Review: Rogue One

Published 1.6.2017
I'm toying with the idea of turning Fridays into "Review Day," with the intent to try and publish a review of a book I've read or movie I've seen every week. Of course, my goal to get a since book review published last year didn't work out too well, but if I quit then failure is assured. So this is the first review of 2017.

Just before the end of the year, my family went to the theater to see Rogue One, the new Star Wars movie. Please don’t read further if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know what happened.

We liked the film. Yes, it was grimmer and grittier than any other Star Wars, and it was a bit surprising that they killed everybody. However, as soon as the robot died, it was clear that this wasn’t going to be the typical Disney/Star Wars film. There wasn't going to be a magical happy ending. And certainly when the Deathstar showed up, you knew that everybody was done.

Still, the film cleared up many of the questions as to why the empire would use a design that was so flawed. The empire doesn’t realize the plans are flawed, because it killed all the engineers involved in the creation of the weapon, and then destroyed the repository of the design archives. Even after two such weapons are destroyed in the exactly the same way, the Empire has no quick or easy way to figure out why it keeps going wrong.

We had some question as to why Darth Vader doesn’t realize what was taken from the ship’s computers, but they could have been wiped clean before the ship was boarded. And as for not realizing what Leah was up to, well, he didn’t even realize that she was his daughter. So we could accept that he had no connection there to draw from. Leah doesn’t even know at this point that she has some part of the Force with her.

Still as a Disney stockholder, it’s an interesting choice to kill them all off. Sort of limits the product franchising, I would think. Jyn Orso has exactly one adventure, succeeds, but dies. My daughter disagreed saying that the characters were still heroic and people would want play with related toys or cosplay them.

I made a conscious choice to avoid any and all pieces about Rogue One until I saw it, so I missed the push of reviews and articles when the film debuted. After seeing it and writing my review above, I went looking to see what others had written.

  • The New York Times reviewer doesn’t like it. Mostly, he seems not to like the idea that they are expanding the story from the original films. I thought there was plenty of action in the movie.
  • The Guardian reviewer was apparently bored in parts, claiming there’s a point where you can go to relieve yourself if need be.
  • Rogue one is political? Trump fanboys made a short lived pitch to boycott Rogue One for political reasons, but after seeing it, we couldn’t figure out why. This piece gives the lowdown.

    I acknowledge: As part of the 53 percent of the electorate who didn’t vote for Donald Trump, it’s easy enough for me to say that the Empire, with its top-down authoritarian menace, equals what the gathering Trump administration is starting to look like. But my real point isn’t about facile fascism. It’s about how the ragtag, hanging-by-a-thread spirit of the Rebel Alliance connects, to an astonishing degree, with the dazed and confused mood that anti-Trump voters now find themselves in. The true subject of “Rogue One” is what it takes to get up and fight, just when you’re starting to be convinced that all hope is lost.

    The rumors about reshoots started as a “Fake news “ attempt, and are therefore false. The fact that Rogue One has (decisively) won the holiday box office means no one except Trump fans bought it.
  • The Vox reviewer somehow only realized with Rogue One that Star WARS is about a war. WTF? Seriously, The word WAR is in the damned title.

My family would watch this movie again, and I recommend it. However, it will be too intense for some people, especially younger ones. As we were filing out after the show there was a girl sobbing uncontrollably over the ending. Bear that in mind if you have young kids who want to see the film.


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