Star Wars Episode (Rogue) One is the sequel to the prequels but a prequel to the original 1977’ Star Wars movie… I guess this is Episode 3.5?
Regardless, I’ll ruin the movie for you if you haven’t watched it yet and yes, all the main characters are dead by the end including squirrel-girl’ Felicity Jones lead character. She gets totally Death Starred to fuck by the conclusion of this film and it is pretty much obvious. For starters, we already know that there was a battle and that Rebel spies stole the Death Star plans… Leia gave R2D2 the plans in the opening moments of the original Star Wars, it’s the catalyst for the entire original trilogy.
So, it’s kinda obvious that these characters will be dead by the end credits because they’re not in the original film and nor are they referenced. So, if you ever wanted to know how Princess Leia got those Death Star plans or how the Rebel Alliance obtain those leaked files?
Well, you’ll know by the end of this redundant entry in the Star War franchise.
I’m half-expecting Disney to make a Star Wars movie about that space-Irish guy and his bollock-chin’ compadre… well, guess what! They make a fucking cameo in this movie except they’re not on Luke Skywalker’s home planet but the Jedi planet that is called Jedha. I know this because this movie goes all “Roland Emmerich-y” and uncharacteristically informs the audience of the various locations, though we didn’t need this before.
For some reason this movie spoon-feeds the audience the names of the planets, it doesn’t matter. We didn’t need to know that in the original Star Wars movies and we really don’t need it in this.
What we did need though and this was actually, surprisingly omitted; the iconic Star Wars opening crawl! Where the fuck was that? Even the familiar Star Wars music was missing.
Instead I was left feeling like this was a fan film and it wasn’t until I saw a proper actor’s face, ala Mads Mikkelsen, that I knew I was watching an actual proper movie (oh and the 11 quid ticket price…), anyway we’re greeted by some impressive visuals. We see this incredible vista, probably Icelandic and our guy’ Mads does the typical father/daughter thing that we’ve seen so many times. You see, the Empire wants him back to so that he can finish work on the Death Star because he’s a Death Star genius, or something.
He tells her to run and hide, she ignores him in typical movie fashion only to watch her own mother get murdered. Eventually, she’s rescued by pre-stroke Forest Whitaker (who is borrowing his Idi Amin-schtick from The Last King of Scotland).
But before that, we’re also introduced to our main antagonist, he has the look of an area manager for a call centre in Slough and this essence carries over to the majority of the extended cast members. For some reason, nearly everyone is English. Seriously, even the X-Wing pilots look and sound like they support Millwall, even Lydia in Accounts is part of the Rebel Alliance, apparently!
And there are fucking moustaches, some people are sporting the “I’m a contestant on Catchphrase” look.
Who cares, it’s fucking Star Wars and it doesn’t matter because we’re treated to Dreamworks’ Peter Cushing. He’s all “uncanny valley” in appearance and while good, I wish they got a better person to voice this fake-Cushing because it just didn’t sit right with me… you could say; it was a uncomfortable (Peter) cushion… oh fuck it.
Okay, I know I’m sounding negative about Rogue One but it is incredibly easy to poke holes in Star Wars. It’s so easy to poke holes in half the bullshit George Lucas wrote and let’s be fair here, George Lucas can’t write a fucking film for fucking shit. You want proof? What’s the best Star Wars film?
Most people would say; Empire’s Strikes Back. George Lucas had the least amount of input into that one and just look at the bullshit that is the prequel movies, if that’s not further evidence enough then lets look at his personal life.
George Lucas married Mellody Hobson in 2013 and then directed Red Tails. A film about the Tuskegee Airman, a squadron of exclusively African American men, in interviews he sounded like a sanctimonious arsehole with severe pent-up white-man guilt.
Mellody Hobson is a black woman and shortly after he made a film about black fighter pilots in World War Two, in interviews he constantly made a point about how; “This (film) has been held up for release since 1942, since it was shot,” Said Lucas on the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Then he started sounding like a dumbass; “It’s because it’s an all-black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all…I showed it to all of them (studio executives) and they said, ‘Noooo. We don’t know how to market a movie like this.'”
