Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) (Blu-ray film review)

November 22, 2017 | By | Reply More

All right, I must admit I’m probably one of the last people on this planet to watch ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’. Blame personal budget. I can’t buy everything at once and the thought that there might be a special edition did play in the back of my mind that perhaps I ought to wait a while.

In many ways, not seeing it on the surf-wave that you all watched it on means I do have some objectivity. The weirdest thing was if I was having a drinking contest as to repeat lines and plot elements from the original ‘Star Wars’ films, I suspect I would be roaring drunk within the first half hour. Good thing I’m not allowed to drink. Added on top of this, if any of the key characters survived, then they would be in films 4-6 and as they hadn’t then this film was effectively a suicide mission soon became apparent.

So, let’s say I’m writing this for people who have seen ‘Rogue One’ and we’re on the same songsheet. In book terms, ‘Rogue One’ would be called book zero or 4-0 as it makes the connections to how the plans for the Death Star gets into the hands of Leia Organa. Essentially, the links are from a pissed-off retired Empire engineer, Galen Erso (actor Mads Mikkelsen) called back into duty to complete the deadliest machine in the galaxy far, far away and who implants a flaw that he knows he can get to his daughter, Jyn Erso (actress Felicity Jones), whom he ensured escaped when he was taken and his wife and her mother was executed. That’s not to say Erso was trusted but obviously not enough to slip in a flaw.

 

A lot of the textbooks on ‘Star Wars’ will have to be re-written. I mean, did you know the laser element of the Death Star is the same material that makes the laser element in the Jedi light-sabres? Granted that there aren’t supposed to be any Jedi Knights alive to make use of it but, even so, destroying the mining city that supplied the crystals does seem a bit stupid. I mean, what if you needed a second Death Star? Who’s going to do the mining for you?

I did wonder who was ‘Rogue One’ until it became the name of the spacecraft, also designated SW-008, where Jeyn Erso managed to convince a unit within the rebel alliance to ignore orders and go on a suicide mission to get the plans and show the leadership that they need to take chances if they were to beat the Empire. You would have to wonder if everyone was in on this mission from the start would the results have been any different? Probably not. You would still have to get inside the planetary defence and then make a hole in their force field to get the Rebel X-wing fleet inside. Hmm…that sounds like ‘Return Of The Jedi’ only where it goes seriously wrong…eventually.

Oddly, in contrast to the original three films, to show that ‘Rogue One’ is a lot darker, everyone has the lights turned down that you tend to remember more than where the scenes are better lit. Makes you wonder how anyone in the Rebel Alliance could walk around without a torch. I do think there needs to be some thought given. When you’re not under attack, you need to see what you’re doing and besides, that poor chap has been on crowsnest duty (not one of our team I hasten to add) for three films afterwards.

It is rather weird that with Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher no longer with us that although actress Caroline Blakiston is still alive, that she was also CGIed than having a brief cameo herself. If she couldn’t play Mon Mothma, she could at least play her grandmother. No offence, Caroline.

Speaking of names, without a reference book, I wonder if any of the rest of you had the same problem as I did in remembering any of the names of most of the other key characters in this film until the last half hour and then it was only because they were repeated enough before they got bumped off. In contrast, I was identifying characters in minor roles from the next three films with less effort. With so many being expendable in ‘Rogue One’, would I need to remember who they are? The problems of modern filming and far too big a key cast.

Thing is, all criticisms aside, this film is at least watchable, even if you know how the film works out. One of the main reasons I avoided ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ was I didn’t want to see a human turned shish kebab. It would probably had been better had the ‘Star Wars’ films been filmed in order. ‘Rogue One’ seems to be the exception to the rule although I was careful not to read anything about it for the past 18 months. It is possible to do that, folks, and not think you haven’t missed a life without it. Hopefully, the rest of the films won’t jump around like this anymore. Oh wait, we have a ‘Solo’ film. Will it make much difference now seeing his history and seeing how he got to where he is or should I say ‘was’ as I assume we all know what happened in ‘The Force Awakes’?

I was sorry that there was no audio commentary. From the main extras, director Gareth Edwards would have given some interesting insights. On the Extras disk, we have a 69 minute 10 part examination of the many aspects of the film and you do come away from it with a better idea of some of the names and some of the activity behind the screen.

The 4 minutes of ‘Rogue Connections’ to the original three films are all the ones I recognised and a few others that were slipped into the background. I would have thought that the seeker droid from the opening of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ would have been much larger though.

I’ll probably fit in another viewing in the weeks to come. Although I can understand from the extras that they want to fill in gaps in the ‘Star Wars’ history, part of me thinks that they are not at a point where they should be moving forward not back. Then again, Disney has put themselves in a weird position of wanting to put out a ‘Star Wars’ film a year and when you look at the credits list, there probably aren’t enough people in the world unless other films are stopped.

GF Willmetts

November 2017

(pub: Lucasfilm/Disney. 2 blu-ray disks. 134 minute film with extras. Price: varies, its been out long enough now to get at least a quarter off the price. ASIN: BUY0274401)

cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Ben Mandelsohn, Riz Ahmed and Mads Mikkelsen

check out website: www.lucasfilm.com

Category: Films, Star Wars

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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