If anyone’s reading my blog I’m sure they won’t want to constantly be reading about art based things, so I thought I would add in snippets of other bits and pieces.
I’m a huge movie and TV show fan, I’m just so good at sitting down with a vacant expression on my face that it is inevitable I would stare at a screen whenever possible.
So here’s my first little movie review; the latest in the Star Wars saga, Rogue One.
Having watched The Force Awakens last year and coming out giggling like a 12 year old as I left the cinema, I just had to go see this movie. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting much with this being a spin off rather than part of the main saga but in any case I was ready for a dip back into that galaxy far far away.
I attended the midnight showing on the release date with friends and we found ourselves surrounded by a far less costumed crowd than last year’s movie.. this was obviously a more serious crowd truly invested in plot and substance rather than merchandise.
The movie began without the scrolling credits we know and love, instead opting for an echoing thud revealing a spacecraft gliding through the rings of a Saturn-like planet. The craft turns out to be an Empire ship that lands on a bleak nearby planet and what follows is a violent exchange involving a couple and their young daughter.
This young daughter ends up growing up separated from her parents and becomes the hero of our story. Jyn, a young and fearless lady teams up with a band of miscreants and sets about on a mission of revenge against the Empire that tore apart her family.
This movie had a huge selection of new characters for us, the most notable in my eyes would be K-2SO a large and very dry witted ex-empire droid and Chirrut Imwe a blind fighter who uses the force to navigate his way around.
Pretty soon Jyn and her team are set up on a mission to find the Death Star plans, providing a narrative between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
We are also treated to cameos and scenes full of characters we know and love providing a little familiarity with the universe of the other movies.
I’m not sure what it was on that original viewing, but my inner Star Wars fan boy didn’t surface often during the 133 minutes of blasts, bleeps and explosions. It may have been tiredness but here are my original bugbears with the story..
I’ve always loved Peter Cushing. I’ve mentioned him often on various media having loved him in Hammer Horror movies and his portrayal of Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope was classic Cushing. I actually gasped when he appeared in Rogue One as initially it was amazing. Using stunning CGI they brought the man back to life.. well, sort of. Though truly impressive I did feel that we’re not quite there yet with these effects. Though almost believable there’s something slightly dead in the eyes of these characters that can in no way replace the original actor. This could be said for a few other characters in the movie but it stood out most for Tarkin as they used him so much.. even more than the great man himself in the original! Though great to see the character’s activities pre-New Hope I just came away seeing the guy from Harry Potter who was the body double.
Most of my original concerns from that first viewing involved old characters.
A scene where the movie’s bad guy Orson Krennic goes to visit our old pal Darth Vader seemed to be a little too “for the fans” and apparently served no purpose other than to show off Darth’s choke hold party trick.
I also would have liked to see a little more of the humour that made the original trilogy and The Force Awakens so great. The seriousness of the characters made me care little for their wellbeing and reminded me somewhat of George Lucas’ ill fated prequels.
Admittedly though, there were some scenes that simply blew me away..
A scene where rebels pass the Death Star plans to each other in a corridor while Vader is hot on their tails was truly edge of your seat and is up there with one of the best scenes in all the movies so far.
Likewise to see stormtroopers and rebels battle it out on whole new terrain was a real delight.
I did originally come away that night feeling dissatisfied with the final result and was surprised to find very few people shared my views.
A week later while Christmas shopping I remembered my days as a cinema projectionist, when I would watch a movie by myself in an empty auditorium, so thought “why not?!”
I popped in to the local cinema and gave Rogue One a second viewing. Ignoring my original dislikes and this time watching in far more forgiving 2d, I’ll admit I really enjoyed it a second time round. Amazing how your mood or general levels of comfort can affect the experience. A recent viewing of Fantastic Beasts was slightly marred for me when an imbecile behind me kept singing along to the soundtrack and asking where Harry Potter was.
Rogue One is a great glimpse into another part of that universe that George Lucas created, answering questions and adding depth to the whole saga.
Some say this is the best Star Wars movie yet. I think that’s a bit of a stretch but admittedly it is a strong action packed movie that certainly has it’s appeals. It would surprise my first viewing self that I will certainly buy a blu ray copy when it’s released and display it proudly next to Force Awakens and episodes 4, 5 and 6 on my shelf.
As a footnote I would say avoid the 3D, it doesn’t do the movie any favours.