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Movie Review: Rogue One

Movie Review: Rogue One


We joined millions of other Americans this Christmas season by heading to the movie theaters.

Our target: Rogue One, A Star Wars Story!

This is the official spoiler alert, so if you haven’t seen the film and want to retain the suspense, please read no further than this. I don’t give away much, but I don’t want to ruin anyone’s cinematic fun, either.

I will begin my stating that my expectations for Rouge One were substantially reduced by the previous prequels and sequels to the original Star Wars (now better known as SW4 or “A New Hope”). While I gave a mostly positive review of The Force Awakens (TFA), upon reflection, I think that was based on nostalgia for both the 1977 blockbuster and it’s 1980 sequel (The Empire Strikes Back).

I mentioned that one problem I had with TFA is that the leading character, Rey, was magically able to battle a fully-trained, dark-side using Kylo Ren after minimal exposure to The Force. Additionally, the cast and the storyline of TFA was an homage to Hollywood’s social justice causes.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy stated she doesn’t need to cater to male Star Wars fans. It showed. My teen son, from the very demographic that has made the Star Wars franchise what it is today, didn’t want to see the movie again…nor did he want to get the DVD or any of the merchandise.

While TFA was successful, and another sequel is slated for release next Christmas, it is disappointing to see ham-handed Hollywood ruin another iconic American saga.

However, there is some redemption for Rogue One, as the movie gets back to the basics. Rogue One has a superior story. Additionally, the characters are more complex and the humor more genuine.

Finally, while there are tributes to The Force, only those schooled in its use actually fight using it. Everyone else gets a blaster.

Beyond that, Felicity Jones (the protagonist Jyn Erso) and as the male lead Diego Luna as rebel pilot Cassian Andor make the most of the material! They are compelling in their roles.

Yet, I am obliged to point out that there are some flaws that Star Wars geeks will likely note. For example, weren’t all the Jedi’s (except for Obi Wan Kenobi) suppose to be dead after SW3? Rogue One’s ensemble includes Chirrut Îmwe, a Jedi Knight who could have stepped out of the 1970’s TV hit show Kung Fu. Why is he in the mix?

My step-daughter, who is a professional translator working in China, was able to answer that question. It turns out that there is a huge audience in China, and the Star Wars marketing team may have to address Chinese quotas in casting. I anticipate seeing even more Asian action heroes, then.

In the original film, Princess Leia states that millions of Bothans died for the Death Star plans. However, there is no mention of what Bothans are or if any died.

For me, perhaps the best moments were when CGI brought back Grand Moff Tarkin for some of the most outstanding scenes. Peter Cushing, the fabulous British actor who played Tarkin, died in 1994. In Rogue One, Guy Henry did the acting and the special effects crew digitally replaced his face with Cushing’s afterward. The effect is amazing.

As with the 1977 hit,the villains were still the most fascinating to watch. And, I must admit, I did enjoy watching an episode that didn’t end with the explosion of the Death Star.

Now, if only the power of the Death Star could be turned on Jar Jar Binks!

That Rogue One is clearly better than TFA can be demonstrated in the fact that the men of my clan are making plans to see it again….this week. Kathleen Kennedy may want to reflect on this development before mocking audience demographics again. I think many in Hollywood are going to be shocked to see how Americans plan to battle their inanity with their pocketbooks and wallets in the next four years.

One last note: I was worried that 2016’s list of death might include Princess Leia actress, Carrie Fisher. She suffered “a medical emergency” while on a flight between London and Los Angeles. Fortunately, she is in stable condition as of this post.


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ShakesheadOften | December 26, 2016 at 5:17 pm

I’m going to show my geek cred: The “many Bothans died” line (spoken by Mon Mothma, not Princess Leia) refers to the plans for the Second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, not the first in Ep. IV. Hence no mention of Bothans in Rogue One. 🙂


Rogue One is Disney. Disney fired 100’s of IT employees, replaced them with H-1B visa immigrants from India and forced the fired Americans to train their replacements.

Do not pay to see Rogue One.
Good jobs at good wages for good Americans.
End all H-1B visas and send them home now.

    BrokeGopher in reply to valegorge. | December 26, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    I can’t blame a company for looking out for its bottom line. The fault is not theirs – it is with the government for allowing so many visas without question.

irishgladiator63 | December 26, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Also, it is stated in the movie that Chirrut was not a Jedi. And the plural of Jedi is Jedi.

Chirrut is not a Jedi knight – he’s just “force sensitive”.

I am apparently the only one who noticed that the entire film casts the Rebellion as Al-Qaeda/ISIS and the Empire as the occupying US military.

    DaveGinOly in reply to daniel_ream. | December 26, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    How could you tell it was specifically patterned after that, and not after the Maquisard and the Nazis, or the Colonial Rebels and the British, or Jews v. Rome (in either the first or the Bar Kochba rebellion), or any number of rebel/oppressor in history, all of which have similarities in their stories?

    Aarradin in reply to daniel_ream. | December 28, 2016 at 2:48 am

    More to the point: The Empire is not just the US Military, but is clearly Fascist.

    Racial component is pretty blatant too: The Fascist bad guys are white.

    Author noticed, “Additionally, the cast and the storyline of TFA was an homage to Hollywood’s social justice causes.”, completely failed to not that Rogue One is Hollywood’s social justice causes on steroids.

Well we know some survived order 66. Ahsoka for one, (though technically *not* a Jedi, but she was covered under the order). Kannan was a padawan who survived. I’m assuming others may have as well.

First, there are no Jedi Knights in Rogue One.

