Monkey Quick Fling Movie Review – Rogue One

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 –!

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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.

For Kids?

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???

Overall

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)

images-2.jpegimages-2.jpegimages-2.jpegimages-2.jpeg (4)

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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?

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Monkey Quick Fling Movie Review – Rogue One

  1. I thought it was the best Star Wars movies since ESB. The final 10 seconds almost made me cry, given current events. I also felt the length was needed. It’s hard to get to know six good guys in a meaningful way – plus a few bad guys – in two hours.

    Tarkin’s CGI was epic!

    The only thing that bothered me was the laughably slow creep of the explosions from the Death Star. Saw Gerrera could’ve stopped for a cigarette and still walked away from that tidal wave of dirt.

    Of course there were some unnecessary things in there like R2 and 3PO, but I thought it added some light to a dark movie. Dark is okay – it’s why we need the rebellion.

    As a die hard Star Wars geek (I watch the animated series and read the books), I give it 5 stars compared to other Star Wars movies. I agree with your 4 on a normal movie scale.

    PS. I saw A New Hope at a drive-in from the back of my friend’s mom’s station wagon.

    Good review, sir…

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    1. Yes- Tarkin was fantastic and well done. Obviously knew it was CGI so I looked for the aberrations, but otherwise he looked great. Plus the surprise character at the end.

      I agree – best since the original three. Thought the latest (VII) was just a rehash of IV and doesn’t wear well after seeing it twice.

      Thanks for the comment, Kyle. I write these things and never know whether anyone reads them. Have a good New Year! 🙂

      Like

  2. Hands down agree. I thought it was by far one of the best – way better than the Force Awakens or the prequels. And the only SW film I’ve ever cried in. I thought this an amazingly well done movie, I loved that it was self-contained, I liked that it was darker, I liked having just enough information about the characters. The final scene with Vader? Boom. Crazy but that’s what you were kind of hoping for. They didn’t overuse him so he had an impact.

    Gerrera could have gone. And Forrest Whittaker didn’t fit anyway. I really liked Jyn, much more than Rae, so I’m a bit disappointed we won’t see more of her.

    Also, it had sort of slipped my mind that Peter Cushing died twenty years ago so when I saw Tarkin, I thought, gosh, he looks the same. Never even cottoned onto the fact that he was CGI until after the movie.

    The Princess Leia CGI I thought was creepy. The second time we saw it turned out to be the day she passed away which made it even creepier. So I could have done without that.

    And to add onto the music – you can’t top John Williams. I didn’t mind the music but it definitely reminded me that this was a separate story. Side note – we saw him conduct back in September at the Hollywood Bowl. When he started Star Wars, everyone brought out lightsabers and bopped them along to the beat. It was pretty epic.

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