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Peter T Chattaway

Star Wars: Rogue One

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My very mixed review.

9 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Oh, one other thing: I wasn't paying all *that* much attention to the trailers for this film when they came out over the last several months, but after the movie was over, I started thinking of various rather-iconic bits from those trailers that simply aren't in the film: Jyn Erso standing on the platform as the TIE fighter looms in front of her, Ben Mendelsohn walking on water, etc. I assume that's all connected to the much-rumoured reshoots etc.

I expected the TIE fighter moment on the platform, but it never came. I also found Darth Lader's lair in Mordor to be interesting, especially the Spielbergian shot of his shadow on the wall. But you're right, Peter--there was something slightly off about both the mask and the voice.

SPOILER: A question I had about continuity: the film has plenty of callbacks to previous characters, including a run in with Ponda Baba and Cornelius Evazan on the desert planet/moon. But then the Death Star blows it all up. So...I guess we can assume they somehow got off the planet safely and made it to the cantina in Mos Eisley in time for the scene with Obi-Wan in Episode IV? Or is there an inconsistency here?

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Joel Mayward wrote:
: . . .  especially the Spielbergian shot of his shadow on the wall.

I think Spielberg would give all the credit to Michael Curtiz, there. :) (I know he does for the shot of Indiana Jones's shadow in Marion's bar in Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

: So...I guess we can assume they somehow got off the planet safely . . .

Looks like we'll have to. I assume someone's already working on a novel or comic that explains how they got from one movie to the other. (And what were those particular specimens of "scum and villainy" doing on a religious-pilgrimage planet?)

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Quick, random, first impressions:

Vader: I thought he was fine. Voice, helmet, body language — I was impressed.

CGI likenesses — awful. The movie's final moment was painfully bad.

But during the air battles at the end, the appearances of some familiar faces from A New Hope were very, very impressive. They didn't look CGI, but those actors aren't still around, so... how? That was the only thing in the movie that inspired me to applaud.

New characters: Nothing particularly memorable about any of them (except K5, or whatever Tudyk's droid is).

Ending? Surprisingly grim, and disappointingly unaffecting considering how surprisingly grim it was.

The whole thing felt like a video game with just enough dialogue to stitch together the stages of the game.

And — I hate to say it — but Giacchino's music sounded like a composer who's been told he can't use any of the original themes, but he's also not allowed to go his own way, so we get the sound of him straining to be Star Wars-ish... but not, you know, creative.

 

Edited by Overstreet

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Overstreet wrote:
: But during the air battles at the end, the appearances of some familiar faces from A New Hope were very, very impressive. They didn't look CGI, but those actors aren't still around, so... how? 

I thought they were just re-using footage from Episode IV. I don't remember the characters saying anything in this film that they hadn't already said in Episode IV.

: Ending? Surprisingly grim . . .

Oh, I expected it. I predicted it on Facebook not too long ago when certain fanboy sites were disbelieving Lucasfilm's claim that there would be no sequels to this film. The ending of this film was certainly less surprising than Han Solo's death in Episode VII, and even *that* wasn't particularly surprising.

: And — I hate to say it — but Giacchino's music sounded like a composer who's been told he can't use any of the original themes, but he's also not allowed to go his own way, so we get the sound of him straining to be Star Wars-ish... but not, you know, creative.

Word.

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11 hours ago, Overstreet said:

But during the air battles at the end, the appearances of some familiar faces from A New Hope were very, very impressive. They didn't look CGI, but those actors aren't still around, so... how? That was the only thing in the movie that inspired me to applaud.

They manipulated footage and outtakes from the original STAR WARS.

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NBooth   
12 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Darth Vader's helmet was all wrong, though. Didn't look at all like the helmet he had in Episode IV. And I don't recall ever being able to almost-see through its eyes like we could in this one. (The eyes were always supposed to look solid black from the outside. Here it was like a very dark red at times. Possibly a callback to the red data display we saw from Anakin's point of view as the helmet was placed on his face in Episode III? Who knows.)

