Friday, December 16, 2016

ROGUE ONE: Post-screening download…

I'm gonna just ramble out my thoughts on ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY here. Whatever comes to mind, spoilerful notes and thoughts included.


Looks like a full space station out tonight—fitting for a first screening of ROGUE ONE =)

I've done my best to ignore, avoid, and miss all buzz, hype, leaks, and BTS whatnot about this film and I'm very glad I did. Its story managed to surprise me in a couple of pretty basic and important ways.

It dovetails with the beginning of EPISODE 4, pretty much because it must. Rogue One succeeds in extracting the technical readouts of that battle station. Only one Rebel ship that received the plans survives the arrival of Vader's Star Destroyer and one copy of those plans makes it onto a Blockade Runner that barely escapes, and it's this Runner we see at the beginning of EP 4.

At first blush, this feels wrong. It seems like there should be more time, and maybe space—a couple of stops, rendezvouses, or maybe ship transfers?—between this ending and the beginning of A NEW HOPE, right? But remember, at the start of STAR WARS, there is only one copy of the plans, it is precious, unique. This means there was no time or opportunity to make and transmit and/or launch copies to other Rebel contacts. And that means that the blockade runner we see captured by Vader's Star Destroyer is the one that escaped him over Scarif. It's also the blockade runner that Bail Organa dispatched to contact Obi-Wan Kenobi, a trusted friend and Jedi. All of the math works out.

Of course, if you want to ignore Occam's Razor, you might imagine that the Blockade Runner makes it to some rendezvous point, the data is copied and passed on to let's say five other ships, and all six ships then make a run for Yavin-4 thru various circuitous courses. Vader and the Empire manage to destroy them all until only Leia's ship remains, the one which originally received the Rebel transmission.

But, y'know, the momentum of those last minutes really does want to connect directly to the first minutes of A NEW HOPE.

The events, the time involved, just *feels* so compressed, counterintuitive, surprising. Maybe that's good, tho, at least for me, because it made me THINK about how it should have happened, which I somehow never actually have. =)

And I gotta say, I went into this expecting a feel-good big-win story. I mean, we know they get the plans, right? But I hadn't really thought it through… After all, "Many Bothans died," right? Only while I was watching ROGUE ONE, in the scene in Rebels central on Yavin 4 when Jyn Erso passes along her father's message and tries to rally the Alliance forces to assault the Imperial whatzit on Scarif, did it click for me that this was going to be a SEVEN SAMURAI scenario. A victory, but at a high cost.


"Many Bothans died" was Mon Mothma speaking of the Death Star/Endor plans in RETURN OF THE JEDI. There was no reference to the dangers involved in acquiring the Stardust plans in A NEW HOPE. My badd.


The Force is with me and I am one with the Force. I *love* me some Donnie Yen in the SWU. =)

Donnie's Chirrut Imwe is a Jedi Temple guardian. In the aftermath of the Clone Wars and the ascendence of the Empire, he is out of a legit job, but still keeps close to his station, the temple on Jedha, where the Empire is mining Kyber Crystals.

Hrm… Are there a mess of tiny Kyber asteroids in orbit around Endor? In a belt in the Yavin system?

I'm liking to think that guardians might be Force-strong individuals who were found or realized their connection at too late an age to begin Youngling-Padawan training.

I'm fuzzy on whether his longtime space companion Baze Malbus was also a temple guardian. By his demeanor and fighting style, it seems not, but then again, his resilience and uncanny save-the-day timing might be signs of Force-strength, right? Just manifesting in a not-very-Jedi-Knight-y way.

Vader sabering and Forcing his way thru the Rebels is pretty sweet. =)

Felt like a pretty awesome remix of the original trilogy films. The Death Star, deadly chasm shootouts and drops, narrow catwalks over empty air, blaster turrets, X-Wings, AT-ATs, the Rebel fleet caught between Imperial forces and an energy shield, Yavin-4, Mothma and Dodonna, Red and Gold Leaders, even Tarkin and Leia, and was that Biggs as part of Blue squadron?

Oh, the fate of the previous Red 5…

Tarkin and Leia…Still walking the uncanny valley. So close to getting out with Tarkin, tho. Strange, for me, it was the eyes that really broke him. I think all the rest of him was acceptable. As for Leia…I feel like maybe her skin was too polished, and maybe her eyes slightly too large for her face, perhaps to push her youthiness?

I wonder about the decision making involved in going CG with them. Gotta say, Red Leader and Gold Leader looked great, but I guess they had their flight suits, helmets, and gear to support them. They were less naked/exposed CG human than Tarkin and Leia. Is it because of the timing of the events of ROGUE ONE vs. that of A NEW HOPE? I mean they cast new performers for Mothma and Dodonna, right? I'm sure there are some decent lookalikes for both Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher out there, at least, some close matches who could be prostheticked and thespianed to near perfection, right?


When Tarkin first appeared in ROGUE ONE, I thought maybe they would do something clever with him as a cameo, with his back to the camera and his face only appearing as a reflection in the space glass of his Star Destroyer. But, GMT's role turns out to be quite a bit more involved, smacking Orsen Krennic about.

Nice reference to the Death Star as Tarkin's baby/brainstorm.

Pretty awesome little "fix" for the exhaust port vulnerability. Always the butt of fan/nerd jokes, having it be an intentional design feature makes a lot of sense. Too bad Dodonna and Mothma never mention Galen Erso's hand in this in A NEW HOPE, tho, right? Of course, that would seem a bit conspicuous or superfluous in the context of the Skywalker-centric story, heh.

K2SO the reprogrammed Imperial droid was an excellent addition to STAR WARS's droid menagerie. I think it's pretty great how STAR WARS stories can get me to "fall" for droid characters. Alan Tudyk's K2 immediately called to mind AP-5 of STAR WARS REBELS.

Alan Tudyk's part in ROGUE ONE reinforces the "Can't stop the signal" deja view-ness I get with SERENITY. The final transmission of the technical readouts involves a sequence of cartridge insertion and switch flipping on a transmission tower/device that totally reminded me of Mal's signal broadcast.

A last blast of thoughts…

Man, it's a gorgeous frickin STAR WARS film. SOOO great seeing X-wings and TIEs going at it in bright and shiny daylight.

K2's death scene is wonderful.

Did Tarkin order the Death Star to target the transmission dish?

I love that Krennic gets to see that "his" Death Star is his doom. Reminds me of when Bucho's right hand man gets taken out by his beloved truck in DESPERADO. =)

Giachinno's music didn't quite work for me everywhere. It was strongest when it was, or played off of, John Williams's original themes. I get that this is the first in the "spin off" realm of STAR WARS, films that aren't focused on the Skywalker bloodline, but man, I *really* missed the fanfare opening.

I wonder how this movie plays for someone who hasn't seen STAR WARS before. A pretty decent sci-fi war film?

Chirrut's blind Force-adept action sequences were excellent. Nice to see a non-lightsaber staff doing some damage.

Has Vader made Mustafar into his "home?" Interesting that he's in something like a Bacta tank bath when we see him. Treatment for his apnea? =)

Also nice to see the no-look force-choke. Bad-ass. =)

Allright, that's all I've got for now. Maybe after another few days, screenings, weeks, I'll have more or even different, second thoughts. I'll try to get them down here if I can motivate.

May the Force be with you…
Keep on keepin' on~

No comments: