by Saw....so Lyra essentially walks into a blaster bolt. (Okay, so it also helped underline Krennic's villain status.)


They could have improved this considerably, for example, by having Lyra send Jyn in one direction then run off in another one to draw fire and obscure her trail. She would still have died, Jyn would see it/be traumatized by it and then the plot could go on. If you needed a "Jyn worries that her dad has gone evil" bit, then maybe have her at a later age see an Empire propaganda piece on the Engineers of the Empire. You could do it up Riefenstahl-style, with her dad smiling and looking happy to be working for the Emperor.
posted by emjaybee at 9:12 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


One thing that struck me were the parallels and contrasts between the Galen-Jyn relationship and the Vader-Luke relationship. Two fathers, who both eventually realize that the Empire and its destructive tendencies need to be stopped, and turn to children they've been estranged from, for help. Jyn's answer to that call was to embrace it, and Luke refuses. Jyn loses her father, but presses on to complete his mission, whereas when Luke and Vader finally end up together with the Emperor, it's Vader who has to finish him off. I don't know if this is a deliberate attempt at setting up a foil, or if I'm just reading too much into it.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:33 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's no such thing as reading too much into it. ;) Whether they intended them or not, those are some very interesting parallels.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:40 AM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The film just threw up the "broken family" trope and expected that to just sell it, without actually showing us anything.

Yep, telling and not showing much about the main characters is the movie's biggest flaw. We are shown nothing about how Jyn grew up, we just have other folks tell us about her. We are shown nothing about how Saw left the rebellion and became who he is, we just have someone tell us he did. We learn nothing about any of the rebel team aside from Cassian's one (neat) moment. It's really shocking how little effort the film makes to draw these characters, and surprising that some folks here say the situation is similar in the original Star Wars. It's very much not; there's more sharp characterization in the handful of minutes between a) Luke and Han first meeting Leia and b) C3PO stopping the trash compactor than there is in this entire movie.

Replacing some of the groan-inducing fan service with a few more seconds of smart dialogue between any of the major rebel characters would have helped. It's a fun, exciting action movie but is severely hampered by a "written by committee" disease that seems to have deliberately minimized characterization and interaction. Kind of a shame.
posted by mediareport at 1:43 AM on December 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Engineers sabotaging imperial military hardware is an overt plot point in Rebels.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:43 AM on December 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Now you've got me wondering what kind of after-action report Vader might have given the Emperor (if any). He was no fan of the Death Star ("The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."), and he didn't yet know that the Rebel pilot that blew up the battle station was his son, so there'd be no need to conceal the nature of what happened from the Emperor. Would he report that one hit to an exhaust port blew the whole thing up?

-- Vader didn't see the photon torpedo hit the exhaust port, because he was tumbling out of control at the time.

One of Tarkin's aides tells him during the battle that they've figured out what the Rebels are trying to do - so the Imperials did, at some point, figure out what the Rebels were up to. Whether or not they told Vader is unknown, but given he went out to destroy them personally, it's possible he did that because Tarkin had told him the Rebels' plan.

Also, Vader didn't like Tarkin (seemed to be the only Imperial guy who ranked above him) so it seems like a prime opportunity to be all "see, I TOLD you Tarkin was too confident in his stupid Death Star".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:02 AM on December 20, 2016


Vader didn't like Tarkin

In the Clone Wars Anakin is depicted as having a grudging respect for Tarkin. I am actually curious now if Tarkin knew who Vader really was?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:52 AM on December 20, 2016


What is Vader's military title? General-wizard?
posted by codacorolla at 6:36 AM on December 20, 2016


Re: same catastrophic vulnerability in the second Death Star: there's no indication whether the same reactor shaft exploit would have existed in DS2. As someone mentioned upthread, they had to fly into the middle of the thing, and directly target the power core with something heavy enough to punch through its shields. At that point, you're hurling bolts of charged plasma at a nuclear pile of unobtanium that is powerful enough to run a yottawatt laser; I'd say a reasonable outcome of that is "explosion large enough to destroy the entire base." You don't need a subtly engineered design flaw to explain the outcome at Yendor. If anything, you have to explain why the blast radius wasn't large enough to wipe out the Rebel fleet, the moon, and Endor itself.
posted by Mayor West at 7:27 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


In the Clone Wars Anakin is depicted as having a grudging respect for Tarkin. I am actually curious now if Tarkin knew who Vader really was?

This is addressed in Tarkin and the Grand Moff, if I remember correctly, pretty much successfully guesses who Vader was before he became Vader. Tarkin isn't a bad read, it's by James Luceno, the same guy who wrote the Rogue One prequel, Catalyst and you can pick it up in a low priced paperback now.

What is Vader's military title? General-wizard?

He technically doesn't have one, but if he did, I think General-Wizard is a fine title. Stressed a lot in the new EU is this idea that not many people actually know about Darth Vader, at least in the general public, and within the Imperial military, he's more of this shadowy figure whom you really don't want to ever meet. His stature in the military over the time we know him changes from nearly free reign prior to A New Hope to being placed under the command of one of the generals at that conference room meeting after the disaster of the Death Star, and finally, rising back by The Empire Strikes Back to being answerable only to the Emperor, himself.

One of Tarkin's aides tells him during the battle yt that they've figured out what the Rebels are trying to do - so the Imperials did, at some point, figure out what the Rebels were up to. Whether or not they told Vader is unknown, but given he went out to destroy them personally, it's possible he did that because Tarkin had told him the Rebels' plan.

I really need my EU library here with me at work, but in Lost Stars, an awesome book for anyone who loves the original trilogy (you will foam with nostalgia), we actually get to meet one of the analysts who figure out the rebels' intentions. I can't remember if they also tell anyone else out side of the chain of command or not.

Someone on twitter made this brilliant observation concerning Rogue One. It begins with a daughter running away from her father and ends with a daughter running away from her father. Heh.
posted by Atreides at 7:51 AM on December 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think Jyn's backstory is laid on with a pretty heavy hand. The recurrence of "stardust" was just too much.

I have watched this film 47 times with my 3 year old daughter and I'm pretty sure they stole that, er, plot point from it (Dad lovingly calls Barbie "Starlight" because love and feels) and TBH the father-daughter relationship was done better in the Barbie flick. Also, there were space dragons.

It made the Stardust thing super distracting.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:56 AM on December 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Amy Nicholson over at MTV News, of all places, has one of the more savage reviews I've seen of the film; here's what she says about its Daddy issues:

Instead of a dimensional role, [Felicity Jones has] been white-elephanted with Disney's default motivation — "Won't somebody help me find my daddy?" — which might have had emotional impact if the studio hadn't already foisted it on us in this year's The Jungle Book, Finding Dory, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Pete's Dragon.

There's more, not all of which I'd agree with, but this bit is spot on:

Edwards and the screenwriters have designed Rogue One around applause breaks for cameos and callbacks. We’ve all lost the point of the franchise. Audiences once packed theaters to gawk at the future; now, it’s to soak in the past. The emphasis is on packing in as much nostalgia as possible and tersely editing it together to resemble a film. The filmmakers barely seem to have developed the scenes, and the actors barely appear to be living in them. The quasi-romantic tension between Jyn and Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is a fizzle, and neither seems to have developed their character's motivations beyond glare and shoot.
posted by mediareport at 8:03 AM on December 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


If anything, you have to explain why the blast radius wasn't large enough to wipe out the Rebel fleet, the moon, and Endor itself.

Yeah, about that...

posted by vibrotronica at 8:07 AM on December 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


What is Vader's military title? General-wizard?

He was addressed as "Lord" by Imperial officers; "Darth" is a Sith title. So I'm not exactly sure what that makes him in terms of military rank; the Star Wars universe has a confusing hierarchy of Lords, Princesses, elected teenage Queens, Generals, Captains, Admirals, Masters, Viceroys, and Bosses.
posted by nubs at 8:14 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


We’ve all lost the point of the franchise. Audiences once packed theaters to gawk at the future; now, it’s to soak in the past.

I mean, really? The original Star Wars films might have been about the future for kids but they were nostalgia pieces, too with big chunks lifted or reimagined from Lensman and Flash Gordon and a bunch of other places.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:25 AM on December 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


The difference, I think, is in the level of fan service to folks who'd seen the originals. Not a whole lot of Lensman fans in those theaters in 1977.
posted by mediareport at 8:30 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


"something something something something in a galaxy far, far away"
posted by entropicamericana at 8:30 AM on December 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


We’ve all lost the point of the franchise. Audiences once packed theaters to gawk at the future; now, it’s to soak in the past.

Ah, so Iger lied, Star Wars is about this year's election!

#MAKETHEGALAXYGREATAGAIN
posted by FJT at 8:43 AM on December 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Not a whole lot of Lensman fans in those theaters in 1977.

But plenty who had grown up with Flash Gordon.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:53 AM on December 20, 2016


Yeah, sure, but I'd still argue that the direct fan service references to specific moments in the early Star Wars films are of a different order of magnitude, and have clearly been impeding the franchise's willingness to tell new stories.
posted by mediareport at 9:07 AM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not a whole lot of Lensman fans in those theaters in 1977.

It was a runner-up for the 1966 Hugo award for Best All-Time Series, losing to Foundation. The Lensman war game came out in 1969. Harry Harrison's parody, Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers, came out in 1973.

I mean, I know that only a percentage of the 45 million people who saw the film the opening weekend were science fiction fans. But for those of us who were, Lensman was about as famous as anything by Heinlein or Clarke or Bradbury. They were always available through the Science Fiction Book Club, and so if you got through the 70s without reading them, it was through sheer deliberate effort.
posted by maxsparber at 9:11 AM on December 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


After seeing the movie on Sunday, we attempted to calculate the number of days from the initial low-power destruction of Jedha to the destruction of the Death Star by the Rebels. We didn't have access to the internet, so it's all back of an envelope and off the top of our heads.

Conclusion, somewhere around a week.

I don't know how long Hyperspace jumps usually take, we used 4 hours, your mileage may vary.

Showing the math:

Jeddha destruction to engagement on Scarif, 2-3 days.

Escape from Scarif to Tattooine orbit. 4 hours.

Droids eject and land on Tattooine, Jawas pick them both up by the end of the day. 1 day.

Next morning Owen and Luke buy them and bring them home. R2 flees to find Obi Wan later that evening. 1 day.

Next morning Luke and 3PO hunt for R2, meet Obi Wan, find the destroyed Sandcrawler, and the bodies of Luke's aunt and uncle. The meet Han and Chewie and are on board the Falcon by the end of the day. 1 day.

They head to Alderaan. 4 hours.

Hit the Death Star, pick up Leia, flee to Yavin 4. An hour? Even less? We witness the entire rescue in close to real time.

Drop off plans on Yavin, study plans, Death Star arrives, destroy Death Star. Less than a day again, maybe 8 hours.

So even if the Hyperspace flights were a day long for each leg, that's just 9 days or so.
posted by Wetterschneider at 9:26 AM on December 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


From the link:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first spin-off flick allowed to separate from the main timeline of films that command Roman numerals. Presumably, it could transport audiences anywhere, dazzle us with planets and aliens we'd never need to see again, besides at the nearest toy store. Instead, the film rewinds back to the beginning — the literal beginning — to bore us with the backstory behind the first three sentences of Star Wars's opening crawl.
Rogue One specifically took us to new planets with aliens we've never seen before. In fact, I think I only spotted one or two aliens in the entire film who appear in any of the other films. The author makes reasonable argued points, but then brackets them with not the best vague allegations, such as the above or like saying K-2SO looked just like C-3PO, except with birthing hips. Though, I guess to an organic, all droids look the same.
posted by Atreides at 10:12 AM on December 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


We’ve all lost the point of the franchise. Audiences once packed theaters to gawk at the future; now, it’s to soak in the past.

Yeah, it's a bit of a circle jerk as everyone gathers around to remember how good seeing that previous thing was. New memories are made by collectively recalling old memories.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:05 PM on December 20, 2016


Favorited for "I guess to an organic, all droids look the same."

C'mon, K2SO was the best developed character in that movie!
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:13 PM on December 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


That lovable asshole droid is now one of my favorite Star Wars characters.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:28 PM on December 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Yeah, it's a bit of a circle jerk as everyone gathers around to remember how good seeing that previous thing was. New memories are made by collectively recalling old memories.

It's this brand new thing called nostalgia.
posted by Sphinx at 12:58 PM on December 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Now that I have time to write out a more substantive comment, I have to say I enjoyed the film very much as a New Star Wars thing, less so as a film in its own right? I'm a watch-for-character viewer, and the formula that ANH and TFA both use to great success introducing their respective heroes -- creating basic backstories, then leaning hard on the actors' charisma and chemistry with each other -- really works for me. I think the balance was more or less right on the male Rogues (particularly Diego Luna and Donnie Yen's characters, despite the massive issues with the "blind mystic martial artist" thing), but Felicity Jones was saddled with trying to sell her character resolving three separate kinds of parental trauma and going from self-protective apathetic snarker to pure-hearted true believer leader of men (emphasis on the "men") in, like, a week in-universe, tops. Between that and the reshoots, many of her individual scenes worked fine but the whole didn't cohere well. I did like her "maybe in another life" chemistry with Cassian, unlike others here.

Probably what I appreciated most was that by showing more of the scope and consequences of the war, Rogue One was not only a stronger film but made the original trilogy better as well. The losses and victories hit harder and are more poignant; the Skywalker saga is still the Skywalker saga, but the heroism and self-sacrifice of its leads become part of a broader tradition. Not only does Leia almost literally pick up the baton where Jyn and the others had to drop it, but Luke's squadron in Empire Strikes Back bears their name as a tribute!