I was under the impression that the see-through lenses in ANH are one of the more famous continuity/design differences in the OT. I certainly had them pointed out to me as long ago as the release of ROTS. It's got an entry on IMDB.

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NBooth wrote:
: I was under the impression that the see-through lenses in ANH are one of the more famous continuity/design differences in the OT. I certainly had them pointed out to me as long ago as the release of ROTS. It's got an entry on IMDB.

Huh. I don't remember ever spotting that. Now, of course, it'll be the first thing I look for. (And Lucas didn't "fix" this in later editions of the film?)

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I'm mildly curious to know what people who've seen this film think of (nominal) director Gareth Edwards' earlier films. I'm on record to the effect that Monsters was over-rated, and I think I remember being kinda "meh" on Godzilla. Does Rogue One surpass his earlier efforts? Does it not live up to them? Is it in the same basic zone as them?

One thing that struck me about the trailers for Rogue One was the moving ground-level shot of the Rebels running around with those towering AT-AT's in the background. It seemed like the sort of thing Edwards had done in his last two films (even the micro-budgeted Monsters, at least as far as the *scale* of the shot was concerned). So it's striking now to see that that is one of the 18 bits from the trailers that did not end up in the actual movie.

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NBooth   
6 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

NBooth wrote:
: I was under the impression that the see-through lenses in ANH are one of the more famous continuity/design differences in the OT. I certainly had them pointed out to me as long ago as the release of ROTS. It's got an entry on IMDB.

Huh. I don't remember ever spotting that. Now, of course, it'll be the first thing I look for. (And Lucas didn't "fix" this in later editions of the film?)

Based on this person's word, no. This fan edit does, however.

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4 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

I'm mildly curious to know what people who've seen this film think of (nominal) director Gareth Edwards' earlier films. I'm on record to the effect that Monsters was over-rated, and I think I remember being kinda "meh" on Godzilla. Does Rogue One surpass his earlier efforts? Does it not live up to them? Is it in the same basic zone as them?

One thing that struck me about the trailers for Rogue One was the moving ground-level shot of the Rebels running around with those towering AT-AT's in the background. It seemed like the sort of thing Edwards had done in his last two films (even the micro-budgeted Monsters, at least as far as the *scale* of the shot was concerned). So it's striking now to see that that is one of the 18 bits from the trailers that did not end up in the actual movie.

Godzilla, like Rogue One, isn't strong on narrative, but it is strong on surprising and startling imagery. Edwards needs a really strong screenwriter. I think Disney and the Star Wars authorities were leaning too heavily on Gilroy here. I'd love to know what that first script looked like.

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9 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

I'm mildly curious to know what people who've seen this film think of (nominal) director Gareth Edwards' earlier films. I'm on record to the effect that Monsters was over-rated, and I think I remember being kinda "meh" on Godzilla. Does Rogue One surpass his earlier efforts? Does it not live up to them? Is it in the same basic zone as them?

I think all three of Edwards' films have glimpses of freshness and creativity, especially in moments featuring people navigating the experience of something much larger scale than themselves or in subverting audience expectations. For instance, I recall being taken aback that Juliette Binoche and Bryan Cranston were both barely present in Godzilla, as was Godzilla himself; I left that experience appreciating what Edwards was trying to do, but not necessarily having a strong reaction, apart from a few key images (the military troopers skydiving into the city, for example). Same with Monsters; it was a fresh approach to the giant alien monster idea, and had some memorable shots, but I can't recall a single character or the basic plot elements. For all three films, I'd say the visual moments and intentional audience subversion take precedent over character development or story arc.

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9 hours ago, Overstreet said:

I'd love to know what that first script looked like.

They started shooting without a completed script, so the script was seemingly a work-in-progress throughout the entirety of production. 

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4 hours ago, Ryan H. said:

They started shooting without a completed script, so the script was seemingly a work-in-progress throughout the entirety of production. 

