Who would have thought that a Star Wars film could be dreadfully dull?
After the disappointing fan-ficish feminist retread that was TFA, I for the first time had no anticipation for another Star Wars film. It wasn’t so much that I was determined to boycott the franchise, as much as there just didn’t seem to be much of anything to interest me in it anymore. So when Rogue One came out, I felt no desire to see the film. It came to the theaters and went with little notice from me.
But I read many reviews that claimed this one was significantly better than TFA. So I decided to give it a shot on RedBox, and I’m sorry I spent the money. It was indeed better than TFA, but not much.
This film did do some things well. The art direction for one. In TFA, the warmed up Ralph McQuarrie leftovers made the franchise feel like it was cannibalizing itself. Here though, the McQuarrie designs are welcome since they go a long way to depict this particular period in Star Wars lore.
I would also argue that visually, Rogue One does capture the epic nature of a galaxy-wide war, in contrast to TFA which visually felt like a small made-for-television effort.
The special effects are great, and the battle scenes are well done.
Unfortunately, the plot and characters fall flat.
I have to admit here, that the unthinking political rants from the screenwriters biased my viewing, so I was expecting empty social justice drivel. Thankfully there’s little of that, but ultimately the plot was a story that didn’t feel like it needed to be told. Stealing the Death Star plans. It seems that the few lines in Episode IV that summed this up were quite enough. A 2-hour film to flesh out a detail just doesn’t feel necessary here.
The characters were intensely uninteresting. There’s an eye-rolling moment where Jyn beats down about a half dozen armed, trained, and armored stormtroopers with a stick. Apparently, this was where we were supposed to hear Jyn’s womanhood roar, and there really doesn’t appear to be more to her character than that. There’s a couple of scenes where Jyn is lecturing the older and wiser leadership of the Rebellion, and giving a speech to some grizzled soldiers in an attempt to inspire them. Why wasn’t anyone asking who let this naive inexperienced girl into the room? Why would anyone listen to her?
The robot attempts at humor fell flat. The blind Jedi wannabe would have been far more interesting if he had been made a last remaining Jedi with an actual lightsaber. What is with Disney’s obsession with having heroes bringing sticks to a blaster fight? Cassian felt like a poor man’s Biggs Darklighter. Forest Whitaker was there for gravitas apparently. The rest of the characters were just…there. Oh, and the evil Empire was a bunch of old white men. Surprise, surprise.
The last Darth Vader sequence was pretty cool, we never really saw DV in full action like that before. But I could have waited for that clip to come out on YouTube.
This diminishes my interest in Episode VIII, which I just saw the trailer for today. It looks like Rey is still wearing her stanky Jakku fatigues. Pew!
Behold; you are witnessing the death of a franchise in slow motion.