I’m a Star Wars fanatic. I’m probably one of the biggest you know. My usernames across the board are ‘Darth Claudia’. I have a Mandalorian symbol tattooed on me (among other Star Wars references scattered about). I own enough Star Wars themed clothing to wear a different outfit every day. My bookshelves are stacked with Star Wars novels and reference books. I even have a handful of Star Wars toys sitting on those shelves. It’s safe to say that my love of Star Wars is a bit of an obsession.
And so, you can imagine that I was very excited for Rogue One: a Star Wars Story, and may believe that my review of the movie would have bias, clouded by my endless love for this universe. I’ll get as honest as I can be about the movie without sharing spoilers…
First and foremost, this movie didn’t feel like a Star Wars episode movie. I understand that it wasn’t meant to be, but it showed in a number of ways. I described it as being a very long live action episode of Clone Wars.
That being said, Clone Wars is an amazing show, and the focus of the show is action, action, action. This movie had that. It was pretty much non-stop. But the thing I love most about Star Wars movies is the heart, is the dialogue and bonding that goes on between the action. I don’t want to watch Storm/Sand Troopers shoot at people for two hours, but that’s what this movie was. People continuously shooting at one another. (And people punching Troopers which somehow knocks them out as if they’re not wearing any armor at all, but I’ll ignore that in this review…)
I have heard reviewers and friends say that this was the “action movie” that Star Wars fans wanted, but no, I have to disagree. My Star Wars world has lightsabers in it. My battles have Jedis using the force against evil, and the Sith retaliating with the same strong force. This didn’t have Jedis or Sith. It had an almost-Jedi, who I actually found to be a pretty cool character, except for the filmmakers turning mantras and the practice of Jedi with mantras into a joke/silliness. If I wanted to watch a battle scene that includes humans vs. the enemy with guns, guns, and more guns (plus bombs), I would have turned on any other superhero action movie. My Star Wars universe has action that includes the force, and I saw five minutes of that (which were truly the best five minutes in the movie). “I’ve seen this in movies before,” was what I thought while watching two hours of fighting.
As I mentioned, heart and dialogue are what makes Star Wars films so special. The first twenty minutes of this movie had that and I was hooked in. It had me excited for what was to come. But then there was no more of that! I honestly didn’t feel attached to any of the characters (not even Jyn, though she was a pretty radical character), and I even forgot most of their names (actually, maybe all of them…). You don’t forget names in Star Wars films! Characters, even small ones, usually have such an impact and leave such an impression. These characters were cool, but not memorable. Some interactions were cool, but nothing exceptional. The only character who was truly memorable was A-2S0, who provided the only real comic relief in the movie and who interacted with other characters so authentically… and he was a robot.
The music also didn’t feel like a Star Wars film. Clone Wars does a great job with the music and when I’m watching the television show, I feel immersed in the world through the music the same way I do in the films. It gives me goosebumps.This film felt like it was trying too hard to capture the “Star Wars feel” that you get through John Williams’ brilliant work. It also had a main theme that played throughout was just horrendous and annoying. I worry about Williams’ age and what it means for the backbone of Star Wars films.
Another complaint I had with the film was that you have Darth Vader, who is scarier than he’s been in I don’t know how long, and then you have him make a pun about CHOKING!? WHAT?! WHATTTTT ARE YOU DOING?! That is stupidity I just can’t get down with.
Listen, this movie was a good in-between for the Episodes. It was exciting and I liked it a lot. But it wasn’t what I really expected and it wasn’t as good as it could have been. It was definitely a good attempt at sealing up a giant plot hole that George Lucas’ poor writing did, back in the day, but it didn’t feel the same way Star Wars makes me feel. It won’t be one that I see five times in the theatre, and through a lot of the fighting, all I could think of was, “I want to go home and watch Episode VII again…” I will add it to my collection, I appreciate it as a fan, but it simply wasn’t truly Star Wars.
Have you seen the Rogue One? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.