Hey fellow Geeks!
Earlier today I saw the new installment of the Star Wars story with “Rogue One,” and I absolutely loved it. Compared to other hard core fans, I’m not as well-educated in the entire (expanded) universe, but I’ve seen all the films and I’m working on finishing up the Clone Wars TV show so I get to watching Rebels. At this point I’ve only seen Rogue One once, and I definitely need to see it more to get all the extra goodies, and there were quite a few I noticed!
As a standalone film, it gave us so much of the story and characters that developed the series in a spectacular way. With the characters, there was no build up with their stories other than the high stakes of what needed to be done.
There were some characters that were lost of me due to my lack of extended knowledge on them, but I know there is info on them in either the “Catalyst” book or Rebels TV show. Characters like Saw Gerrera and Director Orson Krennic.
Anyway, the story was amazing! It really felt like it was stitching all the pieces together from the original Star Wars film (A New Hope). Musically, I’d have to listen to it more closely before I could give any specific opinions, but overall it fulfilled the purpose of holding my attention in times of limited action. The music added to the scenes and didn’t distract or fall short. Overall, this film made me so happy and made me immediately go home and watch Star Wars: A New Hope.
Rate: 8/10 – So much fun, and filled with Star Wars goodies. There were some sections that just hit for nostalgia, but a great addition to the universe!
From this point on there will be spoilers, so beware!
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
When this comes onto the big screen, I begin to hold my breath in anticipation of the big musical introduction and iconic STAR WARS crawl. Yet, this film did not have that moment and if anything that was probably the most disappointing thing for me. Still, the entire story of this film revolves around the crawl from A New Hope. We are already prepared for the story that lies ahead, and having a separate crawl for this film could have spurned even more background information that wasn’t necessarily needed. So, even though I missed the epic moment, it was something I got over pretty quickly! Being an anthology film, it could work without it.
Even though the iconic crawl was not in this film, there was the traditional planet/ship shot that brought us into the story.
Forgive me for not remembering all the planets names, but the beginning of the film introduces quite a bit to us all at once. Maybe once I see the film again I can try and pay better attention…
Anyway, other than the starting planet that was Jyn Erso’s home world, there was a trading post that was attached between two asteroids that was really cool. (UPDATE 12/20/16: It was called the Ring of Kafrare). Here we are introduced to our Captain Cassian Andor, who displays the strength needed in a rebellion. He takes out a rebel ally because he cannot afford to have this guy squeal and this man cannot escape due to the broken arm he has. It’s definitely a powerful introduction to Cassian, almost in a Han Solo manner. The planets (really moons) that really got my attention though were Jedha and Yavin 4. Yavin 4 was amazing mainly due to the nostalgic feelings that it gave me, but Jedha was a planet that intrigued me a lot.
Jedha, as you can probably tell by the name, was associated heavily with the Jedi Order. It became a world of worship for people like Jedi and those that were spiritually connected with the Force. After the fall of the Jedi Order, the Galactic Empire occupied the moon in order to gain the Kyber crystals which would power the Death Star’s super weapon.
The main city on Jedha was packed with cultural themes and concepts that made it feel real and lived in. There were even the two characters from the bar scene in A New Hope, Ponda Baba and Cornelius Evazan, going through the city.
Yes, I had to search the names for those characters…
This city was filled with life and the structures were so detailed and lived in, it was beautiful. It really felt like these people were living in the Age of the Empire, it was dirty, grungy, and crowded. It’s in this city were we are introduced to two awesome characters, Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe. Of the two, Chirrut Imwe was my favorite. The lack of vision does nothing to his power and spiritual nature, it just adds a lot to his character. Both Baze and Chirrut were Guardians of the Whills, which is something deeper into Jedi lore and something I’ll have to look into myself. I believe its the first introduction of the Ancient Order of the Whills in one of the major films. But, more than the city’s beautiful structures, cultural themes, and just size of Jedi history, what really makes this moon so special is the Death Star’s attack on it.
We know from A New Hope that Alderaan was the first real full demonstration of the Death Star, and that will be covered in this film, but Jedha (city) was just a taste of the full power but the destruction is so extreme. It reminded me of scenes from 2012 (which I haven’t seen) with all the debris falling around the ship as the group tries to escape. Thinking back to the newest main addition, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the power displayed from the Starkiller Base, it gave me shivers. Even though this was back to the Death Star, this particular image gave me the same fear, shivers and all.
The explosion from the Death Star is also seen again on planet Scarif, where the plans for the Death Star and a whole bunch of information on the Galactic Empire. There are even a bunch of secret code-names for Empire plans that I’m dying to see if they have any significance, like one was called “Blacksaber.” Anyway, the final battle where Rogue One relays the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance ends with the entire Imperial base being blown up by the Death Star and the remaining members of Rogue One are trapped on that base. Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor are still alive and watch the explosion come for them, it’s another powerful moment. Once again, the film shows us only a glimpse of the Death Star’s power without dismissing the full-potential capabilities of the weapon.
