As a Christmas present to myself, I decided to take the kids to see Rogue One this afternoon. A friend posted a review a few days ago on Facebook and I’ve purposely been avoiding it. I didn’t want any outside opinions influencing me before I saw it for myself. While I won’t go as far to say that Rogue One was as good as Empire like he suggests, it was a good movie. You can read his review here. I’d love to see it again soon, but this is my first impression and random thoughts.
Everyone knew the Titanic was going to sink, but we all went and saw the movie anyway. We all know where Rogue One is leading, and it was a fun ride along the way. Rogue One doesn’t have the weight of the dark side vs light side to contend with. It is largely a spy/war film based in the Star Wars universe. I never imagined it would take us right up to the opening scene of A New Hope, but let’s back up.
The film opens with the only character development of the entire movie with a young Jyn Erso. The movie makes a point to show Jyn’s mother giving her a necklace with a crystal at the end of it. It is likely a kyber crystal, which are used in light sabers and also what Jyn’s father used to power the Death Star. In what seemed like foreshadowing was really nothing. The necklace played no role in the rest of the movie unless I missed something. The beginning of the movie felt rushed jumping from plant to planet, at least until the plot really starts moving. Jyn, a reluctant rebel, is grown and goes on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, which her father helped design. That’s really all there is to it. Joined by a few quickly introduced characters and a snarky droid, the band of rebels is complete.
For any Star Wars fan there were plenty of subtle nods to the other movies like the cup of blue juice, bumping into the guys that pick a fight with Luke in the Cantina scene (although I’m not sure how they got off Jedha before it was blown up), the Alliance base on Yavin 4, Jimmy Smits returns as Bail Organa to make reference to his Jedi friend from the Clone Wars, along with plenty of other easter eggs. It was fun seeing Ben Mendelsohn as Director Krennic. It took me a minute to realize why I recognized him, but I think it was his voice that connected the dots for me. Mendelsohn is great as Danny Rayburn in the Netflix series, Bloodline. I highly recommend it! But anyway. Is Darth Vader still living on that same lava planet that Obi-wan sliced him up on? I didn’t mind the CGI Tarkin as much as I didn’t like seeing Leia. We all know she’s the one wearing the white cloak. They could have just as easily not shown her CGI face. I could have also done without the R2 and C3PO cameos, but maybe I’m just nitpicking at this point.
Director Gareth Edwards did a fantastic job of giving Rogue One the same gritty feeling as the original trilogy and the battle scenes were brilliant. Seeing Star Wars on the big screen makes me giddy. I grew up watching the original movies on VHS and remember watching the 20th anniversary special edition movies in the theater. Rogue One makes me want to go back and watch the original trilogy again!