Completely agreed w/ the many above criticisms re: representation. Between Star Wars and the MCU I'm getting real tired of Disney's definition of diversity in live action, which appears to mean (implcitly straight/cis) white women, (implicitly straight/cis) men of color, and nobody else. Women of color? Wait your turn. Disabled characters who aren't magical mystics/cautionary tales/both? Pfft. Explicitly LGBTQ+ characters? But think of the international market!

But I'm glad that someone finally recognized that maybe a film franchise which leans so much on Western fascination with Asian culture (to say nothing of the direct and more specific influence of Rashomon on A New Hope, etc) should include actual Asian people, too. Also, Chirrut and Baze were totes a couple and no one is taking that from me.

For the record, I am the type of fan simultaneously annoyed by the sheer number of callbacks, and really mad that for the second time in a row the perfect opportunity for Wedge Antilles to show up came and NO WEDGE. BETRAYAL. I also thought punning Darth Vader was great, but then, this is my favorite tumblr post about the movie so far, so.
posted by bettafish at 1:39 PM on December 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


> The filmmakers seem to be hinting that the Empire and the United States are not that dissimilar. So, Bob Iger saying that the film is not making a political statement is kind of a disservice to it and untrue. Any good sci-fi does make oblique comparisons to contemporary events. And I also find the whole thing a little ironic since it's always seemed to me the Empire is definitely more popular and iconic among the public in terms of merchandise, toys, and costumes.

Star Wars Goes to the Countryside: Star Wars has always been light on politics. But Rogue One is a timely celebration of rebellion from below.
posted by homunculus at 1:39 PM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Chirrut and Baze were totes a couple and no one is taking that from me.

As the credits were running, the folks behind me in the movie immediately dubbed them "space husbands." e.g. "The space husbands were great!"
posted by rmd1023 at 3:29 PM on December 20, 2016 [25 favorites]


As a casual fan, and as a parent of fans, I wanted to love it, and just couldn't find a way in. Odd pacing, under-developed leads, music that fell a little flat--and maybe most of all, no sense of wonder and no heart, despite the often-amazing visuals.

Chirrut and Baze made me think of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, one armed with idealism and the other just armed, both old soldiers of a sort and with a long history of having each other's backs. They were delightful, but seemed to have wandered in from the lot next door; at one point, Baze, in the background, stretches out to rest and I thought, good God, yes, of course, no one else is sensible enough to eat or sleep or pee between battles. When Chirrut dies, Baze is all that is left of that history, and his death felt like the end of something larger. Again, I'm a casual fan, and yes, could go and look up the backstory, but would have appreciated an additional line or two of explanation. Despite that, their relationship stood out as being human, down to the sigh of not *this* again.

Early Director Krennic felt like evil Peter O'Toole, and somehow became flatter and more vain as he went. Darth Vader? Make Darth Vader Scary Again! is all I can say. The comment above that his chest-plate is like a vintage Halloween costume is right on the mark--just enough to be right, but not overly detailed, and in sharp contrast to his clear brutality. The CGI of Tarkin and Leia was distressing because they reminded me of "Star Wars" dolls. (Kenner dolls? Flattened out features that suggested characters without really looking anything like them? I think I remember being disappointed that the secret to the princess's hair was a couple of small plastic donuts, very much the same feeling I have now about Princess CGI.) Jyn was so guarded, understandably, that her conversion felt awkward, and not even in a way that matched that lackluster St. Crispin's Day half-speech. For me she ended up being neither fish nor fowl (and as for the red herring, I dunno, she was more emotionally expressive when confronted with holo-dad than bio-dad. Robot projection, man. It's nothing but heartbreak.)

But while I am on the subject of Johnny 5... K-2SO was marvelous, thanks to Alan Tudyk and the ghost of Marvin. So perfect that his re-programming left him more human: a little bit pissy, practical and tactical amid the madness, and fully present as a character despite the limitations of a metal shell/sidekick role. Tudyk deserves recognition for what he achieves with voice alone.

I wanted to be swept up in feeling, immersed in strangeness, carried by story, and "Rogue One" just didn't do that for me--I appreciated this movie without really liking it, I guess. "Hope" might have been the last word, but it rang pretty empty for me after watching faith, family, friendship fall and fail, and the potential for love die in a fire. Which might make "Rogue One" the perfect film for 2016. Though not in a good way.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:55 PM on December 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


I've sort of resigned myself to the fact that Disney-era Star Wars is going to be high quality fanfic with a heaping helping of HEY 'MEMBA THIS and as such found this perfectly satisfying and enjoyable as a thing being what it was intended to be. If movies about my Star Wars toys playing with themselves follow me well into my years of senescence and decrepitude, well, there are worse fates.

Rogue One gave me the space battle I desperately wanted but did not get in TFA, and Darth Vader going Oldboy in the hallway was just a base, uncomplicated delight. Maybe someday they'll make a full-on Vader movie and Lucasfilm will let them borrow the real costume. Fingers crossed!

Like TFA, I feel like I enjoyed this more in the moment in the theater than I did on sober reflection afterward. But I'd totally see it again.

I didn't mind CGI Tarkin and Leia at all, although a little less Tarkin probably would have come off better. Might as well start coming to terms with stuff like that now, it's probably the future of movies.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:11 PM on December 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Something's been niggling at me since I saw the movie... did the Empire actually blow up all their backups of blueprints for all their most important stuff at the end?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:31 PM on December 20, 2016 [15 favorites]


It's a fun, exciting action movie but is severely hampered by a "written by committee" disease that seems to have deliberately minimized characterization and interaction. Kind of a shame.

I was very much entertained by this film, but I suspect this is a potential consequence of purchase by Disney, same with the Marvel superhero films. Technically brilliant, unsurpassed production values coupled with formulaic cores. Disney cartoons get past this by being full of charm, often delivered by catchy musical numbers and by being, well, children's cartoons. Marvel Studios seem to be using snappy one-liners. Star Wars right now is focusing on appeal to nostalgia. Will either capture a sense of heart, and more importantly, organic, non-committee driven artistry? Authorship, even?
posted by Apocryphon at 1:03 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


On an opposite note, it was Donnie Yen's decision to play Chirrut as a blind character.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:09 AM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think Jyn's backstory is laid on with a pretty heavy hand. The recurrence of "stardust" was just too much.

I just realized that if I ever have to get my daughter to notice a particular file by labeling it with her childhood nickname, it's going to be called "Project Nerd Bucket."*

My first impression of Rogue One was that it was okay, if not spectacular, but a couple of days later it isn't wearing well. Between different rounds of taking kids to see it, I wound up watching TFA three times in the theater and I enjoyed it every time. I have no interest at all in seeing R1 in the theater a second time, or really ever again. For me there was some satisfaction in getting a little more backstory, but I didn't care enough about anyone or have enough emotional connection to them for repeated viewings to be rewarding. I suspect the flaws would only stand out more each time.

*Maybe not a terrible nickname for the Death Star, either.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:43 AM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Was that hug at the end supposed to demonstrate a romantic connection between Jyn and Cassian? Because I did't see any sparks before that, only a sort of realationship between two busy people engaged on the same important task. And that final embrace was comrade-ly, not romantic.

Did I overlook something or am I right to think there wasn't chemistry there?
posted by wenestvedt at 3:23 AM on December 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


Something's been niggling at me since I saw the movie... did the Empire actually blow up all their backups of blueprints for all their most important stuff at the end?

Yep. I think it was with the idea of preventing anyone from escaping with anything, but yeah, backups went kaboom.

Hopefully there were several off site backups, but it's little crap like this that makes R1 less fun to view the second time around. The movie didn't give me a reason to love it and with no love its flaws become all the more glaring.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:51 AM on December 21, 2016


It's seems like some of you guys are just looking for reasons to hate the movie. Blowing up their own backups is consistent with the sort of arrogance the Empire displays in the original trilogy, from the military leaders to the Emperor.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:08 AM on December 21, 2016 [15 favorites]


I enjoyed it, but not as much as I expected to. I had a lot of the niggles mentioned already with the movie, but the one thing that irritated me while I was sat in the movie, rather than on reflection after is the lack of alien characters. I know I'm spoiled by animated series and computer games where it's so much easier and the prequels where I find it one of the few redeeming features of CGIing everything to death, but this film shows such a human galaxy. Empire fair enough, but I want to look at a mass of characters in the Alliance and see 20 different types of aliens all over the place, not a bunch of humans and a couple of something else tossed in as an afterthought.
posted by SometimeNextMonth at 5:19 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's seems like some of you guys are just looking for reasons to hate the movie.

Not at all. A movies job is to make us fall in love with it. Because when you're in love with something or someone, you don't notice or care about its flaws. Hell, those flaws can even seem charming.

But if, for whatever reason, a movie doesn't make you fall in love with it (and considering how individualistic people are, there's always someone who won't), then those flaws become glaring beacons of "what the fuck."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on December 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


I did't see any sparks before that, only a sort of realationship between two busy people engaged on the same important task

"Realationship" is a terrific typo to describe this dynamic. No sparks, no, but it seemed to me that Jyn and Cassian got closer together as the movie went on, as in going from being shot separately to being in the same shot to brushing up against each other to extended contact. I still think I saw the beginning of sparks extinguished on a lovely isolated beach. You know, not so much subverting a trope as exploding it with the white-hot heat of a thousand burning suns.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:37 AM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


I went again Monday night (partly because I actually did likeormaybeevenlove it the first time, and partly because we only recently discovered the reserved-ticketing, alcohol-serving, sofa-seating theatre near us and were eager to go again!!). My thoughts on second watch:
- K2-SO really is the greatest droid to ever droid. Droids are just way better when they're about 72% asshole.
- I counted 3 female fighter pilots, two female senator-types (Mon Mothma and Gold Cloak Lady), Jyn and her Mama, and Leia. In the entire film. That's.....even worse than I remember.
- Still more amazed than bothered by the CGI, but I'm not super sophisticated in my consumption of technical marvels, so I'm easy to please there.
- Chirrut and Baze as space husbands is totes a thing. Their relationship and dynamic (and the performances by the actors) are really great.
- I did find myself noticing the hollowness of Jyn's character even more this time around. I will be VERY curious (and hopeful!) to see if they ever release a cut that includes some of the material they shot of Jyn as an apathetic petty criminal type...because the more I think about it, the more I would LOVE to see even just a little bit of that being fleshed out. Jyn as this movie's (and therefore a darker, less campy, less flippant, more aware of the human stakes and collateral damage) version of a Han Solo-esque cynic turned committed (but pragmatic rather than idealistic) resistance fighter would be a great story. Probably this is what they were going for anyway, but the cuts from Jyn's backstory really emaciate the potential for nuance and the ability for Jyn to be as morally ambiguous as the other characters (thinly sketched as they may be) are allowed to be. Couple that with the invisibility of women in the trenches of this film, and we get Jyn as instant saviour figurehead type, instead of Jyn as gradually persuaded former cynic. Her heroism should, I think, have come from her pragmatism, her grim determination, her willingness to do the thankless work on the ground and to put her experience and skills to use for a moral cause rather than for merely self-protection, and from her ability to be persuaded and to change...instead, without a chance to really see her as she was prior to her encounter with the rebellion, she falls too easily into the figurehead role. I can (and, because I really do like many things about this movie, am willing to) add in all that shading and backstory in my head, and it fits and it works...but cutting it all out is SUCH a puzzling choice by the filmmakers and editors. I want to know more about why that happened and who was calling the shots there.

Overall, I still really like the shift in tone and focus and maturity (maybe? Can I say with a straight face that a SW movie has maturity?) and sense of both broad and personal CONSEQUENCES and grey areas that this movie has. My appreciation of that shift in awareness helps to paper over some of the flaws, and makes me willing (like Brandon Blatcher mentions above) to do the imaginative work necessary to make slightly fuller people out of the figures we're presented with.

So I still do like it quite a bit, on second viewing. There are parts of it I liked (much) more than Force Awakens, but my heart is not exploding for Jyn the way it was for Rey. It really could have been, I think, and maybe - because she's got the potential to be darker and grittier and more complicated - I could have loved her even more than Rey. The potential was definitely there. As it stands, I loved the feel and tone and scope of this movie, but the hero didn't seduce me.
posted by Dorinda at 7:00 AM on December 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Mefi's own asavage reckons in his podcast that Chirrut and Baze are Kurosawa characters (like 3PO and R2).

The stardust thing made me think that Galen and Jen had a conversation about Carl Sagan sometime in a deleted scene before the movie started. Calling her starstuff would have been too on the nose.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:01 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have to say, if I gave my life to find the ultra-secret way to destroy the massive planet-killing weapon, and they somehow managed to destroy Alderaan anyway, which has to be considered to be a previously unthinkable act of genocide, I would be pretty pissed. I'd probably look for someone to haunt.
posted by maxsparber at 7:06 AM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Chirrut and Baze as space husbands is totes a thing.

That's exactly the impression I got as they were dying, reminded me of Midnighter and Apollo from The Authority comic book.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


...but my heart is not exploding for Jyn the way it was for Rey. It really could have been, I think, and maybe - because she's got the potential to be darker and grittier and more complicated - I could have loved her even more than Rey.

We saw Rey literally struggling for scrapes, living in near poverty, yet using her skills and intelligence to get by, while dreaming and waiting for a better life. Despite that harsh life, she was kind and had a sense of justice and fairness (saving BB8, a scene which illustrates who the character is as person)r. She was archetype hero down on her luck who we had no problem cheering for and loving.

Jyn was mostly a blank slate character wise. Yes, she clearly had a hard life, but we saw very little that showed her reaction to that life. Sure, she missed her father and was angry with Saw for abandoning her, but...! Nothing really rang out that indicated she as a character that wanted something better for herself and the world, which would have illustrated why she was so willing to go on literal suicide mission.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on December 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Was that hug at the end supposed to demonstrate a romantic connection between Jyn and Cassian?

Not everything has to be about romance.