Huh. Between this, the trailer changes/reshoots, and knowing that Giacchino came in fairly last minute for the score, replacing Desplat, I do wonder what the film could have been had there been a sense of consistency and patience. It's not that reshoots are necessarily detrimental--they, hopefully, make for a better film in the end--but that all of these aspects seem to hint at harried, hurried production.

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On 12/16/2016 at 11:05 AM, Ryan H. said:

They manipulated footage and outtakes from the original STAR WARS.

Wow. Well, they did an excellent job. Each one felt seamlessly integrated with the rest.

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On 12/16/2016 at 3:57 PM, Peter T Chattaway said:

One thing that struck me about the trailers for Rogue One was the moving ground-level shot of the Rebels running around with those towering AT-AT's in the background. It seemed like the sort of thing Edwards had done in his last two films (even the micro-budgeted Monsters, at least as far as the *scale* of the shot was concerned). So it's striking now to see that that is one of the 18 bits from the trailers that did not end up in the actual movie.

Spoilers!

The AT-AT fight at the end seemed strangely disjointed and truncated, no doubt because of the changes and re-shoots. It was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it event. As you noted, a couple of the longest and best shots were in the trailer and they didn't even end up in the movie. I was disappointed.

Also, this causes another issue of continuity with the original trilogy. In this new movie, the X-Wings swoop in and make mincemeat of the AT-ATs... blowing them in half, blowing their legs off, etc. We know from ESB that the Snowspeeders couldn't make a dent in the AT-AT's armor, but there were X-Wings on Hoth, though, so WHY DIDN'T THE REBELS USE THEM??? :)

As for the movie itself, I might have liked it just slightly more than Overstreet's "meh." But just barely. The first half seemed needlessly heavy on exposition. The battle at the end was visually stunning, though. I would have liked it a lot more, especially the ground battle, if again, I wasn't looking for shots and scenarios from the trailers that never made it to the final cut.

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On 15/12/2016 at 11:12 PM, Joel Mayward said:

SPOILER: A question I had about continuity: the film has plenty of callbacks to previous characters, including a run in with Ponda Baba and Cornelius Evazan on the desert planet/moon. But then the Death Star blows it all up. So...I guess we can assume they somehow got off the planet safely and made it to the cantina in Mos Eisley in time for the scene with Obi-Wan in Episode IV? Or is there an inconsistency here?

Maybe Dr. Evazan had the death sentence in the Jehda system and had to get off-planet fast? :ph34r:

Saw it late last night at 10 pm. The theatre was surprisingly empty, only about 8-10% filled. I had gone in thinking I would like Rogue One more than The Force Awakens but I was disappointed.

The first jarring thing is the lack of the famous opening crawl and the absence of the thematic 

Star Wars score. Good call on the first planet resembling the land in Noah.

The inclusion of kyber crystals was cool - although the Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the first EU novel, uses "Kaiburr crystal." It seems as if there was a bit of a continuing confusion over "kyber" vs. "Kaiburr." During the movie I had Donald Trump's voice in my mind rattling on about "the kyber."

After the prologue, the next ten minutes is pretty helter-skelter. We jump from planet to planet to planet. 

One thing that annoys me about the Disney Star Wars movies is how little they rely on alien species that have previously appeared in films. The Rebel Alliance was largely comprised of humans (granted, they did bring back the Mon Calamari, though I half-expected a younger Ackbar to make a cameo) which is somewhat odd considering, in fact, that the Empire was largely noted for being ant-alien. But where are the Twi'leks, Rodians, Weequays, Neimoidians, etc...? Personally, I would've loved to see a Bothan or a species that originated in the EU be included.

Ultimately, the movie was too crowded with new characters who aren't fleshed out. I don't know if this is due to Disney now allowing new Star Wars novels and TV shows to be considered canon and thus relying on fans to read/watch this content in addition to the films, but I didn't end up caring about any of the characters even though they drop hints that they have been through hell (e.g. Cassian saying he's been fighting since he was six, Saw abandoning Jyn at 16, etc...). The character I cared most about was K-2S0. The Han Solo movie might be different since we know some of those characters already, naming the titular smuggler, Lando, and Chewbacca.

