Saturday, 17 December 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - The scoop and digest

Set just before A New Hope and 5 years after animated series Rebels, the first in the Anthology series reveals how the Rebels got their grubby mitts on plans for the Death Star.

As per The Force Awakens, I was really pumped for this, so another date with midnight was inevitable.

Gareth 'Godzilla' Edwards knows failure is not an option.

Diego Luna - Cassian
Felicity Jones - Jyn Erso
Ben Mendolsohn - Orson Krennic
Forest Whitaker - Saw Gerrera
Donnie Yen - Chirrut Îmwe
Mads Mikkelsen - Galen Erso
Alan Tudyk - K-2SO
Wen Jiang - Baze Malbus

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

(Camera pans up).

Yeah, not down.

Please don't expect account to be dead-on-balls accurate, but memory will do its best.

Pissed at Death Star's designer Galen defecting, Empire's Director Krennic pays family a visit on boggy planet Lah'mu.

Jyn finds a nice secluded spot to hide and is soon found by Saw Gerrara (making his live action debut from The Clone Wars).

Some time later, a now adult Jyn is imprisoned on desert-esque Jedha for crimes against the Empire.

Compatriot Cassian gives her early parole and so begins their epic journey.

They planet hop across the galaxy and along with reprogrammed sarcastic Imperial droid K-2SO, a mixture of personalities follow, including blind Force rookie monk Chirrut Îmwe and gun-toting Baze Malbas.

If ears are tuned in, you'll hear said monk is referred to as the Guardian of the Whills, reffing one of George Lucas' several titles for original screenplay 'Journal of the Whills'.

Gerrera plays a holographic recording of Galen informing Jyn of Death Star's location on planet Scarif.  As he was forced by the Empire to help build their ultimate weapon, he made sure reactor contained a flaw which if hit, will cause space station to go boom.

(Thanks for clearing that up).

Krennic orders Jedha's destruction and Death Star duly obliges, but the rebels escape and make haste to Euda (apologies if spelling isn't correct), where Galen awaits.

Hot on their heels is Krennic, whose trigger happy stormtroopers execute engineers, with Galen dying in the process.

Shit hits the fan on tropical paradise and everybody's invited, including AT-AT and AT-ST.

Trust me - third act is fantastic.

'Stardust' file (named after his daughter), is found within Citadel tower and force shield is broken by persistent rebel assault.

Prior to credits rolling, 'Hope' is successfully delivered to Leia on her spaceship.

Falling short of greatness

Although fully deserving bucket loads of praise, this was far from perfect.

More later.

Environments are genuinely beautiful, action is spectacular, special effects astound and costumes drip nostalgia.

Michael Giacchino only had a month to compose score and result is pretty good.

Snippets of John Williams' themes can be heard throughout and the great man's composition is appropriately used for ending theme.

Like Joker in Suicide Squad, Vader is practically anonymous, but at least Sith Lord is given a fucking awesome scene, as deflecting blaster shots with lightsaber and throwing Rebels about like rag dolls is a sight to behold.

References

Fan service demands C-3PO and R2 are seen on Yavin IV.

K-2SO has his own R2 moment when hacking into a computer and interrupted when commenting 'I have a very bad feeling...'

I'm sure Jabba's chief of staff Bib Fortuna features.

Kyber crystals power The Clone Wars (and lightsabers).

In the opening sequence when Krennic's cronies are searching for Jyn, they find a stormtrooper doll.

We presume gift was given years before father fell out with the Empire.

Most controversial of all:

Vader awakes from bacta tank and spares Krennic's life issuing the line 'Don't choke on your own aspirations Director'.

This is IDENTICAL in principle to A New Hope, when Motti quickly regrets taunting 'sorcerer' about a certain ancient religion.

Multiple problems

I did like this, but what you're about to read suggests otherwise.

Ha ha ha!

Belated title logo states 'Rogue One', so why market this with unnecessary subtitle?

Visiting so many planets (stated on-screen for the first time) seems pointless, especially since only a select few are explored.

Don't forget, this film was extensively re-shot.

Of course it's not martial arts legend Donnie Yen's fault, but repeating the prayer 'I am one with the Force, the Force is with me' is very, VERY irritating.

'Rescuing' clichés are set to overkill, acting is clunky, lacklustre script malfunctions, but worst of all is undoubtedly characterisation.

Sure they all part company, but here's an idea - why not have us give a shit while they're alive?

Forest Whitaker is a great actor, but OH MY GOD, performance is absolutely terrible.

Ben Mendolsohn is OTT and kinda fun as a 'fake' baddie, but primarily squabbles with 'Grand Moff' Tarkin.

Which brings me to another complaint.

Ever since the Galaxy advert resurrected Audrey Hepburn, CG holds no boundaries.

In contrast, a digital Peter Cushing looks weird and Carrie Fisher 'young' is hardly believable.

Oh, Guy Henry and Ingvild Deila were hired as body doubles.

Finally, I am duty bound to mention this.

Unless you're fully clued up on the largely exciting no longer canon extended universe in video games, most won't realise plot is old news, and central to 2006 PSP/DS entry Lethal Alliance.

Twi'lek mercenary Rianna Saren rescues security droid Zeeo, and Death Star's blueprints are eventually acquired from Zabrek slaver Zarien Kheev.

Hey ho, right?

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