Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)


Plot: The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.

The first of every other year stand alone spin off movies set in the Star Wars Universe. Of course, it's also a prequel, and somehow, no one at LucasFilm/Disney learned their lesson of making a Star Wars prequel. And this movie is boring as shit. None of the human characters are engaging in the least, and the character with the most...character and personality is a damn droid. This suffers from the same fate that nearly all prequel movies suffer from: You know where this shit is heading, so there's no tension in the story by default. And considering there are four movies after this that don't involve any of the characters in this movie, it's pretty safe to assume going in that they're all going to die.

And, SPOILERS: Everyone dies. But it's impossible to care, because of course they all die. When Jyn finally reunites with her father, played by Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, of COURSE he does right after he says, "I have so much to tell you". Because it's that kind of stupid movie. It has fine action scenes, and it does a good job of capturing the idealized version of what the OT movies looked like, but otherwise it's a completely pointless movie that adds nothing to the saga, because who the fuck cares about WHY the reason the Death Star had that dumb design flaw. Like...what the fuck does it matter? Explaining every little detail kind of misses the point of why the OT was written the way it was. It's supposed to feel like you're walking in on the middle of the story. Explaining all the little details goes against the spirit of OT. 

Coming out of this, the most talked about moments in the movie were the CGI replications of 1977 Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher, and indeed, they are the most distracting parts of the movie. Digital Leah looks awful. Digital Tarkin mostly looks pretty weird, but there are a few shots where it looks ALMOST right. Almost. Other times it looks like a bad video game. Leah looks like a bizarre animatronic monster that would terrify your kids at a theme park.  But over all the most distracting thing to me isn't that this is a story that didn't need to be told, that it does nothing to impact or recontexualize or any other word you can think of to the rest of the series. No, the most distracting thing is that every 2-3 minutes, there will be 2-3 shots clearly done just to have something cool for the trailer.  It happens so regularly you can time it, and they add absolutely nothing to the movie other than "look at this cool shot". Much like Man of Steel in that respect. 

It's just a dull, boring movie where nothing matters. A story that didn't need to be told. If you were to drop the Star Wars branding, cut out the 30 seconds of Vader, and rename the Death Star the Star Ray Killer of Death, this would be a run of the mill YA sci-fi movie that all but a handful of 13 year olds would forget about 3 weeks after release.