They had done everything they could to fight their part of the battle, they were about to die and staring death in the face, and sought some final sense of comfort and humanity in each other. At least that's how I read it.
posted by phunniemee at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2016 [29 favorites]


Jyn was mostly a blank slate character wise. Yes, she clearly had a hard life, but we saw very little that showed her reaction to that life. Sure, she missed her father and was angry with Saw for abandoning her, but...! Nothing really rang out that indicated she as a character that wanted something better for herself and the world, which would have illustrated why she was so willing to go on literal suicide mission.

I think the best you can get from this has to be when Jyn is watching the hologram of her father. I'll be seeing it for the second time this weekend, but if I remember accurately, Felicity Jones really pulled up some emotion for Jyn's reaction to seeing and hearing her father, as well his message. When it goes off prematurely, you can sense that Jyn wanted so much more. Tack that on with her last encounter with her father on Eadu, and that flips the switch from being the woman who had lost everyone who mattered to taking on a mission that might require her sacrificing everything that remained.

I say this as someone who really liked the film, but definitely agree that Jyn's character arc from someone who keeps her head down, not caring about the rest of the world, to inspired rebel was extremely rocky. We have to accept what we're given and I think it's enough when you look at the character and the type of movie Rogue One ended up being. When I think of similar films, be it The Magnificent Seven or The Dirty Dozen, they're not necessarily films that are allowed to spend that much time delving into their main characters. Just ask yourself how much we really knew about any of the characters in The Fellowship of the Ring (you know, a group of freedom fighters banding together on a suicidal mission to stop the bad guy from tapping into a super weapon that could destroy the world?)?
posted by Atreides at 8:01 AM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Now I'm starting to wonder if the filmmakers knowingly skipped over the usual characterization steps because everyone was going to die at the end--either through laziness (the audience doesn't have to love them; they'll never see them again!) or unwillingness to make the watching experience quite that dark (we can't have millions of kids fall in love with these characters then watch them die!). One thing Disney definitely knows how to do is create relateable characters, so it seems like this must have been intentional, albeit mistaken.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:21 AM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: We saw Rey literally struggling for scrapes, living in near poverty, yet using her skills and intelligence to get by, while dreaming and waiting for a better life.

Ok, this nails it for me.

I really liked Rogue One, but it never gave its characters time to breathe and expand and fill out the spaces in my head. Instead, it was one frenetic action scene after another. It was a fun action movie in the Star Wars universe, for some grim definitions of fun.

The Force Awakens, on the other hand, really spent some time with Rey, just hanging back and letting us experience the life of a struggling salvage girl with big dreams who sees her future written in the faces of the other salvage workers around her. In retrospect, those five minutes made me care - at the end, when she is finally face to face with Luke, holding out his lightsaber, that has investment paid off.

With Jyn, I cared about her on the tower, limping over to get the transmission going, but nowhere near as much.

And on preview:
> Now I'm starting to wonder if the filmmakers knowingly skipped over the usual characterization steps because everyone was going to die at the end [...] unwillingness to make the watching experience quite that dark (we can't have millions of kids fall in love with these characters then watch them die!)

- well, wow. I hadn't thought of that.

(I promise you nothing about these filmmakers was lazy.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:26 AM on December 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just ask yourself how much we really knew about any of the characters in The Fellowship of the Ring (you know, a group of freedom fighters banding together on a suicidal mission to stop the bad guy from tapping into a super weapon that could destroy the world?)?

I feel like we knew a lot about Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, and Gandalf from the start, and more as time went by. The Frodo/Samwise relationship is well-known for its intense friendship. We have very different takes on Fellowship.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:26 AM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Merry and Pippin are almost entirely defined as goofy, hungry, and having Irish or Scottish accents.
posted by maxsparber at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


And don't get me started on Tom Bombadil

Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!
posted by maxsparber at 8:32 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mefi's own asavage reckons in his podcast that Chirrut and Baze are Kurosawa characters (like 3PO and R2).

I believe Donnie Yen said so too in Apocryphon's linked interview.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:33 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


We have to accept what we're given and I think it's enough when you look at the character and the type of movie Rogue One ended up being.

Pardon me for sounding glib, but no we don't. It's fine if you do obviously and it's great that some people found R1 very enjoyable. But there's no requirement that we have take what any movie arc offers, as it's incumbent on the creators to sell the story and plot.

Just ask yourself how much we really knew about any of the characters in The Fellowship of the Ring (you know, a group of freedom fighters banding together on a suicidal mission to stop the bad guy from tapping into a super weapon that could destroy the world?)?

That's not fair comparison, as we've had seventy years or so to become familiar with the story and character arcs.

But speaking as someone who hadn't read the original book before seeing the movie, I didn't have a problem the fellowship forming, nor need more characterization. Simply put, it was the right thing to do, so as warrior heroes, it wasn't odd that they would volunteer for the job.

In R1, it was odd because Jyn specifically wasn't any sort of hero, so yeah, there needed to be something to sell why should would become one. Noting much was needed, Han Solo certainly didn't need a 2 minute monologue to join the heroes in Star Wars. But Star Wars also didn't open on Han Solo as a kid and pointedly cover his back story.

I'm not wanting much here. The Empire stole Jyn's happy family, as it has done for others. A simple desire to strike a blow against just strong aggressor and show it's possible to fight back is plenty of reason and could have been covered in 30 seconds. That it wasn't is just odd, especially considering the lengths that TFA went to show Rey's motivations. Hell Guardians of the Galaxy took all of 30 seconds to explicitly explain Rocket Raccoons outlook on life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:34 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


No sparks, no, but it seemed to me that Jyn and Cassian got closer together as the movie went on, as in going from being shot separately to being in the same shot to brushing up against each other to extended contact. I still think I saw the beginning of sparks extinguished on a lovely isolated beach.

That's how I saw it, too--not so much a romantic connection as deep fellowship layered with an unspoken understanding that maybe, possibly, in another universe, there could have been sparks. That being said I can also get behind an entirely platonic reading, and like the ambiguity of it.

Mefi's own asavage reckons in his podcast that Chirrut and Baze are Kurosawa characters (like 3PO and R2).

Well, sure--I actually brought up Kurosawa's SW influence in the same paragraph I mentioned the space husbands thing. They can be a callback to a callback to a comedic device of a critically-acclaimed 20th century filmmaker and be space husbands, I don't see the contradiction there!

Now I'm starting to wonder if the filmmakers knowingly skipped over the usual characterization steps because everyone was going to die at the end--

I wonder whether the issue wasn't that Jyn Erso is female and therefore the original, sharper, more jaded version we saw in trailers was deemed "too mean and unlikeable" by focus groups.
posted by bettafish at 9:07 AM on December 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Jyn's character arc from someone who keeps her head down, not caring about the rest of the world, to inspired rebel was extremely rocky.

The Jyn/Saw meeting, I think, did a good job of foregrounding that she was alreadya rebel -- she'd spent years in a resistance cell earlier in her life, and only left it because Saw ejected her from it to (in his mind) protect her. She just wasn't inspired. It was the transition from personal rebellion against the Empire's authority, for the sake of personal survival, to looking outward to the wider world, and being willing to work with and trust this new group of rebels that wasn't well handled.

Her willingness, when directly confronted with it, to act to protect others -- the child who gets stuck in the firefight in Jedha -- felt like a decent segue into her willingness to act to stop the Death Star, despite perhaps preferring to stay out of the way. Her willingness to sacrifice herself for the cause of doing that? Not quite so cleanly conveyed. Her motivation to strike back against the Empire? That was very nicely shown. Her willingness to work with this particular group of people and accept that they can actually make a difference? Not as much. She's trusting the group that tried to kill her father? That sort-of-directly did kill her father, in the bombing (even though he was probably about to die anyway)?

It felt like the arc was going to be that no one believed her about the plans; and that she didn't trust them anyway but felt like she had to do something about them. That would be setup the ending a heist, rather than the out-and-out-space-and-land battle, with more of a get-in-and-get-out feeling rather than a suicide mission.

Which is perhaps to say: I am very, very curious what the movie looked like before the reshoots.
posted by cjelli at 9:09 AM on December 21, 2016 [11 favorites]


Which is perhaps to say: I am very, very curious what the movie looked like before the reshoots.

Evidently the first draft that was shown to the higher ups didn't have everyone dying at the end, as the director and writers didn't think they'd be allowed to do it. But in a meeting after that initial read, those higher-ups said "Oh, they have do have to die at end, right?" and so Gareth Edwards and the writers just ran with it after that. Kudos to Disney for that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:34 AM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Pardon me for sounding glib, but no we don't. It's fine if you do obviously and it's great that some people found R1 very enjoyable. But there's no requirement that we have take what any movie arc offers, as it's incumbent on the creators to sell the story and plot.

Not glib when responding to a poorly written sentence. I saw TFA multiple times, and I'll probably give Rogue One the same benefit. I'm really interested to see how it holds up on multiple viewings for me, as with TFA, it kind of keep building on its successful first impression. It could very well be that within a couple weeks, I may be completely converted to your position. ;)

In R1, it was odd because Jyn specifically wasn't any sort of hero, so yeah, there needed to be something to sell why should would become one. Noting much was needed, Han Solo certainly didn't need a 2 minute monologue to join the heroes in Star Wars. But Star Wars also didn't open on Han Solo as a kid and pointedly cover his back story.

I defer to cjelli's fantastic response.

Evidently the first draft that was shown to the higher ups didn't have everyone dying at the end, as the director and writers didn't think they'd be allowed to do it. But in a meeting after that initial read, those higher-ups said "Oh, they have do have to die at end, right?" and so Gareth Edwards and the writers just ran with it after that. Kudos to Disney for that.

I was definitely of the mind that Disney wouldn't want to kill everyone off and was kinda stunned watching it unfold one character after another.
posted by Atreides at 10:06 AM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I must have something wrong with me as I seem to be the only person who hated Sheldon-droid.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 10:56 AM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I imagine the original cut featured more of Saw as a terrorist not just a rebel with a goo monster and a spooky voice. In the clone wars he's often referred to as a terrorist and someone comfortable with the idea of civilian casualties to free his people. We also see in the early trailers him doing quite a lot of philosophizing about the nature of armed resistance "what will you become?" We also seem some ambush and fighting shots in Jedha that seem messier.

Allllll that was cut. We only see about 1 second of him with the shaved head. Seems like the changes were "rebels can't be terrorists... but they can all die, like heroes."

For my 2 cents I really liked it. But I always wanted a star wars "war movie" and that's what the last 70 minutes of this is.
posted by French Fry at 10:59 AM on December 21, 2016


I felt that there were definitely gaps & missed steps, especially in characterizations. Bodhi is one: his transition from scrambled-brains to dying heroically is entirely glossed over. And Jyn is the other: given her reaction to learning that Cassian was sent to kill her father, why is she suddenly ok with the Rebellion? Her experience with the Empire is that it took her family away; but that is also her experience with the Rebellion. In fact, she is right to more directly blame the resistance -- Saw abandoned her.

So I'm having a hard time seeing her go from "You people killed my father, you and your politics, it all just kills people!" to "I'm going to give my life to this effort!"

You can paper over some of that gap by pointing out that getting the plans means that the last 15 years of Galen Erso's life wasn't entirely wasted. Indeed, he wouldn't have died if he hadn't suborned Bodhi to defect.

But I don't see Jyn being committed to the cause, not on her own. She has no great reason to think the Empire is noticeably worse than the Rebellion, given what she has seen & experienced on her own.

Maybe if the movie had, as folks have said upthread, shown her struggling to survive in places like Jedha, suffering under the Empire's oppression, that might have helped. I don't know.

I wanted to like Jyn, but they don't give us a lot to hang her characterization on, and there are so damned few women in the movie as it is...

WHY ARE THERE SO FEW WOMEN IN THIS MOVIE!!
posted by suelac at 1:10 PM on December 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have such a split-brain on the presence of women in this movie. The me watching through the lens of being a big fan of the original trilogy (and with minimal exposure to the animated stuff) is giddy to see women AT ALL. I remember being excited that there was a female tech in Empire when I saw that as a kid.

The rest of me looks and shakes her head at it and wishes they'd done better because how did they not even have one of the Dirty Dozen be a woman? A few pilots and a few rebels but that was it.

I want more women in action movies - not just Strong Female Protagonist (who likely has daddy issues) operating in the World of Men.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:35 PM on December 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


You can paper over some of that gap by pointing out that getting the plans means that the last 15 years of Galen Erso's life wasn't entirely wasted. Indeed, he wouldn't have died if he hadn't suborned Bodhi to defect.

This is an interesting point for Jyn. Galen's decision to essentially abandon Jyn is premised on the idea that it has to be worth something, and that something being the ability to undermine the Empire's greatest weapon and tool to control its subjects. For Jyn, then, if her father's efforts fail to come to fruition, then her abandonment becomes a little more meaningless and random. I'd assume any child, whose parent purposefully left them wants some valid reason to exist for that decision. Jyn's subsequent life with Saw and then on her own comes to mean something more than life being cruel if it amounts to the destruction of the Death Star.
posted by Atreides at 2:57 PM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


The bit that made Jyn work for me was when she confronts Cassian about his orders to kill her father and he says basically "yup, but I didn't" and she decides that's not enough and says "You can't talk your way out of this" and Cassian responds that he doesn't need to, he's totally justified in what he did and what he was going to do. He's killed people for the rebellion, he's done bad things, and he's been fighting since he was 6 so maybe she should get over herself and decide what she really cares about.
And it's from that point that she changes utterly, realises that if she's going to fight she better go all the way.
She tried to take the moral high ground and Cassian straight up says no, you're not seeing a bigger picture, you're just seeing what you want to see from your perspective.

