3 Things I Loved about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), And 3 Things I Didn’t
It’s practically pointless to write a critique for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, although it hasn’t even been a full week since its official release. Already, Rogue One has made a whopping $155 million and has accumulated well over 300 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes with nearly unanimous praise across the board. And, that’s not even counting the slew of amazing bloggers now on RT who devote their time to crafting responsible, well thought-out critiques (I see y’all). So honestly, there’s no point of me cranking out a 1,000+ word review when dozens of over reviewers have already praised the same elements I liked and slated others that I didn’t. That doesn’t mean I won’t contribute my part in the sea of critical noise though. Here are three things I loved about Rogue One, and three things I didn’t.
What I Liked:
- Deigo Luna, Riz Ahmed and Mads Mikkelen’s faces. These men aren’t just incredibly easy on the eyes, but they are also extremely talented actors who have made waves in their own right throughout the years. With the introduction of each one I found myself getting way too excited at their presence in the film. I didn’t realize just how much I loved Mikkelen as an actor until I nearly squealed when opens the film. Mikkelen is a fantastic performer, perhaps one of the greatest of this decade. Although he isn’t breaking the mold with his performance in Rogue One—neither is Ahmed, Luna, Forest Whitaker (who is great by the way) or any other actor in the film—wonderful to see a parade of colorful, multinational faces on screen. By the way, why are there no Black women in a galaxy far, far away?
- I saw Rogue One in 3D, and while I can’t say that paying the extra cash to see it that way is worth it, I have to admit the 3D technology does lend itself to some amazing details in architecture, landscapes and background images. The scenes showing spacecraft’s go from lightning speed to their stopping points is frankly incredible. Side note: does anyone else have to wrestle with the glasses for the first 30 minutes? I can’t be the only one who is more distracted by the glasses themselves than the images on screen…and I wear glasses!
- Dark Vadar’s badassery. Nuff said.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Am I the only one who was completely underwhelmed by the action sequences? Chalk this up to hype, but supposedly director Gareth Edwards watched a ton of war films before filming Rogue One to prepare for the intense action sequences. This gave me all the feels as I thought this film was going to be on par with say, Saving Private Ryan (in its direction that is, not impact). Unfortunately, the trio of editors involved in cutting up Rogue One made a pretty snowflake cute out with not true girth or definition. Now, I enjoyed the last 15 or so minutes way more than I did the overall film, but the battle lacks all power due to the action getting stripped away to cut another sequence of action.
- The heavy-handed religious overtones didn’t do it for me. The overt reminder of The Force’s power within and without of humanity made for some very cheesy moments with the blind believer, Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and his “walk on water” style faith. I’m not knocking the religious aspects, I just felt it could have been done more subtly.
- Reluctantly accepting that I’m not a Star Wars fangirl. I love the original Star Wars Trilogy and like a good little capitalist I have followed every film since. But watching Rogue One made me realize that I just don’t care about the Star Wars universe the way much of the world does. Rogue One is good, but it’s not great. I highly disagree with viewers who are stating that’s the best one since the original or the better than whichever film of the original. I frankly thought Rogue One was boring in parts and actually drifted away mentally while watching it. I don’t think Rogue One is necessary to the canon of Star Wars. In fact, I don’t think any of the rebooted films are except for maybe The Force Awakens. I was intrigued by the spectacle of Rogue One but not the story or it’s connection to the canon, which just made me realize that I’m just not a transformational fan of the series.