The Rogue One team includes Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Baze Malbus, Chirrut Imwe, Bodhi Rook, and K-2SO. Bodhi Rook is the former Imperial pilot that takes the message from Jyn Erso’s father, Galen Erso, who is a research scientist forced back into the Galactic Empire to Saw Gerrera on Jedha. This message from Galen Erso explains how he, being the head engineer on the Death Star, was able to place a fail-safe in the Death Star that could disable the entire station. Galen Erso was the man that created the tiny “vent” which leads to a reactor. It wasn’t a mistake on the part of the Empire, but a sabotage from the inside from Galen Erso!
K-2SO is another wonderful robotic partner to add to the list. If R2-D2 could be understood, this is probably close to how he would sound, but maybe even more snarky. All these characters make up the main group of Rogue One. Even though we only know some of these characters for a brief time, the importance of this mission makes the group that much more lovable.
Moving on from the main cast, I want to talk about the amazing CGI work done with this film. All the Star Wars films do a remarkable job on practical and CGI models and this film, I had a difficult time seeing the distinction between them, which is great! Major CGI things I think everyone wants to talk about is the amazing resurrection of young Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and the late Peter Cushing returned as Grand Moff Tarkin! Props to the team of ILM for their work on the movie magic that was displayed with these two characters in particular. At first I had completely forgotten about Peter Cushing having passed away and it took me a second to realize this man on screen wasn’t alive. There were of course moments when there was something off, but overall I think both characters were brought back to life in this film. One specific line with Tarkin really made me think this man was really there!!
There is SO much I want to talk about, but it’s getting late and I wanted to make sure I at least got to talk about some of my favorite moments in this new film. First, there were quite a lot of Easter eggs in this film, obviously and here a few that I remember. On Yavin 4 we are able to see characters we were introduced to in A New Hope, but one character came back from the Prequels into this film which really helped in connecting the series together, Bail Organa. When the Rebel Alliance knows that War is the only option available to them, Bail Organa tells Mon Mothma that he must return to Alderaan to warn his people that there will be war. Mon Mothma tells asks him if “his Jedi friend” can be of any assistance in terms of the Death Star plans and he needed someone he completely trusted, in which he states, “I trust her with my life.” I believe right after this scene is where we see R2-D2 and C-3PO in the Yavin 4 base making a comment about what’s happening around them. These Easter egg put together the puzzle pieces that lead to the ending of this film and the beginning of A New Hope.
Finally, it comes down to talking about the awesomeness that is Darth Vader! He does not appear that much in this film, but both major scenes he’s in are so epic. We first see him on what I believe is Mustafar, where he has summoned Director Krennic to speak about the Death Star, after the destruction of Jedha. During this conversation Krennic whines about his leadership on whether he is still in charge of if Tarkin has taken over. Darth Vader had already started walking away but all of a sudden Krennic starts choking. Vader then says this amazing line: “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations.”
The second scene with Darth Vader comes at the very end of the film and it’s definitely worth the wait and the multiple re-watches!! So, this occurs just after the battle on Scarif and the Death Star plans have been sent via transmission to the Rebel fleet fleeing from the Empire re-enforcement. Now that the plans are in Rebel possession, Alderaarnian rebels are scurrying to get the information onto the ship where Princess Leia waits, Tantive IV. When these rebel men try to get onto Tantive IV, the power fails and the door gets jammed with only a sliver of space opened. They forcibly try to pry the door open with no success, and then they hear a noise behind them. The hall behind them is completely dark, but the breathing is clearly audible. Then, the haunting red glow of a lightsaber ignites and there stands Darth Vader.
It only seems like a second after this where Vader just tears these guys up, their blasters proofing useless against him. Deflecting shots, forcing a man onto the ceiling before he cuts him in half, and choking men to get to the farther man holding the plans in his hands. During this, the man is beating on the door to get someone’s attention to try and open the doorway so he can get through, but at the last minute he stars screaming to just “take it,” knowing that he is going to die, but at least the plans could make it through. The plans pass from rebel to rebel before finally making it onto Tantive IV where it is then given to Princess Leia, will Vader staring off into space back on the docking bay. This ending scene is so tense and crazy that we then realize how close the Rebels were to losing their advantage before they even got started!
Thus we have entered into A New Hope with an entire section of the story fleshed out and given life. No longer does the intro crawl for A New Hope seem vague in how the Rebels gained the plans. We now know what occurred and it was spectacular! How many of you guys have seen this film? What were your thoughts?
Until next time – Later! ~May the Force be with you~