So she can go back to just ignoring the universe, letting the empire do what it wants, or she can actually honour her father and fight to finish his work.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2016 [17 favorites]


I suppose this is the best place to register my complaint about the shitty CGI monsters in this and TFA. Not the alien characters, which are great, but the mind-reading octopus in R1 and the tentacle monsters Han is smuggling in TFA. I expect a much higher level of CGI wizardry from movies of this caliber. I like Tarking and Leia. The monsters reminded me of prequel trilogy level garbage. Is there a part of the formula that requires stupid pointless monsters with awful SFX? ANH had the garbage pit monster, Jedi had Jabba's pet that Luke kills and the Sarlaac Pit. Was there anything in Empire? Anyway I hate those monsters too. They don't even make toys out of them Anyone have a thought? To ratchet up false tension?
posted by kittensofthenight at 5:19 PM on December 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Agree about Jyn's backstory, I would have loved a good montage of her growing up, as in the Rey montage at the beginning of TFA, which is the best part of that movie. Basically I want a live action Miyazaki film. A precocious lead, a world of wonder, abandoned tech and true neutral monsters. Imagine is Luke really was just a farm boy. No mystic shit. In isolation ANH still feels that way, none of the mythical baggage of the other films.

I wonder is Disney will release an extended edition? The last couple DC movies tried to fix their poor critical response with quickly released extended editions. I can't see Disney having that lack of QA though, they have a much deeper grasp of populist film making than any other corporation I can think of.

(TBH that's also how I play Bethesda games. I wish there were mods for making wildlife non-aggressive.)
posted by kittensofthenight at 5:37 PM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


(TBH that's also how I play Bethesda games. I wish there were mods for making wildlife non-aggressive.)

Not to derail, but that's totally a thing. Every Bethesda ElderFallScrollsOut game I've played I've used plugins to make the wildlife docile/friendly. Now if you're talking about the console versions of the games that have only recently gotten access to a select subsection of the mods that are out there, those types of mods are dead simple and should require none of the things that cause a mod to be PC only. It's not like you're adding a lightsaber which requires 3D assets and SFX that have to be vetted by Sony/Microsoft.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:58 PM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


(I was not aware, there are so many its hard to find specific concepts on steam workshop. Thanks! I hate killing bears and wolves.)
posted by kittensofthenight at 8:18 PM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have realized after rewatching a couple of trailers that the space scenes in R1 also have a somewhat different feel, more like the Battlestar Galactica reboot than other SW movies with whip flybys and other camera tricks you didn't see before in SW. I suspect that might be deliberate, part of the whole "war movie" idea and separating it a bit from the mainline (let's face it) dynastic SW line by giving it a grittier, more in the moment feel.
posted by Bringer Tom at 8:35 PM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have realized after rewatching a couple of trailers that the space scenes in R1 also have a somewhat different feel, more like the Battlestar Galactica reboot than other SW movies with whip flybys and other camera tricks you didn't see before in SW. I suspect that might be deliberate, part of the whole "war movie" idea and separating it a bit from the mainline (let's face it) dynastic SW line by giving it a grittier, more in the moment feel.

There's definitely a few zoom ins that I remember. The Clone Wars would sometimes use those type of techniques with their virtual camera.

Was there anything in Empire? Anyway I hate those monsters too. They don't even make toys out of them Anyone have a thought? To ratchet up false tension?


The Empire had the wampa that posed a real threat and then the thing that ate R2 on Dagobah, which wasn't any type of tentacle creature. There was the space slug. But he's cute, so I don't know if that meets your criteria.

The purpose of Saw's tentacle monster, as far as I can see it, was to show how far loss Gerrera was as a partisan. He had become paranoid enough that he no longer could trust anyone without exposing them to a creature that could inflict permanent brain damage. That's something the Rebel Alliance would never condone.
posted by Atreides at 9:13 AM on December 22, 2016


I definitely had the Wampa toy, so they did make those (I got into Star Wars after seeing RotJ at the pictures and Mum rather savvily picked up a load of ESB toys on the cheap).
posted by comealongpole at 9:49 AM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah the Rancor definitely had toy(s) as well.

Also, the Death Star playset had a dianoga to put in the trash compactor.
posted by Fleebnork at 1:24 PM on December 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


For the record, I am the type of fan simultaneously annoyed by the sheer number of callbacks, and really mad that for the second time in a row the perfect opportunity for Wedge Antilles to show up came and NO WEDGE. BETRAYAL.

You might want to blame Denis Lawson himself for this as he was approached to appear in The Force Awakens and turned it down, saying "it just would have bored me". Still, despite already being aware of and kind of appreciating Mr. Lawson's indifference toward, if not disdain for, Star Wars and his part in it, I did find myself hoping for a quick shot of Red Two once Red Leader and Gold Leader had appeared.
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 6:14 PM on December 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Y'all are being way too kind to CGI Tarkin by saying he lived in the Uncanny Valley. More like he lived in a PlayStation 4. But I guess that's what you get when the guy who invented Photoshop is co-writer, VFX supervisor and executive producer of your movie.
posted by Mothlight at 8:48 PM on December 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think that the Uncanny Valley that Leia fell into also has to do with the changed visual aesthetic between 1977 and now. I rewatched the original trilogy last year, and I was astonished at the amount and visibility of Leia's makeup--even when she was being tortured.

So if you want to make your CGI creation look like Leia from the first movie, she has to look like a dewey-eyed 19-year-old cover girl from 1977; but that's utterly out of place in Rogue One, where Jyn goes through the movie at best looking like she has no makeup on at all, and at worst she's actually dirty. As a result CGI-Leia really doesn't fit in at all, no matter how good the CGI is.
posted by suelac at 9:41 PM on December 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


I might've missed mention of it, but one thing this movie did was give a sort of plausible reason why the Stormtroopers in ep 4 sucked so bad. Most of the elite units were on the two destroyers that the Rebels crashed into the shield gate, and Tarkin killed the rest. Those who were pressed into action were rank and file conscripts on the Death Star garrison before the Empire regrouped for the next episodes.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 PM on December 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have realized after rewatching a couple of trailers that the space scenes in R1 also have a somewhat different feel, more like the Battlestar Galactica reboot than other SW movies with whip flybys and other camera tricks you didn't see before in SW.

I think, from memory, that Revenge of the Sith has a few quick zooms in its opening battle sequence. Its candy-coloured, doesn't let you focus on anything, cartoon battle sequence. But with quick zooms because war.
posted by crossoverman at 11:47 PM on December 22, 2016


So if you want to make your CGI creation look like Leia from the first movie, she has to look like a dewey-eyed 19-year-old cover girl from 1977; but that's utterly out of place in Rogue One, where Jyn goes through the movie at best looking like she has no makeup on at all, and at worst she's actually dirty.

Who's that then?

I don't know. She must be a princess.

Why?

She hasn't got shit all over her.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:51 AM on December 23, 2016 [15 favorites]


I like that stormtrooper theory, but also weren't they supposed to be letting the Rebels escape so that Tarkin could track the falcon back to Yavin IV?

Princess Leia: They let us go. It was the only reason for the ease of our escape.
Han Solo: Easy? You call that easy?
Princess Leia: They're tracking us.


Also, currently quite glad of my prosopagnosia, Tarkin and Leia looked fine to me.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:35 AM on December 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


The troopers who board the ship at the beginning of SW4 are really deadly. They wipe those rebels out. The only ones we see that kind of suck are the ones inside the death star, which if you think about it... how much man-to-man fighting did they actually expect inside the death star. Likely not the best guys. (also the letting them escape plot point)
posted by French Fry at 5:56 AM on December 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


The troopers who board the ship at the beginning of SW4 are really deadly.

And later:
"And these blast points, too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:26 AM on December 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


The couldn't hit Luke because they thought he was a Stormtrooper, but he was too short to be a Stormtrooper! It threw their aim off! It's all in the text of the movie!

HE WAS TOO COCKADOODY SHORT!
posted by maxsparber at 7:24 AM on December 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


So if you want to make your CGI creation look like Leia from the first movie, she has to look like a dewey-eyed 19-year-old cover girl from 1977; but that's utterly out of place in Rogue One, where Jyn goes through the movie at best looking like she has no makeup on at all, and at worst she's actually dirty. As a result CGI-Leia really doesn't fit in at all, no matter how good the CGI is.

No makeup, really? Even dirty she has an enviable smokey eye that made me wonder where she had gotten her eye makeup from and why she was carting it around with her across the galaxy. (to be fair, a problem with many movies).
posted by matcha action at 7:36 AM on December 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


Even dirty she has an enviable smokey eye

True, but it's a lot more quiet than Leia's makeup in the original, and since it's done to meet contemporary standards most people don't even notice it. And while I'm sure she has lipstick on, it's pretty subtle.
posted by suelac at 9:27 AM on December 23, 2016


It's "no makeup" makeup. Alan Tudyk was probably the only cast member not wearing makeup.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:17 AM on December 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


And he might well have been wearing hundreds of tiny ping pong balls.
posted by bq at 11:20 AM on December 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'll be in my bunk.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:48 AM on December 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Not sure where to put anything yet, but I'm seeing stuff on Twitter about Carrie Fisher suffering a heart attack while on a flight.
posted by nubs at 1:30 PM on December 23, 2016


2016 can you not
posted by zombieflanders at 1:33 PM on December 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Carrie Fisher heart attack story is on the tmz front page. As much as I loathe tmz - they unfortunately get these reports first. (EMT on flight supposedly helped/they did CPR on plane.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2016


If they did CPR....well, I'm feeling great disturbance in the Force. As if millions of people are all crying out. And then holding their breath.
posted by nubs at 1:42 PM on December 23, 2016


The CPR thing is extremely upsetting. Even in ideal circumstances, the rate of survival for people who receive CPR is only 37 percent, and these were not ideal circumstances.
posted by maxsparber at 1:42 PM on December 23, 2016


NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS.

(Fuck this year so hard.)
posted by entropicamericana at 2:33 PM on December 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


The AP is reporting that she's now in "stable condition" according to her brother (who is awesome IMO because he brought her famously adorable dog Gary to the hospital). No other news, though.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:09 PM on December 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just checked Google News and "Carrie Fisher Heart Attack" is hit #2 on the main page.

It is extremely Not Good. A transoceanic flight is exactly the last place on Earth you want to have a heart attack because there is no quick path to a cath lab. CPR is bad. Stopped breathing is bad. (For how long?) On a ventilator is extra bad.

My mother had an attack like this three years ago, except she had it at home and the EMT's were there within 45 seconds. They live within a mile of a very good modern hospital and she was in the cath lab within 5 minutes, with constant attention from the EMT's to the door of the surgery. All the medical people promised she would get through it once she was stented, and she died the next day.

Dec. 27 will be the anniversary. This is a hard season on my father nowadays.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:10 PM on December 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Additionally, FWIW, her brother also says she's "out of emergency." Lots of people repeating she's one with the Force and the Force is with her, she's one with the Force and the Force is with her.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:25 PM on December 23, 2016


Hit #1 now on GNews. Unfortunately "out of emergency" doesn't really mean anything. It probably means she's out of the cath lab and they didn't do a bypass, which could either be good news or very bad news depending. My mother was out of the cath lab and in a regular hospital room within an hour of her attack. But she was on a ventilator the rest of her hours; if Carrie is still on a ventilator (and they're not saying) then it's very bad. If she was not breathing for 10 minutes, as one witness claims, the chances of her ever waking up again are very small.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:08 PM on December 23, 2016


After reading all these comments I'm kind of embarrassed that I had no idea Tarkington was CGI. Vader's costume and dialogue were far more off-putting to me.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:16 PM on December 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Director Krennic and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
posted by ckape at 8:06 PM on December 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


For me, Baze Malbus' fights redeemed the "unassuming but badass Jedi does amazing physical feats" that were so tainted by the CGI muppet ping-pong ball Yoda scene. A solid reference to the martial arts elements that Lucas so loves, but without being slathered in Velveeta (fakest of fake cheeses).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:43 PM on December 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


After reading all these comments I'm kind of embarrassed that I had no idea Tarkington was CGI. Vader's costume and dialogue were far more off-putting to me.

I had no idea after the film either, and after reading the comments I was pleasantly surprised. Because while I did think his face was oddly lit, a bit too pink, but there was already so much else happening in the movie, and not having seen the original films, I actually thought/noticed, hey this older guy is a really good and watchable actor!
posted by polymodus at 12:49 AM on December 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bridge on the Planet Scarif
posted by clorox at 2:10 AM on December 24, 2016


Particularly, I feel that the war movie character that Jyn Erso most resembles is the American from Bridge on the River Kwai. Both are relatively selfish ne'er do wells pressed into service by virtue of their bad cover stories and unique knowledge (location of the bridge, familiarity with Saw). Both go into their missions with trepidation but end up giving their all for the cause. I realize it's not a perfect 1:1, but that's what I was thinking about throughout the movie.
posted by clorox at 2:22 AM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think Bridge on the River Kwai is a great analogy. Except I was thinking Galen Erso himself is more like the Alac Guiness character (who after all designed and oversaw the construction of the bridge on behalf of his enemies before, um, doing what he did, just as Galen designed and oversaw the construction of the Death Star.)

I think Jyn's motivation for taking on a suicide mission might just be that she was feeling suicidal anyway. Her initial apathy reads like a symptom of depression to me anyway ("What's the point? Nothing matters.") And then to lose her father in that way? And to hear the council decide to scatter their forces and give up? Making his death meaningless? Making everything meaningless? I think Jyn just doesn't see any reason to live under those circumstances. So why the hell not try to get those plans? So she dies trying, so what? But if she succeeds, then maybe something she and her father did had some meaning after all?

I think Jyn had plenty of motivation. Same as Cassian's. "It has to mean something."

I really liked it, in case you couldn't tell.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:30 AM on December 24, 2016 [12 favorites]


I mean if Bridge on the River Kwai Alec Guinness had been shot before his final scene... But his already depressed and lonely kid had a chance to finish what he was trying to do... Why not?
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:40 AM on December 24, 2016


Re: Vader's costume, here's an interview with the VFX supervisor.

