Talks Office Movie Reviews S1:E3: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars’ Story Takes a Nosedive into Mediocrity

Jace Rettinger

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Alex Toth

Taking place only moments before the first in the series, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones, “The Theory Of Everything”) and her rag-tag team of intergalactical outcasts, on the mission to capture the plans to the planet destroying weapon The Death Star.

Only one year after the franchise’s successful revival, “Rogue One” was a questionable release to say the least. Why release a new film only one year after the last one? Why not build more hype towards Episode 8 instead of risking a flop with a side story? These were questions every Star Wars fan was asking themselves when “Rogue One” was announced to release in late 2016.

The film was also a risk critically, to start production on a film that would follow a film that hadn’t even been released yet (“Force Awakens”), but Disney knew what they were doing. This film would make money no matter what, and having a Star Wars film release every year, while seemingly desperate, is smart financially. The Star Wars franchise is viable, expandable, and profitable, so it only makes sense that Disney would pull this move.

But how did Rogue One hold up? I went into Rogue One with flat expectations. I didn’t watch many of the trailers, I hadn’t read any reviews, and I didn’t hear anything from anybody else about it. So when I found the film to be one of the more average in the series, I wasn’t too surprised, and while it certainly wasn’t bad, It wasn’t very good either.

The film starts off with the capturing of Death Star designer and lead architect, Galen Erso played by Mads Mikkelsen (“The Hunt”, “Doctor Strange”) by the imperial forces. They need him to complete The Death Star, and he ultimately leaves his daughter, Jyn Erso behind. This is a great scene to start off with. It perfectly establishes Jyn’s relationship with her father, and how difficult it was for him to leave her behind.

After these first few scenes the film really falls off. It starts to introduce characters that really abruptly come into the narrative at random points in the film. We have Cassian Andor played by Diego Luna (“Milk”), one of the most uninteresting, forgettable characters to ever touch the Star Wars universe. Then we have Chirrut Imwe, played by Donnie Yen (“IP Man”) who is honestly one of the more likeable characters in the film just due to his innocent nature and slight relatability. There are a few other characters like these two but none very notable. The biggest issue is that they tried to fit in too many characters without thinking about developing them at all which makes for a very stale and forgettable cast.

As far as the story goes, it’s fine. It definitely could have done better but it really wasn’t too bad. The premise is great, we have a team of characters fighting to find the plans for the Death Star so that the Rebel Alliance can destroy it through its weak spot created by architect Galen Erso. But the way that they go about presenting this story is problematic.

A good majority of the film is fight scenes, and while they were certainly done well, they weren’t all too interesting, and they got repetitive towards the end. The plot spent so much time setting up everything, that when it came time for the climax, it came off feeling sort of out of the blue. It felt like a much longer movie that had been cut down to an hour and a half.

The way the characters work off of each other was bland and had little to no excitement around it. If you look at the early “Star Wars” films, you’ll see that one of the best parts of any of the the first three films, is that the relationships between characters is energetic, and has life to it which is missing in “Rogue One.” This makes for an uninteresting experience that you’ll forget in one to two days tops. They all talk to each other with phoned-in one liners or pieces of exposition, and there’s really no strong relationships between any of the characters except maybe Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus played by Wen Jiang (“Devils on the Doorstep”).

A few scenes replaced a few of the actors with CGI clones, which really took me out of the film at times. They’re able to create entire worlds out of just computer graphics but they can’t make a human being look a bit more realistic? These scenes were jarring at worst but to any unsuspecting viewer, it won’t be too bad.

One praise I can give is how the villain was portrayed. Orson Krennic played by Ben Mendelsohn (“The Dark Knight Rises”) is a head director on the Death Star project for the Imperial Army. He’s hungry for power and will do anything to get it, but he’s not the all powerful villain we’ve seen before from the likes of Darth Vader or Emperor Palpatine. He has flaws that are clearly shown throughout the film. He strives for greatness and just wants to be recognized for his work, as anybody else would be, making him one of the more relatable characters in this cast of heroes.

The best scene in the film comes right out of the first film in the series, “Star Wars: A New Hope” in which we see the menacing Darth Vader invade a Rebel ship in a great recreation of the iconic scene.

While most of my issues with this film lie in the characters, I found myself just unimpressed with what the film had to offer, making “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” one of the more forgettable and average films to come out of the “Star Wars” franchise.

2/4

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