ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Gareth Edwards

Starring:
Felicity Jones/Jyn
Diego Luna/Cassian
Donnie Yen/Chirrut
Alan Tudyk/ K-2SO
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a group of rebel hard asses unite in the name of stealing the plans of the Death Star. The latter is a huge space station created by the "evilllll" Empire, one that can annihilate an entire planet with just one laser blast! We can't have any of that shite floating around ya know!
THE LOWDOWN

Gareth Edwards has come a long way since his low budget debut MONSTERS in 2010. He got to bring The King of Lizards GODZILLA back to the screens in 2014 and now he is tackling the be and end all of film franchises: STAR WARS! ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story is of course a direct prequel to 1977’s STAR WARS: A New Hope (the last scene in Rogue takes place hours before New Hope kicks in) and is the first of many “STAR WARS off-shoots” that Disney has on its chopping block (with the Young Han Solo flick slated for 2018). Now I personally have mixed feelings about getting a STAR WARS film every damn year as I don’t want the series to become over-saturated in my minds eye. On that, if they’re as gnarly as ROGUE ONE, I should be okay!

ROGUE ONE went about telling its tale by ripping the best pages out of the “men on a mission” subgenre handbook, laying on a bleak veneer over the whole, tossing all kinds of STAR WARS elements our way and letting it all rip with gusto in the end. Yup, what we got here is The Dirty Dozen by way of Star Wars! Nothing wrong with that! I was engaged from the get-go in this one’s happenings as the film introduced me to its slew of characters and brought me from planet, to planet, to planet, to planet (maybe too much planet hopping in this one) to set up its plot line. Granted, our heroine (the lovely Felicity Jones) aside, our rag-tag group of Rebels could have benefited from further development, but thankfully I knew enough about them to give a shite, dug their shades of grey and the fine actors behind the roles made sure to keep me rooting for them.

Felicity Jones has been getting some flack from some folks online for her showcase here and me no comprende. She was one of my favorite characters and brought the necessary gravitas to the role. Other stand-outs in the cast for me were the always cool as f*ck Donnie Yen as a blind Jedi monk, Jiang We as the gun happy badass and Ben Mendelsohn as the so evil it hurts Empire top-dog.

FANBOY NOTE: More Mads Mikkelsen is always a good thing in any movie, bummer he didn’t get more screen time here. Also, I would have given Ben Daniels (whom I adore on TV’s The Exorcist) a much larger role. In fact I would have traded Diego Luna (who I felt was a tad miscast) for Daniels in the Cassian role. But hey that’s just me and last I checked I don't know shit!

With a 200 Million Dollars budget tagged to its Imperial ass, needles to say that everything was top of the line on a technical standpoint: set/costume designs, a slick mix of practical and VFX enhancements and all kinds of jaw-dropping fight choreographies and intricate WAR scenes. I gotta say it; that EPIC scale battle in the end (in space intercut with on the ground) really put the WOW in my retinas. Although what preceded it was good, it was a wise move for the overall experience that it all ended on a WILD and INSANE note. Add to that; all kinds of slick nods/visual cues to the original trilogy (with random cameos that did not distract me, they just put a smile on my face), the fixing of a plot hole that always grated me in A New Hope, some earnest laughs (that K-2SO Droid voiced by Alan Tudky, came off like a cynical C3P0) & the return of Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones no less) getting one hell of a fan pleasing moment and you get a gritter than usual yet still satisfying entry in the immortal space opera that is STAR WARS!

On the flipside; the score (by Michael Giacchino) did little for me. It often didn’t elevate a scene the way it should. For example some bits were obviously bleak but for some reason the music was of the “light” variety hence working against the moments. There was not enough “classic Star Wars” music in the house neither. A huge sin right there! I was also in the “didn’t dig it” camp when it came to Tarkin’s return. The CGI Peter Cushing (who passed on 22 years ago) they pimped out looked like just that a VFX character that stood out like a sore clit among the human actors. It would have been right at home in a Cal of Duty video game though. Casting another performer or going about it differently (like having Tarkin communicate as a hologram or something) would have been appreciated. And was I alone in thinking that Donnie Yen should have been using a lightsaber (which were too scarced here for a Star Wars movie) instead of a f-ing stick? It kind of resulted in a plot hole when it came to the Stormtroopers shady armor. Is the Empire hiring cheap labor to create those?! Come on! Finally the first half of the film could have used some snipping, there was a bit of lag, nothing major though.