I can overlook Vader's armor in Rogue One, the armor varies in every one of the films. It was pretty crude in Episode IV, and got upgraded quite a bit in Episode V, due to more money, skill and Lucasfilm resources. It's been tweaked a lot over the last 40 years. I did appreciate the more reddish lenses, which looked like Episode IV.

It's kind of a losing battle for the VFX guys because no matter how they choose to make it look, some fan is going to complain because it doesn't look the way they think it should look based on the story, setting or timeline.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:12 AM on December 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can we get a FPP about Carrie please? Seeing all these posts about this or that character's fighting style or cinematic parallels or good vs ungood CGI in the same thread we're talking about someone in critical condition is really jarring.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 6:17 AM on December 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


There was one. It was deleted because it felt a little tabloidy and gruesome to be discussing this much beyond sharing the fact that it has happened. And the sources of news right now are tabloids pretty much.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:26 AM on December 24, 2016 [5 favorites]




ChuraChura, the Antilles mentioned in the convo between Mon Mothma and Bail Organa is Bail Antilles, the captain of the Tantive IV who gets strangle-terrogated by Vader at the beginning of ANH.

Bail Antilles was the Senator from Alderaan who was mentioned or seen in Ep1. Tantive IV's captain was some other Antilles. I'm sure wookieepedia knows.

So are we all supposed to infer that the Tantive IV was docked to the Rebel flagship during the entire battle or did I miss something?

It was stuffed in the docking bay like Tachi inside Donnager in the Expanse.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:29 PM on December 24, 2016


This is Princess Leia we're talking about. She's holding on to deny 2016. Even if it takes her, it didn't take her without a fight.

May the Force be with her, and also with you.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:49 PM on December 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Saw R1 a second time. Without the trepidation of worrying how it would be, it is way way better. I found it really enjoyable.

It was a weird experience. A testament to how fucked up from the prequels I was/am that I was really ready, like short twitch muscle fiber ready, to hate it. Seeing it a second time, knowing that it wasn't a catastrophe of "sand-hate" I was very much free to enjoy it. I legitimately loved it on the second viewing.
posted by French Fry at 6:04 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I saw it for the second time yesterday, too, and I completely agree, I enjoyed it more the second time around. Some of the things which I had issues with seem to disappear. As is, my sister and brother-in-law both thought Tarkin was a real person until I told them he was completely CGI.
posted by Atreides at 6:45 AM on December 27, 2016


I did enjoy watching Krennic have a terrible time that got progressively worse until he suffered a direct hit from the Death Star.

The whole way file transfers work in the Star Wars universe has always been kind of weird, but apparently only one ship received the transmission, which can be detected remotely after the fact.

When Rogue One went through the shield I was wondering how they were going to get out, and by the time Blue Squadron made it in I was strongly suspecting nobody was going to make it off the planet, but I still harbored suspicions they'd find some way to escape up to the end.

One thing I noticed with the merchandising beforehand was that TFA was set decades later but was mostly the same spaceships as ANH, but this takes place mere days before ANH and features all sorts of never-before seen ships. I'm not really complaining because I love having new ships, but it is kind of weird.
posted by ckape at 7:46 AM on December 27, 2016


TFA was set decades later but was mostly the same spaceships as ANH

There are some noticeable design differences between ANH's X-Wings and TFA's X-Wings (mostly with respect to the engine pods), and the Star destroyers used by the First Order have a much lower profile on the bridge portion than the Empire's do. The TIE-Fighter's external silhouette didn't change much, but they at least gave it a new color scheme. Notably it did gain a second seat, hyperdrive, and shields.

Where as Rogue One gets the not previously seen U-Wing, and an atmospheric version of the TIE Fighter.

Both movies also get special VIP shuttles for the main baddies, and some miscellaneous cargo shuttles and troop carriers. about equal portions of each in both of the films.

Of course, it's the U-Wing and the TIE Striker that feel the most conspicuous in their absence through the original trilogy. Perhaps the Rebellion lost all their U-Wings during the battle of Scarif, and since the war had gone hot on a wide scale, they may have had difficulties in acquiring new ones. Hoth was probably too cold for them. We probably should have seen TIE Strikers on the Forrest Moon in RotJ, but the fact that there were the more standard TIE Fighters patrolling instead might be because it was part of the Emperor's plan, he'd rather have craft that are better suited for space, to join in the battle when the Rebels fall into his trap.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:28 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Carrie Fisher has reportedly died. (not feeling up to doing a FPP - I assume someone else is already working on a better one than I'd do)
posted by rmd1023 at 10:07 AM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Came in to report that as well. I also am not feeling up to the FPP.

she'll always be royalty to me
posted by French Fry at 10:14 AM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 10:19 AM on December 27, 2016


From the obit thread, there was mention that people were finding out while waiting for Rogue One to start. I can't imagine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:32 AM on December 27, 2016


they're going to bawl at the end :'-(
posted by numaner at 12:17 PM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that was us today. I cried at the end. She's the last person in the credits too. My brain subbed in a "for". OK I'm crying now too.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:56 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:09 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Of course, it's the U-Wing and the TIE Striker that feel the most conspicuous in their absence through the original trilogy.

As I understand it, the idea is that the U-wing is used for specific purposes, none of which arise in the original trilogy. It's not explicitly a fighter, so unless it's working as a small shuttle for insertion of troops, it's not used. The TIE Striker, according to the Visual Guide for Rogue One (something 95% of the people who watch the movie will never pick up), is essentially an experimental craft that's actually frowned upon by the higher ups due to its capacity for multiple tasks, where as the Empire prefers ships (and vehicles) designed for specific tasks - the Empire can afford the extra costs, as opposed to the Rebel Alliance.

The underlining philosophy in response to "Why isn't it in the original trilogy?!" is essentially, "It's either very rare or there was no need for it in the situations that arise in those films."
posted by Atreides at 7:18 AM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I loved it. Easily the best space battle since the Battle of Endor. The deaths of the Rogue One squad left me more invested in the Rebellion than anything in the Star Wars canon to date. There was so much value in offering a story about the trenches of the Galactic Civil War. As one of the linked articles above noted, the characters in the original trilogy were relatively above the fray. So while I agree the characters weren't well developed, their story still managed to suck me in.

My biggest question was why did Vader have to board the Rebel cruiser to find the plans? If he knew they were there, why not just destroy the ship?

Also seeing Vader turn on his lightsaber at the end packed such a huge punch because it was the only time we see one in the movie.

I think the smarter choice for Jyn's character development would have been to open with her as a 16 y/o fighting with Saw. Fill in some of her backstory with some dialogue between Saw and Jyn, maybe a flashback later (which we get anyway) but leave it at that. Then she does something questionable that shows Saw what she will become if she stays with him, so he leaves her to save her. Then when she seems him again during the events of the movie, and what he has become, she understands what he tried to protect her from.

That would nicely set up a parallel between Anakin/Luke and Saw/Jyn and emphasize that you don't need to be one with the Force to feel the struggle between the Light and the Dark, fitting it quite nicely into the overall theme of the Star Wars story. That tension is still in R1, but not nearly as foregrounded.
posted by dry white toast at 8:03 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, also, when the Stormtroopers find K2 in the archive control room and he starts saying "the rebels...", did anyone else wonder if he was going to say "...they're here" a la Eddie Izzard?

Now THAT would have been fanservice!
posted by dry white toast at 8:06 AM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just saw it for the first time last night. The Vader choke pun was so awful it ruined the scene for me. We've never had even a glimpse that he has a sense of humor. It would have been less distracting if he had shouted "Now this is podracing!" while choking the director.

The first scene with Tarkin was in the Playstation Final Fantasy uncanny valley but the rest were passable. I can't judge the Leia scene at all because the emotional response of seeing Carrie Fisher's face.

Why was Bodhi Rook wearing shop safety goggles the whole time and how long was he on the run? His appearance looks like he's a few months past his last imperial grooming standards inspection.

The whole mind octopus thing doesn't sit right with me as well. Did they actually get any plot development out of that? They make a point that he's already volunteered the breadcrumb they need but our protagonists push forward with the psychic assault. After it's over they show one shot of his post interrogation trauma and then it's forgotten. I didn't notice any lasting ill effects and Bodhi shows nothing but loyalty and cooperation with the very characters that did it to him.

I enjoyed it and will probably order up a copy for the home library. I'm still not sure where it sits on the ranking of Star Wars movies but I'm looking forward to more seasons of the Expanse over any future Star Wars films.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:08 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


We've never had even a glimpse that he has a sense of humor.

“I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.” , "I find your lack of faith disturbing.", and "The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am." are pretty dry but definitely jokes. Plus the time when he chokes the officer to death and the walks away saying to the dead guy's assistant, "you're in command now" is pretty funny.
posted by octothorpe at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yeah, come on. "Apology accepted, Captain Needa..." anyone?
posted by Behemoth at 11:24 AM on December 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Point taken. He probably started the dry sarcastic asshole shtick when he realized his crappy puns weren't landing.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:33 AM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I love puns. I laughed out loud in the theater at that pun, and it reminded me of all the times Vader was a dry-wit asshole to Lando and other flunkies. It was great!
posted by numaner at 11:45 AM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I thought Rogue One was a satisfying exercise in logic. It really neatly embeds itself into the main narrative and supports Star Wars proper.

It made me want to rewatch Star Wars so… MISSION ACCOMPLISHED !!!
posted by mazola at 9:51 PM on December 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Aside: I'd like to be able to Force choke hold people when my puns don't land.
posted by mazola at 9:52 PM on December 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


It was nice to feel a bit of menace from Vader again. My first reaction was, oh my God I can't take him and his tantrums seriously anymore, HEY ANI, WANT SOME SAND? But then I realized how we were approaching the scope, the events of the first movie, and I felt that old stirring. They made him work.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:33 PM on December 28, 2016


Idle star wars shower thoughts, but what if in the Star Wars Galaxy human's are just exceptionally easy to clone.
Like, the clone trooper army was human because humans are just the simplest template to clone.

Furthermore, perhaps every few hundred years someone gets the idea to churn out a clone army, and of course it's always humans because they're so easy to clone. The war happens, the clones wander off to have lives of their own, and that's why there are just SO MANY humans in the Star Wars Galaxy.

Further, Furthermore, what if so many aliens look like "Humans but with x" (where x is, tentacles, greenskin, wierd eyes, etc) because Humans are a simplified template created specifically to be simple to clone and to look a little bit like whoever they want to sell them to.

What if I had another cup of coffee and actually did some work instead of thinking about star wars.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:11 AM on December 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


So Rogue One explains away why and how you can blow the Deathstar up in a single shot.

Rogue Two should be about infiltrating and manipulating the Imperial high command to really believe that a second death star is a good idea. A scrappy band of rebels infiltrate Imperial high command structures, work hard, get promoted through deceit and skulduggery. (Turns out Admiral Ozzel really was a rebel agent).
The whole film is a series of vignettes showing a Rebel network growing inside the Empire, culminating in a final scene of Jerjerrod (the head of the Rebel operation) getting the project Gantt Chart formally approved.

Rogue Three is, of course, an instructive film on workplace management techniques as Jerjerrod continually implements policies which sound great on paper but which are designed to deliberately slow down construction.
In particular, he spends a lot of time ensuring that there are no safety harnesses or guard rails and that sometimes doors just lead to sheer drops.
The antagonist of the film is a health and safety analyst who keeps insisting that the number of slip, trip and fall injuries is far higher than it should be.
Jerjerrod makes his entire workforce assemble in the hanger in neat rows whenever any shuttle arrives.
The film viewpoint shifts between Jerjerrod, the H&S analyst and a ragtag team of welders who have no idea what they're building, but are constantly frustrated by the interminable toolbox talks, rostering meetings and aforementioned hanger assemblies. They never weld anything.

So.. yeah, coffee, and some work....
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:38 AM on December 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


Vader's jokes are his way of reminding his subordinates that they're so far beneath him they're not worth the effort of good humour, and there's nothing they can do about it. They can't even laugh! It's great.

I just saw it tonight and liked it; the best film in the series since 1980. It had its problems, and parts of it were super clumsy: CGI Leia and Tarkin, the rebel council meeting, the bit with the master switch, the bit with the antenna reset console at the end of the walkway for no reason, the magical blind warrior monk, yet another difficult relationship with dad, etc. And the end didn't match up very well with the beginning of the first film, where it seemed pretty clear that Leia's "consular ship" had received the plans covertly instead of fleeing a space battle with them on board. Oh well. There were plenty of good parts:

- the best space battle since ROTJ! So much better than the prequels' hyperactive laser disco, or TFA's x-wings snapping up tie fighters like swallows picking insects out of the air.

- Cassian executing the injured guy in the alley. Brutal. Sets up his character perfectly. Almost makes up for Greedo shooting first.

- the rebels making hard decisions, and not always choosing well.

- the ground attack on the engineering archives may not make a huge amount of sense, but it makes more sense than the ground attack on Laser Moon 3 in TFA.

- the technology is right; it's all either from the original films or seems like it belongs in the same world, like the automated vertical filing system at the end.

- K2SO is the best. The perfect bridge between C3PO and Creepio. "I can survive in space" - yes you can, you awesome robotic sociopath.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:49 AM on December 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


Rogue Two should be about infiltrating and manipulating the Imperial high command to really believe that a second death star is a good idea.

Star Wars: Rogue Executives: OSHA Strikes Back
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:15 AM on December 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Since everyone seems to hammer at this point I'd like to offer this defense: the antenna reset is placed at the end of that walkway because from there you can actually see the antenna above and can tell that it's being reset, rather than relying on a monitor underneath which (given their technology at that point) can only show you that it's either working or not. Engineers routinely rely on sight to see that a thing is how it's supposed to be, and that thing having handrails should tell you how frequent they probably have to reset the damn thing.
posted by numaner at 7:22 AM on December 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


The Imperials placing a switch in an unnecessarily dangerous spot is such a break from precedent, innit?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:29 AM on December 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


And the end didn't match up very well with the beginning of the first film, where it seemed pretty clear that Leia's "consular ship" had received the plans covertly instead of fleeing a space battle with them on board.