Second, Rogue One was a better movie, but not because TFA had a young woman in a starring role.

Third, Rey was able to combat Kylo Ren the same way Luke was able to use the Force with no training. She’s a born natural, which is kinda sorta the WHOLE POINT OF HER CHARACTER? Nobody was skeptical of Luke’s abilities that I can recall. Also Kylo Ren was seriously injured at that point, and off his game. He’s portrayed as erratic in any case.

The key moment was his line about how he could “teach her” (about the Force and the dark side). She’s a smart cookie, and realized that she *could* learn from him — by reaching out with her nascent Force abilities and *taking* the information she needed from him, the same way she’d done earlier, taking the information about Darth Vader from his mind. She had limited exposure to a Force user, but she’s a fast learner. Watch that scene again, how she closes her eyes and *reaches out* with the Force… and, voila, THE FORCE AWAKENS. It wasn’t “magic”, it was intelligence, and courage, and it is a singularly awesome moment, frankly. I’m sorry you missed it.

If Luke had done that, nobody would’ve thought twice.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Mamatiger. | December 26, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I didn’t see TFA, so can’t comment on it directly. But in the original (Ep. IV – A New Hope), Luke is trained by Yoda, isn’t fully prepared when he leaves, and although Vader recognizes his abilities during the dogfighting around the Death Star (“The force is strong with this one.”), Vader defeats Luke the first time they duel (in The Empire Strikes Back). Luke is also Vader’s son, so it’s apparent that although untrained, Luke has innate abilities.

    As a side note, I once saw Empire in France (dubbed in French, naturally). I noticed that the voice actors who did the dubbing actually sounded like the movie actors (noticed that too when I saw A New Hope in German), which I found interesting. Best line of the movie (in French): “Non, je suis ton pere!” (Ha! It’s on YouTube!

    Sidartha in reply to Mamatiger. | December 26, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    The force IS magic. Exactly the same as Harry Potter and why Superman is exactly as strong or as weak as he needs to be to tell the story. It’s the perfect Dues Ex Machina.
    The difference between a good story and a bad one is that we can see the Dues in a bad story.
    If a lot of people are questioning why Rey could beat Kylo then it’s because the story was weak and some piece was missing.

    To the larger point about not catering to the male audience, that will be a self correcting mistake.
    Boys make up the majority of the audience for action/adventure stories.
    Now Disney realized that they had a huge, untapped market for girls when they created the Ahsoka Tano character in The Clone Wars. But to deliberately not create a character that boys can also relate to ignores (over)half of the market for toys and merchandise.

    When Disney realizes that they are not getting the return on their 4 billion dollar investment because of someones SJW attitude, heads will roll.

Who plays Spock?

@brokegopher those H-1B visas did not plop out of the sky. They were generated by government at the urging of American corporations filled with greed and no care for Americans. You most certainly can blame every company that sells out America and good American wages in blood-lust for the “bottom line.”

Reconsider that. #BoycottDisney. #BoycottRogueOne.

    BrokeGopher in reply to valegorge. | December 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    you sound like the democrats. The purpose of a corporation is to make money for the shareholders, not to provide jobs. It’s the government’s job to impose reasonable limits on how they may make money.

buckeyeminuteman | December 27, 2016 at 8:42 am

Rogue One: the best Star Wars movie since 1983.

The CGI version of Princess Leia was not done as well as Tarkin. Luckily, there was no CGI version of Yoda (the puppet Yoda used in the first films was far better than the CGI version). I would also add that there was never any reason to believe that Obe Wan and Yoda were the only Jedi to survive. In an entire Galaxy I’m pretty sure there is room to hide a few more. Still, Rogue One is very good and well worth watching.

    the puppet Yoda used in the first films was far better than the CGI version

    Thank you!

    I had this discussion with my step-brother after Ep. 1 (The Phantom Menace) came out. He was impressed with the “quality” of the CGI; me, not so much. He said it was more “cost-effective” to do it via CGI rather than hire a puppeteer to do the role and then cover him/her up afterward. I responded that since Yoda spends all his time sitting in a poufy chair or hobbling around slowly, you could hire one puppeteer and one green-screen specialist (which will look more real), or hire an entire team of CGI experts to do the whole part via computer and pray that the live actors are looking the right direction when addressing him. Which is more “cost-effective”, now?

    I maintain that the decision to do the entire Yoda part via CGI was less about making the character look good and more about showing off their toys.

Sorry Ms Eastman – the Princess never recovered. We had a friend have a hesrt attack on a short plane trip a few years ago – the low oxygen pressure only increases the damage – don’t know the stats but it is not good. Look forward to seeing the movie, watched the last one but ws so underwhrlmed I do not remember its storyline.

My cardiologist advised me that sitting in an airplane or automobile for more than two hours encouraged the formation of blood clots in the legs. Migration of those clots to the lungs, heart or brain with subsequent blockage of blood flow can kill you.

A London to New York flight followed by a non-stop New York to Los Angeles flight would be a double-whammy of risk.

“Rouge One”

Apparently, all of the actors wear far too much blush.

Chirrut Îmwe was not a Jedi. He was a monk who guarded the jedi temple. Any serious Star Wars fan knows that there were many force using traditions besides the Jedi, and some of them were allied with the Jedi at times. Sidous attempted to wipe out the Jedi and other force users, but could never have completely succeeded and was aware of that. So it’s perfectly acceptable to have another force user still in the picture at this point.

Didn’t like that the stars were ethnically diverse. The actions of those on the planet trying to steal the plans were militarily incomprehensible. O