When I read any movie review, I look for certain things. For instance, if the reviewer shows humor as part of a review, I like that. Humor is a sign of higher intellect and it keeps the reader interested. Also, what I don’t want is a detailed recap of the movie so that pretty much the entire review is a spoiler. I’ve got Wiki for that, sir or madam. Also, please don’t lead with a load o’ spoilers! Tell me things that will make me want to see the movie, or not.
I’ve boiled down my druthers into a soupy-sauce that I’m calling a “Quick Fling”, as monkeys are oft to fling things such as clever puns and allusions, I’m told. Here’s my first shot at it. If you have suggestions for improvement, please do tell. Or if your opinion on the movie is different, please tell do! If you have any comments, tell please do! (and so on…) I will avoid this prequel in future reviews. And speaking of prequels –!
Rogue One : A Star Wars Story
The highly anticipated prequel to 1977’s Episode IV: A New Hope and a sequel to the 2005 Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
The Monkey took his simian offspring to see this flick, given both of us have a great love for Star Wars (plus Star Trek – me:old+80’s movies+new, her: new). Both of us had seen Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015). [editor’s note: In truth, this monkey is aged enough to have seen the first movie, in person, way back in 1977.] Yes, thank you, editor. [Grunt]
We had different takes on the movie, with me liking it and her despising it. This made it uncomfortable afterwards while I was buying a bunch of Krennic merchandise at Target.
Big Star Attraction: Felicity Jones? Eh, Forrest Whitaker? Okay, so the attraction is experiencing the original Star Wars universe again with George Lucas’s insanity love of all digital.
Things I Liked About the Movie:
- Very Star Wars-like – the grit, the panic, the rebels getting organized, X-wings, Y-wings, V-wings, Death Star, Imperial Star Destroyers — including using several fight scenes cut from the original trilogy!
- Best Battle Scenes Thus Far – the ship-to-ship and ship-to-ground battle scenes are the best I’ve scene in this franchise. Exciting, unpredictable and believable. No excessive light-saber duels. A blaster (and an Uzi-blaster) can be quite effective.
- Dark – this is not a happy movie.
- Great female lead – I like Jyn Erso’s character. She’s more Han Solo than Rey (yes I know the relationships!) and female fighter pilots! Wha –? Porkins, where are you?
- Great robot lead – K-2SO is golden, but in a different way that C-3PO.
- Grand Moff Tarkin? Darth Vader? Other characters from Episode IV? Woot! Or perhaps, Eeep!
- Plenty (borderline excessive) of nods to the original series.
- Self contained and finite. There will be no Rogue Two. And that’s not a spoiler, I mean, they’re going after the plans that lead to Episode IV, remember? Did they get the plans? Yes. Did you not see Episode IV?
Things I Did NOT Like About the Movie:
- Long. It goes by pretty quickly, but there’s a bit of bloat in the movie.
- Dark – did I mention it’s not a happy movie?
- Almost too many ‘did you catch that?’ – references to the original trilogy. Really, the guys who picked on Luke at the Cantina are see walking together?
- Music – it’s not John Williams, it’s Michael Giacchino, and that’s pretty obvious. More on that later.
- Too many Locales – I lost track of planets and places as they bounced around. I get it, the galaxy is large, but really! Planets have become analgous to cities, but I think writers have forgotten that planets are really really large (in general terms) so having an entire planet dedicated to mining and another to a “rebel post” and another that “has a Walmart” – okay, so what’s the other 99.99998% of the planet used for? Plus the planets names are like “Xeenaxly” so they don’t often give you clues to easily remember what’s on the planet. Maybe “Rebelbastion” as planet name?
- Too many key characters: we’ve got: Galen Erso (wife Lyra), Jyn Erso, Orson Krennic, Saw Gerrera, Bodhki Rook, Cassian Andor, Chirrut Imwe… and on and on. Did we need Saw Gerrera (Forrest Whittaker’s character)? Boil it down to a few key people, please.
Yes – I’d say up to about 10 years old maybe? Killing and death and violence, though some would say we’ve been desensitized. No one leaves this movie in a good mood, so do you want your kids to experience that? Maybe you do.
No language, no sex, but plenty of stressful scenes, like watching one (or two) of your parents dying. And while that’s common in Disney movies, this isn’t a … a-what-the what???
Yes, go see it in the theater. Good connector, some very well done CGI, great backstory, good action, a little humor but otherwise nearly matches the hype.
Scale (1 banana = rotten!, 5 bananas = must see in theaters)
Epilogue – the Music
There is no one like John Williams. Whether it’s Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, or Star Wars. Mr. Williams has a way of creating moods and musical themes for movies and even characters. You can probably hum all the various character themes from Star Wars (Imperial Death March, Luke’s theme, Leia’s theme) or the main theme from Jurassic park. They’re just…right.
And in his movies, the music blends into the background or is a key part of the action (Raiders of the Lost Ark).
In this movie, it’s as if someone is trying to do a Weird Al version of Williams’ music, without the parody. It’s close. Themes that seem familiar swell and then go off in a different musical direction. It’s as if the original music is copyrighted so that Michael Giacchino was forced to be similar but not exactly what we’ve heard before. It’s distracting.
Sometimes the music is too loud and crowds out the vocals.
Sometimes a swell sounds like the classic Star Wars theme and then after the second “dun-dun-duh-DA-da” goes off somewhere else. Odd. Did you notice the same?