It's sort of technically correct. In Ep IV he says, "Several transmissions were beamed to this ship by Rebel spies."

In Rogue One, of course, they were beamed to the bigger ship Tantive IV was docked inside of.

And there was definitely a battle.
Episode IV: A NEW HOPE

"It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy...."
posted by Fleebnork at 7:34 AM on December 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's sort of technically correct.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Making a new movie to match up with already made movie that wasn't designed to have a past will always cause plot holes. Rogue 1 is no exception here. It's ok if people love the movie, which many do for R1. But if people don't love it, those plotholes become very noticeable and jarring.

Rogue 1 is best seen as prequel done right, unlike some other films.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 AM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


A critical obituary for General Leia Organa. (putting here instead of the Fisher obit post since it's her character, not her)
posted by rmd1023 at 8:11 AM on December 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Just watched the movie yesterday and meh, it was OK. I can't help but feel if it weren't set in the Star Wars universe we know and love it'd just be a sort of middle of the road sci-fi action flick. Like everyone said, the pacing felt off. Relentlessly full of action and at the same time, tedious. All that shooting and running was exhausting, couldn't we spend some time developing characters?

But it is in the Star Wars universe, and that redeems the movie somewhat. For me mostly on the periphery. I was eye-rolling at the Blind Shaolin Monk thing, but having Chirrut grounded in Jedi religion sort of made it work. And his offhand comment that his Space Husband used to be the most devout of the guardians but had lost his way combined with Baze's edge-of-death reconversion to The Force was the closest the movie had to a genuine emotionally touching moment.

Also loved K-2SO. Mostly because they didn't overdo it. I was expecting/hoping an HK-47 homage, complete with "meatbags" fan service quotes. Instead K-2SO is just sort of broken and awkward, a perfectly genial affectless murder droid. He's the one character where not being developed actually makes sense; he's an Imperial Droid, he does not have a rich emotional inner life.

Seeing the movie the day after Carrie Fisher died, her animated young CGI face was sort of a gutpunch. It felt in poor taste in that moment. I wonder, do actors get paid for being reanimated in a film?
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on December 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


I saw it yesterday.

I liked it. Maybe more then I would have if I wasn't seeing it the day after Carrie Fisher died. There were warts and I agree with some of the negative reactions here primarily 'where are the women? Come on' but it did do some things that I liked and wanted.

I really felt that this was a movie about what the 'regular' people did in the rebellion. I realized that I didn't really want or need to big hero trope archetypes because this was or should be a story about the everyday people, fighting for what is right and just doing what needed to be done. I think this is partly a reaction directly related to current events as well as a desire to show on screen that a 'rebellion' is a whole lot more then a couple of key heroes.

I'm not sure if Rogue One was trying to do this but either by choice or accident they almost got it done right. I found the scene where Cassian pledges he an others to Jyn jarring because it took me right out of the this idea of multiple people just doing necessary things and suddenly into a story about a single special snowflake hero thing. I actually thought 'wait Jyn is supposed to be the special leader that pulls it all together?' 'What? No that's not right.'

This movie made me actually feel the sacrifice that members or the Rebel forces and I'm thinking that now I'm going to better feel it through the rest of the movies. It's not that we didn't see lots of people dying in the other movies only that to me at least they felt more like props then real people because of who the focus is always on.

I joked on the way home that we finally got a Star Wars movie made from the perspective of the 'Red Shirts'.

I also liked getting to see the world that we either got a glimpses of in other movies or heard of more in depth. I'm generally super geeky about every day world building stuff and getting to see more of the rebel base on Yavin 4 was just awesome. I didn't realize how much I wanted to see more of that place until I saw it and I geeked right out.

I went in knowing that a lot of the characters died but not all of them. It was jarring because it is unusual. The big escape at the last minute is a trope in itself. I am sad that they all died but only from the perspective that I would love to have another tale of what some of these more regular people did while Leia and Crew were out swashbuckling the main plot.

Mostly this movie just made me realize that I really want to see more of what I would call secondary Star Wars stories.
posted by Jalliah at 10:49 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


A critical obituary for General Leia Organa. (putting here instead of the Fisher obit post since it's her character, not her)

There's now a separate thread for this, "Neo-Sithism and Neo-Imperialism are the same ideology."

Also on the blue, "Hey, Willrow. Where you goin' with that ice cream machine in your hand?", which is about "the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck (Spoilers)"
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:38 PM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's sort of technically correct. In Ep IV he says, "Several transmissions were beamed to this ship by Rebel spies."

In Rogue One, of course, they were beamed to the bigger ship Tantive IV was docked inside of.

And there was definitely a battle


Good point! I take that back.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:16 PM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I did not realize this until now, numaner, but after reading your earlier explanation of the antenna walkway I desperately want to read regular entries in a blog that covers engineering design in the Star Wars universe. Will you please start to write one?
posted by seasparrow at 4:26 PM on December 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


I would enjoy contributing to such a blog.
(and only partially because I would rather do ANYTHING instead of writing this damn H&S report... which is why I am still writing this damn H&S report)

A few people (me included) have mentioned that they'd like to see an in-universe documentary (shot from various viewpoints, so that it includes in-universe bias), but I think it would be neat to have a bunch of in-universe engineering institute type stuff. The star wars universe might be the only universe that is big enough, diverse enough and also so completely uncoupled with our own universe where you could really develop this in-universe metafiction to such a thorough degree.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:32 AM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would really like to see an Office-style comedy set in the SW universe.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:17 AM on December 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Stormtrooper confession cam: "Pretty proud of that one, actually. For weeks, I've been adjusting the sights on all the units' blaster rifles a little bit to the right each day. Today after we blew up Alderaan, I reset all the sights."
posted by Behemoth at 8:24 AM on December 30, 2016 [12 favorites]


Just got out. Enjoyable, but yeah - shallow characterization. K2 is the standout, followed by the wonderful couple of Baze and Chirrut.

The first hour is limp, and I think partly because it is focused on the wrong things. The movie didnt need to establish the stakes; the audience knows the Death Star and what it can do. It should've gone more Dirty Dozen style and spent the first hour making me care about the characters as they rehearse and plan for their mission; then when it all goes to shit, at least I care. They could have also dropped Krennic's no-good, very bad, horrible, rotten day subplot and not lost anything. Side Benefit of losing creepy CGI Tarkin.

Vader showing up and messing up everyone's shit was nice, and the whole battle of Scarif was really well shot. Also, not sure if they resampled or what, but the voices for Gold Leader and Red Leader sounded bang on to my ears.

Anyways, movie finished and we walked out under a Star Wars worthy sky - twilight in the west, with only a fingernail moon and what I think was Venus visible in the darkening sky.
posted by nubs at 5:07 PM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, and Vader's mask didn't bother me - it was his walk in the scene on Modor Mustafar. Way too much swing in the hip.
posted by nubs at 5:39 PM on December 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would really like to see an Office-style comedy set in the SW universe.

MICHAEL SCOTT: "So, this is my SECOND code cylinder, it's a big deal..."

JIM HALPERT: "The Rebellion cracked any sort of crypto we had. Code cylinders are useless unless you want to know which Officer takes the fewest bathroom breaks."

DWIGHT SCHRUTE: "Word's come down from on high that pig-wookie is the order of the day for secret communications. I'm effortlessly fluent in pig-wookie. OOOOOWWWWW-ay, aaaaaaaRRRRRRRoooWWW-ay! Well, it will come down from on high."

MICHAEL SCOTT: "They gave me this plaque for efficiency! Lord Vader actually, himself, looked at it and nodded, or so I do truly believe."
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:58 PM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'd second the idea of a The Office - style examination of the SW universe. Was just thinking about something similar after reading this entire thread. Maybe not as a sitcom, but how the Empire's management style would lead to ineffective labor and sabotage.

Individuals are not encouraged to pursue initiative, and are not given much ownership over their work. Failure frequently leads to terrible consequences. The guys at the top, Vader and the Emperor, will execute those perceived as failures. I'm sure the Empire is full of middle-managers who slavishly emulate those at the top. Even if those middle-managers don't have the authority to pass death sentences, their emulation will still lead to incredibly toxic environments.

Even the lack of basic workplace safety gives everyone the idea they're merely fodder. There's no reason to give more than the minimum required to stay alive and keep the paychecks coming. And the high pressure environment is going to easily lead to frequent fuck-ups from tired frightened workers and deliberate shoddy reactor designs because the engineer is mad at his boss, and there's absolutely no recourse.

And as a side note, I keep thinking about the Empire's dedication to large, monumental projects at the expense of practicality or even purpose. Not just the obvious Death Star, but even something like the archive in R1. Would have been much better in a vault and not a massive and easily targeted tower. Or something like the AT-AT. Very intimidating but highly impractical.

The Empire has quite a few parallels with the Soviet Union, North Korea, and even Scientology in terms of being incredibly self-destructive with terrible management, harsh devaluation of individuals in all aspects, and pursuit of flashy useless projects whose sole purpose is to impress the leadership but acts as a poor substitution for actual innovation. And there's no real innovation because everyone is too terrified of the consequence of failure.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:26 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, not sure if they resampled or what, but the voices for Gold Leader and Red Leader sounded bang on to my ears.

Gold and Red Leader were archival footage. Since they likely shot their cockpit scenes in front of blue screen, it was relatively easy for VFX to add them.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:57 AM on December 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think right afterwards, I called it a "perfectly serviceable Star Wars film." That's about as far as I'm willing to go. It's basically Redshirts: The Movie and I guess everyone dying at the end is the excuse for no-one having much in the way of characterization. I won't hate rewatching it when my son turns Star Wars Obsession age (on the other hand, I'm going to see how long I can keep the existence of SW1-3 a secret from him) but I probably won't go out of my way to see it again. Unlike TFA which I saw twice in theaters (rare for me now that going to a movie is a bit of a logistical undertaking given existence of preschooler).
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:38 AM on December 31, 2016


Gold and Red Leader were archival footage. Since they likely shot their cockpit scenes in front of blue screen, it was relatively easy for VFX to add them.

They did get the original actors in for a couple of new lines apparently as well as using the archive footage.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:59 AM on December 31, 2016


I finally saw this and I wish someone had told me it was going to be such a fucking bummer. I thought it was a very well made film, but I just didn't need that in my life right now. I was very impressed at how it looked at the SW timeline in a new light, but... This is just not what I want from Star Wars.

Something like KOTOR 2 managed to feel dark and subversive on a level I appreciated more.
posted by selfnoise at 9:04 AM on December 31, 2016


So, it's not an office parody, but have y'all seen the "COPS" parody in the Star Wars universe, "Troops"?
posted by rmd1023 at 10:24 AM on December 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


I finally saw this and I wish someone had told me it was going to be such a fucking bummer. I thought it was a very well made film, but I just didn't need that in my life right now.

Yep. I guess people were trying to avoid spoilers, but all I heard was stuff like, "It shows you more of the grim side of war.", which, no, not really, just more protagonists died.

Really wasn't in the mood for that much of a bummer.
posted by ODiV at 11:32 AM on December 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know why people think Vader is humorless. He has a well-documented history of pranking.
posted by duffell at 10:50 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


So, the hubs and I went to see this yesterday (it's our tradition to go see a big spectacular movie in the theater on New Year's Day). Chatting with a friend on Boxing Day, I self-spoilered the ending, based on a comment he made. Without going into specifics (because I didn't push it), he confirmed my guess that it was a "riverrun past Adam and Eve" sort of thing, and said the ending had made him tear up, and go straight home to rewatch ANH. I thought R1 was going to end with a recreation of that iconic shot at the beginning of ANH where the star destroyer just keeps looming bigger and bigger. Instead we got Leia. (Honestly, I thought she was probably CGI-ed from existing old footage of Carrie Fisher, like they did with that guy in the Fast and Furious moves.) And maybe I'm just a huge sap, and yeah it was maudlin, and yes the theater played the Google "Year in Search" 2016 ad before the previews to soften me up, and I got choked up at Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa, and K-2SO dying, and all the other characters dying .... but Carrie Fisher is really dead, and I cried my eyes out.

(Also, YES, WHERE WERE THE WOMEN REBEL VOLUNTEERS, DAMMIT!)
posted by mon-ma-tron at 11:10 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]


There's been a few comments complimentary of how the movie told the story of rebels 'in the trenches' so to speak. If you enjoyed that aspect, I strongly recommend reading Alexander Freed's Battlefront: Twilight Company.

I held off reading this one because I thought it was just a silly video game release tie-in novel...and the second I began reading it, I instantly regretted taking so long to pick it up. Twilight Company is a novel about the Rebel Alliance's 61st Mobile Infantry and is written around almost completely brand new characters. There's the occasional cameo, some obvious, others not as much, but it's fantastic writing and drops you right smack into the literal trenches of the Galactic Civil War.

Honestly, as I watched Rogue One, I pretty much began to think of it as "Whoa, it's Twilight Company!"

Unsurprisingly, Freed was chosen to write the novelization of Rogue One, which in itself is an entertaining read, even if you've seen the movie.

I watched the movie for the third time on New Year's Eve, and the more I watch, the more I accept CG Tarkin and actually, continue to enjoy the film even more. It was the first time seeing the film after Ms. Fisher's passing and the end had me choking down a bawl.
posted by Atreides at 8:54 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


So caught this again today because my Mum was down and wanted to visit. Still enjoyable, but man alive the total lack of female characters is so apparent. In Star Wars universe, clearly on 3% of the population is female - where are all the women at yo? It was particularly annoying with Gaelin's team of engineers all being old dudes, and every. Single. Fucking. Soldier on the planet at the end being dudes. Ugh.

