Sunday, December 18, 2016

Theatrical Review: Star Wars- Rogue One

Date: Sunday December 18 2016
Time: 12:45pm
Location: Pocono Movieplex (theatre 5)
Party: 3 (my mom, sister & I)

Director: Gareth Edwards (directed the recent "Godzilla" remake)
Writers: Chris Weitz (directed "New Moon"), Tony Gilroy (wrote for the "Bourne" franchise), John Knoll (apparently this movie was based on an idea he had while working on previous parts of the "Star Wars" franchise in the visual effects department), and Gary Whitta (wrote "Book of Eli" and is now working on "Sherlock 3"
Composer: Michael Giacchino


Jyn Erso- Felicity Jones
Cassian Andor- Diego Luna
Chirrut Îmwe (the blind jedi)- Donnie Yen
Baze Malbus (the mercenary)- Jiang Wen
K2-SO- Alan Tudyk
Bodhi (the Imperial pilot)- Riz Ahmed
Galen Erso- Mads Mikkelsen
Saw Gerrara- Forest Whitaker
Orson Krennic- Ben Mendelsohn

Duration: 134 minutes (+2 trailers)


Opening Comments

My mom tried to talk my sister out of seeing the movie with us. Hearing rumors of its PG13 meaning a lot of bloodshed and a high body count, she thought it might be too much. In the end, it all turned out okay. My sister liked it and we all have a good time of it.

The theater started empty at first. Just us three and one other person. Then little by little, people started trickling in... when the movie was already starting.
We got there early just to be sure we got a seat and we didn't have to sift through the dark and maybe we were too early, but still...


Thankfully we didn't start with a million commercials and got right to the trailers. That might have had something to do with the fact we had to tell the people in the theater to run it... it was a slow day. Kinda miserable outside with cold and rain, but it wasn't too bad. Nor was the snow the previous day.

Anyway, trailers...

we had the teaser trailer for the latest "Pirates of the Carribeean" again.

But afterwards, we had "Logan," which sounds like the last Wolverine/X-Men movie on Hugh Jackman's contract. It looks like a post-X-men world where Logan and Professor Xavier are the last mutants left. But then there's a girl with mutant powers who they need to protect from authorities. The overall look: it reminds me a bit of the Avengers movies. So maybe Marvel studios has more influence here- compared to the other parts of this franchise that's otherwise been independent.

The Main Event:

Within the first ten minutes, this movie sets itself apart from all its predecessors in two ways. And it all has to do with the iconic title screen and crawl.

What we have in a nutshell is the following: we're following the members of the Rebel Alliance who steal the plans for the Death Star.

Our main protagonist is thrust into the plot because of her father, Galen, who is the engineer who built the Death Star. While he is the very reason for its existence (in that it's a powerful planet-destroying space station), he is also a big part of its inevitable destruction.
Those who follow the Star Wars franchise will find this particularly interesting because it answers a few questions and criticisms.

After Felicity Jones earned Oscar buzz for "The Theory of Everything," she'd gotten a lot of good roles and this will probably go down as one of her best. She's the person that we experience the movie through, physically and emotionally.
It's also interesting to see Mads Mikkelsen in this after seeing him as a villain in "Doctor Strange." A bit of a different role for him and just as complex.

Cassian Andor is the head of the mission and he's interesting in that you don't entirely know which side he's on until the movie progresses far enough. The Rebel Alliance was a united front in the previous installments, but it's oddly disjointed in this film because these times are uncertain. Especially with the threat of the Death Star becoming more and more real every passing second.
But he's one of my favorite characters for sure.

One article previewing this movie said that the blind jedi would be a scene stealer and that couldn't be more true. Chirrut Îmwe was simply a bad-ass. And he and his buddy Baz Malbus are a great combination that offers the few moments of comic relief this movie has- but both are strong additions to the alliance.

The main villain is Orson Krennic. Just seeing him on screen makes the hairs on your neck prick up. With that stage presence, you know nothing good is going to come. But he does have superiors to answer to and they're not to be taken lightly either.

The slow scenes- while they're good for character development, they had trouble holding my attention and I was close to falling asleep once or twice. But the actions scenes are so well done that they help make up for that.

For those familiar with the franchise, this film has a foregone conclusion that's easy to guess, but it's interesting to see how that destination is reached. It still keeps you on the edge of your seat through the course of the last 45 minutes.

And without giving too much away, there are some pretty cool cameos throughout the film. Some come about with the help of the latest CGI technology. It's pretty impressive.

Grade: A

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