Monday, 19 December 2016

Rogue One thoughts (** SPOILER ALERT ** SPOILER ALERT **)

Please do not start reading this if you don't want spoilers of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Now that we have the warnings out of the way please note that what follows are my thoughts on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and this will include spoilers so no getting upset if you read on and haven't seen the film yet.

It was back to Cineworld Bexleyheath for round two so I thought I'd share more detailed thoughts afterwards. What follows lacks real structure, it's just a brain dump of things that I thought of.

Rogue One starts in a manner we have all become accustomed to watching a Star Wars movie....

...and then it is all change. There is no opening crawl, there is no traditional Star Wars theme fanfare. This isn't a problem for me (although I've seen others complain about it). For the record the soundtrack for Rogue One is not scored by John Williams (who is busy doing Episode VIII) but is instead done by Michael Giacchino. He does an excellent job of imitating the feel of Star Wars music and there are lots of noticeable nods towards Mr Williams' legacy of work.

In the absence of fanfare of crawl we go straight into the action and in that we do have some familiarity. Large planet and a spaceship looming into view. What we have next is a flashback scene setting the background for how Galen Erso ends up back working with Orson Krennic and how Jyn Erso was spirited away by Saw Gerrera. The Death Troopers look absolutely awesome and I love the presence of Krennic, you dislike him from the start.

Lots of people have made comments about the CGI return of Grand Moff Tarkin. On first viewing it was clear that it was CGI but on watching A New Hope again you really appreciate how good a job they made of it. Second viewing you can suspend the CGI bit and just enjoy the return of TARKIN! Personally I LOVE that they did this and it really helps bridge the gap between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope. The tensions between Krennic and Tarkin comes across really well.

I really loved Rogue One, it's up there near the top of my favourite Star Wars movies. It was a bold move by Disney/Lucasfilm to go and do a standalone but it worked really well. The costumes and set were perfect and as mentioned before Michael Giacchino did a grand job on the soundtrack to keep everything on point.

There are plenty of little nods to other films like blue milk and a plethora of brief cameos from characters from other parts of the Star Wars universe.
General Dodonna (A New Hope)
Mon Mothma (Revenge Of The Sith, The Clone Wars, Return Of The Jedi)
The Ghost (ship from Rebels)
Hera Syndulla (Rebels - pilot of The Ghost. We don't see her but there is an announcement calling her on Yavin 4) 
Chopper (Rebels)
Rian Johnson (director of Episode VIII)
Warwick Davis (The Phantom Menace, Return Of The Jedi, The Force Awakens)
RA-7 (Death Star Droid)
Mouse Droid
Viper Probe Droid
AT-ST (from Return Of The Jedi)
Red Leader (A New Hope)
Gold Leader (A New Hope)
Red 5 (who dies thus opening the vacancy for Luke in A New Hope) 
HAVw A6 Juggernaut transport (Revenge of The Sith)
Pondo Babba (A New Hope)
Dr. Evazan (A New Hope)
Captain Antilles (A New Hope)
Whills (Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus ware known as “Guardians of the Whills”. George Lucas' earlier writings for Star Wars were called Journal Of The Whills)
Tantive IV (A New Hope)
Bail Organa (The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, Revenge Of The Sith, The Clone Wars, Rebels)

That's all the stuff that I know about or noticed, there's probably a couple of other subtle ones I've missed too!

There are lots of questioned around things that were shown in trailers that clearly weren't in the movie but I'll save all that for a blog post somewhere down the line.

The thing that really impressed me with the end of Rogue One was the fact that they took a risk. There was no wishy washy escape for any of our band of young rebels to get a feel good factor. After getting the job down they ALL died. They all had good deaths in various manners with Jyn and Cassian's being particularly poignant

Delicious irony reigns supreme as Krennic meets his ultimate demise at the hands of his own weapon. The scene is beautifully shot..

Then of course we have THAT scene with Darth Vader. Just before the Tantive IV gets away we have Darth Vader go on a wonderful little rampage where he destroys a lot of rebels through the use of the Force and his lightsaber. Based on this scene alone I would be over the moon to see them create a standalone Darth Vader movie at some point!

To cap things off we even get a CGI Princess Leia at the end which was brief but most welcome and it lifts the end of the movie to a happier place leading into the film that started it all off.

Once the credits roll we do go out with the traditional Star Wars theme/fanfare which was great to hear.

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