The wafer-thin characterisation again stood out for me. Read a nice breakdown of it and its problems by fantasy author Django Wexler here.
posted by smoke at 10:38 PM on January 3 [9 favorites]


Interesting article about the editing process during and after reshoots.

I'm conflicted about a director asking for a story reel made from other movies. I feel like a Star Wars film and a good director should show us something we've never seen before... even though the story reel technique was how the original Star Wars was edited (lots of footage from Dam Busters and other WWII air combat films were used as references for effects shots for the attack on the Death Star).
posted by infinitewindow at 11:01 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Interesting article about the editing process during and after reshoots.

That is interesting! As weak as some of the character development is in the final version of the film, it sounds like the pre-reshoot version was even less coherent.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:59 PM on January 4


That Django Wexler article about the slim-to-nonexistent characterization in this movie is spot on. Thanks for the sharp link, smoke.
posted by mediareport at 8:00 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


I'm conflicted about a director asking for a story reel made from other movies. I feel like a Star Wars film and a good director should show us something we've never seen before... even though the story reel technique was how the original Star Wars was edited (lots of footage from Dam Busters and other WWII air combat films were used as references for effects shots for the attack on the Death Star).

It's just a technique, one that worked fine in Star Wars because that movie actually had interesting characters and bothered to develop one or two. R1 used a similar technique and just got weighted down by plot mechanics.

I was full of scorn for the technique after first reading the article, but it does make a certain sense. If directors need to show a gun battle in a hallway, why not look for previous examples of how long that takes/camera movement etc? I just wish they had started there with the idea of making something better.

In The Force Awakens, I can still recall the long tracking shot of Poe taking several Tie Fighters in the battle on the planet. It was amazing when I saw in the theaters and it's amazing now when I recall it. Can't think of a similar shot in R1, other than Darth Vader on his rampage. Which is interesting in that both of those scenes from the separate movies serve as both good action scenes and as illustrations of the character.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:13 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


In Star Wars universe, clearly on 3% of the population is female - where are all the women at yo?

I like to think that long ago in a galaxy far away there was a tropical single ecosystem planet called Crone Island.
posted by phunniemee at 6:28 AM on January 5 [12 favorites]


Hey, so uh, considering they destroyed Jedha, the traditional source of kyber crystals, wouldn't the most likely source of the crystal in Luke's second (green) lightsaber be the Death Star debris field around Yavin 4?
posted by ckape at 9:32 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Clearly we need another movie to explain how that occurred.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:31 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


I saw it again with a friend. I enjoyed it the second time, but this time I was less swept up in STAR WARS and more swept up in "Wait, why is Jyn the one giving the stirring speech?" and "Wait, why did they use the torture octopus on the pilot?" and "Wait, why would the empire blow up the city with all of their records if things have already been transmitted?" and, "Why didn't Cassian just shoot Galen?" And the lack of women seemed even more egregious now that I was keeping track from the beginning.

On the other hand, I don't think I appreciated the full range of 1970s facial hair during my initial viewing.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:12 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


Just saw this, and was really surprised by how boring I found it, especially given how enjoyable I thought Episode 7 was.

GOOD:
Vader's final hallway fight, which oddly felt the most like a snuff film out of any of the deaths onscreen; just a totally brutal inescapable force plowing through panicked soldiers realizing what's happening to them in a small confined space. Also K-2SO, who is now easily one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars (maybe second only to Yoda).

BAD:
most of the rest of it? Why are there only like five women in the movie? Why are there so few new cool aliens? Why not show the inside of the Kyber Temple? Why not give more backstory about the characters, who are basically uninteresting and totally interchangeable, personality-wise? How severe was Bodhi's brain damage after being tentacle-probed? What exactly was Bodhi's motivation supposed to be? Why on earth did Saw opt to get blown up? Isn't he supposed to be a super hardline fighter? Why does he just give up when he could easily hop on board the ship? Why do the rebels all come off like Space Marines on the beaches of Normandy? What kind of military strategy was that? Why are the x-wings dropping bombs on the energy shield instead of the metal ring making the energy shield? Why does the camera keep cutting to Jyn crying when Hannibal is saying how much he loves her, instead of just focusing on his monologue? Why on earth use CGI to make Tarkin? He looked like a fucking Avatar creature; why not just use a new different high-ranking Imperial guy, especially when you already get "callback points" for having Vader in the film? What was up with that one weird shaky split-second hand-held shot on the beach when the space marines are first deploying their grenades?
posted by Greg Nog at 5:58 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


so many good questions that will never have answers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Well my understanding is that the shield is generated somewhere on the surface, the ring is just used to pierce the shield (those two big bars they moved out of the way when they closed the shield). As to why Blue Squadron wasn't trying to target the generators from the inside, either they didn't know where it was or supporting Rogue One was just a higher priority.

But I suppose that was probably the least of your questions.
posted by ckape at 10:54 PM on January 7




I saw it for the second time today. First showing was 3D, but they're not showing it in 3D anymore so this time it was flat. I enjoyed it a lot more the second time. A few observations:
  • It was much easier to follow the story knowing who the characters were and what was happening ahead of time. It is a very, very dense story despite its length and if you miss any little thing you might miss bigger things in the later parts that depend on you paying close attention.
  • It's much brighter and easier to see flat than in 3D. 3D was more exciting, but flat was a lot easier to get the details.
  • CGI Tarkin and even CGI Leia looked fine, and this even though I knew they were CGI and looking for the flaws. There simply weren't any. Tarkin was kind of wooden but then that was his character. Leia was a bit jarring in 3D but this time she seemed fine. I suspect the CGI tech is not quite up to doing 3D yet.
  • The characterization is actually much deeper than it seems on a casual glance, because it is done in very brief scenes in a dense movie. The growing bond between Jyn and Cassian was visible. There were a couple of touchpoints that made Jyn's "sudden" conversion to the Rebel Alliance believable, but you could have easily missed them if you looked away at the wrong second. It's not that the things weren't done, but if you were seeing it for the first time with no bearings you would probably miss a lot of them.
  • The absolute mess war makes is more palpable than in any other SW series film so far. In particular the mess that is made when an aerial fighter crashes looks more like real life than ever before. It's not just a splash of light against a background, earth goes flying and flames fill the sky and the ground shakes and it's a big fucking deal.
  • It easily bears up to a second viewing because there is a lot of stuff going on, and especially if you see it without spoilers you will almost certainly miss half of it. I didn't realize until leaving the theatre the first time that it's over two hours long, because it doesn't really dawdle. Going 133 minutes without making you look at your watch is a good thing for any movie, and R1 did that for me twice.

posted by Bringer Tom at 3:02 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


My watching it in 2D must be why I'm the only person I know who thought Grand Moff Tarkin looked just fine. I was downright impressed, even.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:04 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I just saw it tonight, and because I was so late to the party I had been pretty spoiled. I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. I really care about good characterization and the biggest complaint I saw were that these characters were pretty lightly sketched in. It's true - Jyn is sort of a space in the movie, doing things but only rarely registering as a person instead of a plot engine (her scene with her father's hologram was pretty decent, as was her fight with Cassian in the stolen shuttle.) Cassian was a little more fleshed out, Space Husbands got by because the actors were so charismatic together, but poor Bodi really suffered. I ended up wanting to give him a hug and a shower, but I have no idea why he was the one that ended up defecting on behalf of Erso, why he was so loyal to the Rebellion after Saw sets his telepathic octopus on him, and how he ends up going on the final mission with the rest of the band of infiltrators. (Also I really did not like Saw, mostly because his voice was so odd and I missed half his dialogue and I couldn't understand why he just gave up instead of hopping on the ship with everybody.)

But. A big part of the reason I enjoyed it is that it was just such a visual feast. I was sort of drowning in the look of everything, I just wanted to walk around inside the universe and stare at things. I think I'd watch the movie again just for that. And the final battle and conclusion was really wonderful and heart-pounding.
posted by PussKillian at 8:05 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


My watching it in 2D must be why I'm the only person I know who thought Grand Moff Tarkin looked just fine

I saw it in 2D and he really hit the uncanny valley for me. Creepy.
posted by nubs at 9:00 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


I think Greg needs a second viewing with more focus, like Bringer Tom said :)

These I agree are terrible and the most probably answers are that they could've been done better:
Why are there only like five women in the movie?
Why does the camera keep cutting to Jyn crying when Hannibal is saying how much he loves her, instead of just focusing on his monologue?


These have actual answers, Brandon (you silly Valors)

Why not show the inside of the Kyber Temple?
- What would that add to the movie which is already pretty packed?

Why not give more backstory about the characters, who are basically uninteresting and totally interchangeable, personality-wise?
- They each had their own personality, I thought they were all pretty clearly laid out. The level of interest basically comes down to how much you find NPCs of an RPG interesting.

How severe was Bodhi's brain damage after being tentacle-probed? What exactly was Bodhi's motivation supposed to be?
- It left him with mild amnesia and disassociation. He explained that his motivation to help the rebels was because he looked up to Galen morally and it was an honor having Galen asking him to help.

Why on earth did Saw opt to get blown up? Isn't he supposed to be a super hardline fighter? Why does he just give up when he could easily hop on board the ship?
- Saw explained to Jyn that he was not going to run, because he's tired of running. And that the rebellion has turned him into who he is. He implores Jyn to not work for the rebels because she could follow down the same path. So I assume he doesn't really like who he's become. I believe he feels it's too late to change that and welcomed his death. Forest Whittaker could really emote.

Why do the rebels all come off like Space Marines on the beaches of Normandy? What kind of military strategy was that?
- The initial group came in with the Empire cargo ship, and on that base the landing pads are at those beaches. And the plan was that most of the group would stay out in the beach to pull troops away from the tower. When reinforcements managed to get past the shield, they dropped more rebels to support those guys, still keeping troops occupied at the beach and away from the tower. X-Wings were providing air support so they could afford to do such a dangerous drop, but also provide a glaring target for stormtroopers to focus on.

Why are the x-wings dropping bombs on the energy shield instead of the metal ring making the energy shield?
- They just didn't know any better. It was the initial bomb run where they did that. All the later ones they targeted the rings. Our main characters were also similarly surprised when they first came upon the planet. It's not like they could've relayed that message since they were supposed to have gone Rogue.

Why on earth use CGI to make Tarkin? He looked like a fucking Avatar creature; why not just use a new different high-ranking Imperial guy, especially when you already get "callback points" for having Vader in the film?
- Because of the timeline of the plot between this and IV, it makes more sense to position Tarkin in the middle of it, coming in charge of the Death Star. Callback points or not, they probably would've used him exclusively if it didn't require expensive CGI, instead of having to come up with Krennic as the primary antagonist. Although the advantage to that was having the bad guy die and give us a momentary satisfaction. The CG didn't look that bad to me, but I saw it in 2D.

What was up with that one weird shaky split-second hand-held shot on the beach when the space marines are first deploying their grenades?
- Every movie battle scene has to have at least one of these shots. It's like a Hollywood policy.
posted by numaner at 2:12 PM on January 9 [7 favorites]


Tarkin worked surprisingly well for me, although if I focused on the skin around his eyes the realization that he was CGI'd was more evident. I think my husband didn't realize it at all until I commented about it late in the movie. Leia, however, didn't work even in the split second - weirdly, I didn't even buy that it was her when all you see is her back.
posted by PussKillian at 2:44 PM on January 9


When I was watching it I actually thought that the actor playing Tarking was wearing a latex mask appliance, not CGI. So it still looked fake to me just in a different way that it was actually fake.
posted by octothorpe at 3:32 PM on January 9


These have actual answers, Brandon (you silly Valors)

Spoken like someone who can't cash out with 15 gyms.

He explained that his motivation to help the rebels was because he looked up to Galen morally and it was an honor having Galen asking him to help.

Exactly, we were told, not shown. That's the biggest problem here, the story feeds us tropes and expects to just take it from there. It worked for some, but clearly didn't for me as lousy characterization is often heard complaint about the film.

What did Galen do to earn such stature in Bodhi's eyes? We don't know.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:34 PM on January 9


What was up with that one weird shaky split-second hand-held shot on the beach when the space marines are first deploying their grenades?

Gareth Edwards did a lot of camera work, but he also set out to create a war movie and that genre has been dominated by said shaky cam work since Saving Private Ryan. One can almost think of it as a war genre establishment shot now a days.

I can't remember if I mentioned this, but I took my sisters and their husbands to see the film separately. Two saw it in 3D and the other two saw it in 2D, and both groups thought Tarkin was a real person until I told them otherwise. I think the level of how much someone believed Tarkin looked uncanny or not really relied upon how well the viewer knew that Peter Cushing had been dead for 20+ years.

I saw the movie, perhaps for the last time, on Sunday. It still held up and I really enjoyed it. I definitely agree with Numaner's answers above, right on the spot.

The Temple of the Kyber exists entirely not to be relevant. Remember, Chirrut and Baze are hanging out, doing nothing, because their jobs as Guardians of the Whills are defunct as the temple. With no temple, they're free to join the story. Seeing the inside of a ruined temple could be relevant if this was just a movie about Baze and Chirrut, but it's not, and it's not necessary in the least other than to be history.

Vader's inclusion exists for a number of reasons. First, he's involved with the Death Star from the beginning of this franchise. In the first scene on the Death Star, he's in it, and in fact, in virtually every scene involving Imperials on the Death Star, he's in it as well. So he exists so people won't watch Rogue One and go, "Wait, this dude is all over the place on the Death Star, why isn't he involved with it in the movie which takes place days and hours before A New Hope?! The only time Vader isn't on the Death Star is at the end and in the beginning, the beginning that ties directly into the end of the movie...so you need a reason for Vader to suddenly show up at the end, too.