 

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Joel Mayward wrote:
: Same with Monsters; it was a fresh approach to the giant alien monster idea, and had some memorable shots, but I can't recall a single character or the basic plot elements.

I remember actively disliking the characters in Monsters and finding the dialogue sub-par. I agree with Jeff: Edwards needs a screenwriter.

morgan1098 wrote:
: Spoilers!

It's a "spoiler" to say that something in the movie's trailer isn't in the actual film itself? Hmmm. Gonna have to think about that one.

: We know from ESB that the Snowspeeders couldn't make a dent in the AT-AT's armor, but there were X-Wings on Hoth, though, so WHY DIDN'T THE REBELS USE THEM???

Yeah, that question occurred to me too, and my best guess is that the X-wings were busy escorting the giant frigates (though how the X-wings were supposed to protect anything from a Star Destroyer, I don't know; and matters are complicated by the fact that Luke, a renowned X-wing pilot, flew a snowspeeder into battle and let his X-wing sit out the fight).

: The first half seemed needlessly heavy on exposition.

I still feel bad for Mads Mikkelsen having to deliver that big long monologue.

winter shaker wrote:
: The first jarring thing is the lack of the famous opening crawl . . .

Well, they announced that this film wouldn't have an opening crawl some time ago. This is a standalone film, not an "episode". So I was prepared for that.

: One thing that annoys me about the Disney Star Wars movies is how little they rely on alien species that have previously appeared in films.

Well, as part of this movie's indebtedness to Return of the Jedi, we do see some Mon Calamari among the Rebel bigwigs. But yeah, it's a very human-oriented movie. (I guess racial diversity counted for more than species diversity this time out.)

This reminds me, one of the things I always kinda liked about Lucas's movies was the way he threw weird creatures into the movies at random moments Just Because He Could. "There's always a bigger fish" and stuff like that. They didn't necessarily advance the plot at all, they just added to the colour of that universe he was creating.

: Cassian saying he's been fighting since he was six . . .

A friend on Facebook found this line puzzling, because the actor playing Cassian (Diego Luna) is currently 36 (and turns 37 later this month). If the *character* is supposed to be the same age as the *actor*, then he would have been "fighting" the Empire for 30 years... but the Empire has only existed for 19 years (the official age of Luke and Leia in Episode IV).

So presumably Luna is playing younger than his age -- as is Felicity Jones, who is 33. If *her* character is supposed to be 33 in this film, then she was 14 when the Empire began, but the prologue (which features various Imperial personnel) clearly takes place when her character is younger than that.

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17 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

winter shaker wrote:
: The first jarring thing is the lack of the famous opening crawl . . .

Well, they announced that this film wouldn't have an opening crawl some time ago. This is a standalone film, not an "episode". So I was prepared for that.

I hadn't read that. I was pretty good about avoiding spoilers for this one. Apparently

Tarkin's

appearance was announced months ago but I didn't know about it until the eve of my viewing Rogue One.

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Saw it.  Enjoyed it.  But SDG's criticism rings true.  Haven't seen a movie in a while where the good guy kills the cat instead of saving it.

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Loved it. Beyond some obvious cgi and Darth Vader costume not looking right an excellent film, and a very honest story about the costs of war and rebellion.

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20 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

 

morgan1098 wrote:
: Spoilers!

It's a "spoiler" to say that something in the movie's trailer isn't in the actual film itself? Hmmm. Gonna have to think about that one.

 

Heh, sorry! I wasn't criticizing your post for spoilers, I was giving warning that the post I was about to write contained them, i.e. details about the AT-AT battle.

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morgan1098 wrote:
: Heh, sorry! I wasn't criticizing your post for spoilers, I was giving warning that the post I was about to write contained them, i.e. details about the AT-AT battle.

Ah! Okay, then. :)

But, inadvertently or otherwise, you did raise an interesting philosophical question. I'm still thinking about it. :)

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