FANBOY NOTE 2: I was disappointed that the epic shot of a Tie Fighter rising in front of our lead dame from the trailer was not in the finished film nor the line “This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel!” I know, maybe I should look into finding a life – but hey I was stoked to see them two moments on the big screen. No dice!

All in all, ROGUE ONE back-handed me hard! It was grand, the money was on the screen and that last action-packed act whooped me stupid! It’s definitely a film that I will go see again on the big screen, hopefully with my Dad, so we can keep our Star Wars tradition alive! The force is with me, I am one with the force. Are you?

GORE
Laser hits. As far as this one went!
T & A
I almost got naked in the theater because the boys needed to breathe. Does that count?
BOTTOM LINE
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did three things at the same time. It was a STAR WARS film, a direct prequel to the 1977 original and a pure men on a mission/war jamboree! The flick had a solid cast, lots of powerful and expertly choreographed action scenes, all kinds of cool nods to the STAR WARS universe, some laughs and it blew me away when it came to its scope and technical wizardry! Yeah, the lead characters could have been more developed, the limp score was the weakest thing here, there was some pacing issues early on, I could have gone without VFX "Call of Duty" Tarkin and Donnie Yen's stick should have been a saber, but on the whole, I had a blast with this edgy take on one of my fav franchises and I hope you do too!
BULL'S EYE
ROGUE ONE went through extensive reshoots; Tony Gilroy was brought on to help "fix" the film. I'd love to see the original cut. Usually, Studios are wrong.

Rogue One used unseen footage from the A New Hope in its space battle scenes.

Alan Tudyk also played the lead robot in I. Robot.
Strikeback
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11:02AM on 12/19/2016

LOVED IT!!!

I'm baffled by the Tarkin thing, I thought it looked incredible.

Also, Donnie Yen's character was not a Jedi, he just loved the ideology of Jedis and the Force. Plus where would he get a lightsaber? lol they don't just sell them on the streets.
I'm baffled by the Tarkin thing, I thought it looked incredible.

Also, Donnie Yen's character was not a Jedi, he just loved the ideology of Jedis and the Force. Plus where would he get a lightsaber? lol they don't just sell them on the streets.
Your Reply:



1:41PM on 12/19/2016
To each his own! How do you know they don't sell them on the streets of Jedha? Others have found guns, why not a saber? :)
To each his own! How do you know they don't sell them on the streets of Jedha? Others have found guns, why not a saber? :)
+0
11:28PM on 12/18/2016

Yep I agree.... Accept....

I thought Tarkin looked fine... If I had never seen A New Hope and did not know who Cushing was I would have assumed it was a regular actor. Because we know it's CGI, we are looking for CGI and thus finding the tiny errors. Anyways that is my feeling on the matter. Loved the film. Far better then the last 4 star wars films.
I thought Tarkin looked fine... If I had never seen A New Hope and did not know who Cushing was I would have assumed it was a regular actor. Because we know it's CGI, we are looking for CGI and thus finding the tiny errors. Anyways that is my feeling on the matter. Loved the film. Far better then the last 4 star wars films.
Your Reply:



8:20AM on 12/19/2016
I didn't know beforehand about VFX Tarkin. And for me, it stood out right away and I found it distracting. To each his own!
I didn't know beforehand about VFX Tarkin. And for me, it stood out right away and I found it distracting. To each his own!
9:28AM on 12/19/2016
I thought CGI Leia looked WAY worse.
I thought CGI Leia looked WAY worse.

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