Second, and this here is some long term planning, but the trip to Mustafar is probably laying down some seeds for this year's Star Wars movie, Episode VIII. I have a strong suspicion that Snoke will be hanging out in Vader's castle, and the "training" that he mentioned that Kylo needed at the end of TFA will take place there. It's even possible that servant who alerted Vader of Krennic's is Snoke (wildest theory).
posted by Atreides at 1:33 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


having to come up with Krennic as the primary antagonist. Although the advantage to that was having the bad guy die and give us a momentary satisfaction

Bear with me here, because I've been picking away at this thought for a bit, because for me Rogue One was an ok movie, not a great one. And I like picking at the stuff that's ok, trying to see how I think it could be better.

One of my thoughts is that Rogue One doesn't need Krennic or Tarkin or a primary antagonist at all. Krennic is a weak antagonist as it is - constantly outmaneuvered and always a step behind, even inside the Empire. The primary antagonist of the film should be the Empire itself; we have a small ragtag band of rebels fighting against the overwhelming odds of the Empire, as demonstrated by the Death Star itself. The evil doesn't need a face or to be personified (especially in a character as weak as Krennic) in this film. The through-line of the film is Hope - Hope against impossible odds, leading to the title of the film that is effectively the sequel here. That doesn't need an antagonist with a face; it can be achieved with the vast, faceless, looming presence of the Empire itself.

Give us the rebels working hard, desperate, in the face of a massive, overwhelming, impersonal system of control and terror. Draw some inspiration from stories of the French Resistance during WWII, or other similar efforts - people taking small actions that culminate in making a difference. This gives (a) more time for the main characters to develop; (b) sharper definition because they are individuals against the anonymous masses of the Empire; (c) the theme of small, individual actions and sacrifices and decisions culminating in a significant operation against what appears to be an unstoppable force; not a knockout blow, but one that gives...Hope.
posted by nubs at 7:46 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


One of my thoughts is that Rogue One doesn't need Krennic or Tarkin or a primary antagonist at all. Krennic is a weak antagonist as it is - constantly outmaneuvered and always a step behind, even inside the Empire. The primary antagonist of the film should be the Empire itself; we have a small ragtag band of rebels fighting against the overwhelming odds of the Empire, as demonstrated by the Death Star itself. The evil doesn't need a face or to be personified (especially in a character as weak as Krennic) in this film. The through-line of the film is Hope - Hope against impossible odds, leading to the title of the film that is effectively the sequel here. That doesn't need an antagonist with a face; it can be achieved with the vast, faceless, looming presence of the Empire itself.

I think you're right, though the ability to do this is undermined by the proximity of Rogue One to A New Hope. It's even more undermined by the decision to bring in the back history of Krennic and Galen Erso. The movie could have entirely existed with out that aspect of the film, as the nameless Empire could have just as easily abducted him and his motivation for doing what he did would have remained the same.

Catalyst, which is the prequel novel to the film is a fun read that explores the history of the two men and their relationship, but it's just not necessary and it steals away time in the film that could have been devoted to our main characters.
posted by Atreides at 7:31 AM on January 11


Spoken like someone who can't cash out with 15 gyms.

I'd like to see you try around here!

Exactly, we were told, not shown. That's the biggest problem here, the story feeds us tropes and expects to just take it from there.

But why is that such a critical aspect for this film? Plenty of movies have exposition that gives you background and motivation, and highly dependent on the speaker and listener to emote effectively, which I felt was well done by these actors. You can only show so much backstory in a 2 hours film. I'm sure eventually there'll be novels or animated series that flesh out these scenes, but I think what was done was satisfying for the purpose of this movie.

Perhaps we all feel like we should hold Star Wars movies up to a higher standard. But in case you forgot, the OT wasn't exactly required viewing in story-telling for cinema students. They were always the big budget summer or Christmas blockbusters.
posted by numaner at 9:14 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


My main problem with the lack of characterization is that it strives to be a character based film. Having all of your mains die in dramatic fashion means that you have to establish their characters to the audience, which I don't think was ever really done. A similar movie could work in the Ocean's 11 framework, which had even more characters, but really only focused on a few in terms of personal drama.

The OT actually did more or less that: Leia, Han, and Luke (and Vader) are all pretty well fleshed out in terms of what they want, their history, and their personalities. I don't really know what Bohdi wanted (to be a hero? to atone for working for the empire? who knows), I don't know anything about Jyn's life outside of her familial dramas, Cereulean's personality is paper thin and wishy-washy. Similarly, characters like Saw are wasted, and may as well not exist at all. Even bit players like Lando in the OT end up getting a decent amount of characterization in less screen time.

The action is what saved the movie from being a waste of time, for me, but the character and drama aspects are incredibly weak. That wouldn't be a problem in a different type of movie, but given the way they chose to tell the story (focusing on the characters) it becomes a real issue with the quality of the film.
posted by codacorolla at 9:46 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Yeah, what I'm reading about the decision being made to make Jyn the center of the movie makes me wonder what it looked like before. Her story is followed, but the while there's room to infer a lot of stuff about her feelings, the movie doesn't really let us see them or tell us at all about her life with Saw and what she made of herself after he jettisoned her. They seemed like they were going for "scrappy street rat discovers a purpose" but it was all pretty empty. Compared with the intro of Rey, and a few establishing shots of her alone eating with the pilot's helmet on - we just know a lot about her inner life really quickly.

The argument in the stolen cargo ship and her scene with her dad's hologram helped a lot, but a little something earlier in the movie would have helped a lot.
posted by PussKillian at 10:52 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


But in case you forgot, the OT wasn't exactly required viewing in story-telling for cinema students. They were always the big budget summer or Christmas blockbusters.

No, they aren't masterpieces of the art of cinema in many, many ways. I've argued elsewhere that there is little to no subtext in any of the Star Wars films; everything is pretty much out there in the open. That being said, the OT has some things going for it in terms of technique and storytelling that are worth having a look at and should be studied.

-the opening shot of ANH remains a tremendous visual way of conveying the state of the universe the story is dropping us into. I don't remember much of the first time I saw ANH (I was six) - but I remember the incredible, long, ongoing rumbling reveal of that Star Destroyer that didn't seem to fucking end.
-Characterization is handled superbly well and it is largely done by showing, rather than telling. Han Solo's introduction stands out, but it's there for everyone. Luke's resentment at his uncle; his excitement about the rebellion; his sense of duty and responsibility. Leia's brashness and bravery. We aren't told these things about any of them; we are shown them through how they act and in what they say and how they say it.
-Empire has some beautiful, well done moments, particularly in the duel between Vader and Luke. The framing, the lighting, the stances of each tell you a lot about what's going on.
-A sense of scale and reality; the OT films are often talked about in terms of the limitations they were shot under and the groundbreaking ways they found to deliver special effects in spite of them. There's something to be said for the aspiring filmmaker today learning that sometimes having to figure out how to do something physically rather than digitally produces a better product. (see also - Jaws, Rocky, for similar stories.)
-There's a moment in ANH that I always find amazing, but you have to be in a theatre to see it (and be willing to watch the audience, not the screen). When the X-wings go into the trench for their attack run, they use a camera angle as if we are in the cockpit the fighter. Watch the audience when they do that; people rock in their seats as if they are pulling through the dive & turn. How does the movie achieve that moment? It's worth examining, because for all the shaky-cam fight sequences we get these days, I rarely feel that invested in a film.

So, that being said, the prequels missed a lot of those great touches - for a lot of reasons. But, what I am encouraged by with both TFA and R1 is some of these appear to be coming back. Both movies uses practical effects in places, and physical sets rather than greenscreens. Both provide a sense of scale (Vader's Star Destroy dropping out of lightspeed into the path of the Rebel fleet was an amazing piece of visual storytelling) beyond that of the prequels. And while I had never seen Saw before, his appearance as a Vader-esque man-machine was an effective way of communicating the extent of what was happening to him because of the fight and the manner in which he chose to conduct it.
posted by nubs at 1:06 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed this Vietnam War movie that also had Star Wars in it!

In all seriousness, this movie resonated deeply for me, as someone who was part of both a war and a serious protest movement - the factionalism, the parts where how you resisted and how much really mattered, the parts where everyone has done something terrible and just wants to make it worthwhile.

I also enjoyed the almost romance of Jyn and Cassian - that moment where they realize they could maybe? But like so many other things, they were out of time.
posted by corb at 3:53 PM on January 11 [10 favorites]


That doesn't need an antagonist with a face; it can be achieved with the vast, faceless, looming presence of the Empire itself.

The movie we got was almost the inverse of this. The rebels were relatively anonymous canon fodder. But the bad guys had some iinteresting character development! Krennic, Vader, and Tarkin each had their own personality and their own motivations. Each had meaningful conflict with the other characters. (I found myself feeling some sympathy for Krennic. Baddy that he was, I can identify with that kind of desperation and frustration.) And I really am still haunted by Galen Erso and his constrained decisions, doing what he could and what he must...

So it's not that there was no character development in this movie, it's that it was the bad guys who got it. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

Previously the Empire had seemed like mostly faceless goons (literally faceless in the case of the Storm Troopers.) Now we get a sense of Imperial officers as real people. And also now we see that the Rebellion isn't all princesses and space wizards -- there are some regular soldiers there too. It almost helps that we're not developing the characters too much, in that respect. Our heroes are "everyman" in a way that Luke and Leia and definitely Anakin could not be.

I would like to know more about Jyn and Cassian, but I'd miss Krennic if he weren't there.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:08 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]


I finally saw it this weekend with my two older kids (8 and 6). The oldest loved it. The six-year-old slept through large parts of it, but that's partially because she ate too much candy and got sick. I enjoyed it, but can sympathize with some of the issues y'all have mentioned above.
posted by drezdn at 10:16 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Saw Guerrara => Che Guevara?
posted by coust at 9:24 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Pureetty much.
posted by Atreides at 6:48 AM on February 6


*wanders in to dusty thread*

Well gee I finally got around to seeing this.

I didn't like this movie a lot, but I liked it better than TFA. It had much better space battles, some visual grandeur, and even had some better small moments. A movie whose first half was like TFA and whose second half was like R1 would be nice.

I liked the space husbands, though I thought the situation of their deaths was so fucking stupid. Really, almost all of stuff to do on planet beach party was almost insultingly arbitrary and simple. R2SO's need to hold the room as long as possible was at least intelligible. Having Bodhi and the husbands die plugging in the whatsis and flipping the doohickey was way too much given all the other IT button pushing peril Jyn and Cassian were doing.

The space pewpew was excellent though, maybe the best since the first movie. Ships doing things! Y-wings finally not sucking! Rebel ships splatting on Vader's jumping-in star destroyer!

One of my favorite little moments is when Baze stretches out to rest on the stolen shuttle. (Mentioned above by MonkeyToes). I love it as his response to Cassian and Jyn's argument: a silent, "I don't care about this shit." Also, the thing he's lying down on is the sloped ramp door, which made me flinch automatically, but seemed like just the thing a jaded soldier would do.

Also, I think I tuned out most of Jyn's speech at the rebel council, but the line I kept wanting someone there to say was like, "If we're the good guys, maybe it's time we did something good."
posted by fleacircus at 12:56 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


Hey, fleacircus, you aren't alone. I just watched this last night, which makes me not a very faithful SW fan, I guess?

This was ok. There was too fan-service stuff for my tastes (except for Red Leader and Gold Leader! I will fight you). The two guys from Mos Eisley showing up was annoying. Unless they got on a ship right then and left the planet, there'd be no way for them to be alive.

CGI Tarkin was better than CGI Leia, but as is pointed out above he still looked the worse for wear than Peter Cushing was in OG Star Wars. Uncanny Valley Leia should be in the basement with the first-gen droids from Westworld.

The second half was floppy and not compelling, it got better when the dogfight portion started, but argh, way too long and drawn out. You could tell there was another ending planned because none of this made any sense. Too many people I don't care about getting shot.

And what the hell was that rock formation on Jedha? It looked like a fallen Jedi. Is this something you all have talked about above?

I did hear a Wilhelm scream in there. Can anybody confirm?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:15 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Spotted that the hammerhead corvette captain at the battle of Sharif was Angus from the last series of Peep Show, ie the husband of the woman Mark was chasing.
posted by biffa at 4:43 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I did hear a Wilhelm scream in there. Can anybody confirm?


Pretty sure it was a Stormtrooper during the ground assault of that Imperial datacenter thing,
posted by Burhanistan at 5:37 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Another straggler here... I fully intended to see it in the theater but I'm not that invested in Star Wars anymore and life got in the way. I've watched it twice now and it's a pretty good ride, but I do agree that there's not much there, there, in terms of character depth/development. Our plucky heroes don't really feel like a cohesive team until they split up to execute their daring raid on Scarif, and then they all die. (Which, holy crap - it's extraordinary that the company president read the original "Jyn and Cassian escape at the end" screenplay and said "Shouldn't they all die?")

But... I think people look for way too much depth in the Star Wars universe, and I think more people would do better to repeat to themselves, "It's just a show; I should really just relax." (It's fortunate that internet comments were not a thing when the original Star Wars came out.)
I don't think anyone has mentioned this here, but I was struck very early on by the score, in that it sounded like a cheap knockoff Star Wars score. It stuck out to me throughout the film in a bad way.
Yeah, for the most part the score was effective and quite impressive for having been written in four weeks, but the main heroic theme sounded exactly like you'd expect when you change composers at the last minute and task them with "it needs to be all epic and stuff and sound kind of sort of like the original Star Wars theme but not really, and you only have a month." I think they used that theme 2 or 3 times throughout the film and it was really distracting every time, it screamed "Hey here's the fake Star Wars theme!" to me. I feel bad, because it was an absolutely unenviable challenge for any composer, and Michael Giacchino had so little time to pull it off.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 8:30 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


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