I guess he hasn’t seen a movie with black people in it… I’ve seen a lot of films with black people in it, Jesus fucking Christ George, did you not see 1995’s The Tuskegee Airmen? Lawrence Fishburne was in it and it was about the same fucking thing!
Anyway, George Lucas had nothing to do with Rogue One and that is such a good thing because this movie might possibly be the most Star Warsy’ Star Wars movie of them all.
And that is because death actually matters.
Characters that we have only just started to develop an attachment to die and they die a lot.
My favourite character was K2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk), a re-programmed Imperial Droid who works with the Rebels. He’s cocky, has the best lines throughout the movie and he’s just a fun character to have around.
But he dies… well, you know what I mean. He’s a robot but as you may have noticed with my use of pronouns to describe a genderless automaton, he’s as much of a human character as the ones portrayed by Felicity Jones or Diego Luna. When he is destroyed by Storm Troopers, it is genuinely sad because the source of the audience’s laughter has now been extinguished… you can’t just kill off Alan Tudyk in a Sci-Fi movie…
Oh… I suppose you can.
After Dad-Mads has been taken by the Empire, we pick up fifteen years later where Jones’ Jyn Erso is in prison for reasons that are not made entirely clear. In the trailer we’re informed of Jyn’s exploits but in this, that scene like many others had been completely cut out so as far as we know she could be in prison for peddling drugs or selling child porn or something. We’re not given much context.
Anyway, the Rebels want her because her dad designed the Death Star.
Her dad also gave a message to a defected pilot for plot reasons… and because they don’t have the internet in Star Wars.
Anyway, things happen and the Death Star destroys a city in spectacular fashion. They don’t destroy the Jedi planet of Jedha… I guess they were testing it’s destructive abilities? Or something?
Our heroes escape the planet just in the nick of time and Cyborg Idi Amin dies. Jyn is a bit upset by this but it’s okay, she now knows where they can find the Death Star plans and this is where this movie messed with my own head-canon.
I thought Kyle Katarn from the 1995 PC game’ Dark Forces stole the plans? That was the first mission and I was even given that mission by that stoned woman from Return of the Jedi. Seriously, re-watch that movie, she’s so chilled out it’s like the actress had helped herself to Carrie Fisher’s personal drug stash prior to filming.
Anyway, Jyn heads to the planet from the second Alien movie where she gets to talk to her dying father. It’s not a Star Wars movie unless someone’s parents die. He tells her where the Death Star plans are kept and so they head to space Vietnam and this is where I realised that the screen writers decided to reference Spaceballs in a Star Wars movie!
Seriously, the planet has this big shield with a single door just like in Spaceballs and the Rebels need to shut down the shield so they can escape the planet with the plans. The plot is pretty thin but that doesn’t really matter.
Gareth Edwards did a brilliant job at directing a refreshing and yet familiar look at a beloved franchise and I will admit that after Empire Strikes Back, this is probably my favourite Star Wars movie. It’s got humour, brilliant action set pieces and some great and smart use of shots.
One shot in particular really stood out to me and that was a Star Destroyer poking out from a shadow, the stars behind this behemoth heavy cruiser twinkle but then you realise that those aren’t stars, they’re the windows of the absolutely massive Death Star.
I sat there in the cinema and said to myself; that’s so cool!
One flaw with this movie was that I didn’t really know any of the character’s names.
In the original movie, the names of Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi and C3PO are ingrained in our consciousness but in this I honestly couldn’t tell you the name of Diego Luna’s character or the names of that middle-age gay Asian couple. They’re all really cool characters and they each get moments to shine but then they’re taken away from us.
It’s a shame that everyone had to die but as I mentioned near the beginning of this article, they had to die and it is their sacrifice that enables the events of the original movie.
We even get an awesome moment where Darth Vader slaughters a whole load of Rebel soldiers in his desperate attempt to retake the Death Star plans. Each person that comes into contact with it gets killed until the plans reach the ship from the beginning of first Star Wars movie and suddenly we’re treated to Pixar Leia!
It’s a fitting conclusion to a satisfying movie and some of its pacing issues can be forgiven.
It would certainly be interesting to see what this movie was supposed to be like before all those extensive re-shoots but who really gives a fuck.
Anyway, I give this 12 Parsecs out of 12.