Tresob's Rogue One Digital Download Review

by Tresob Yr
on 2017-04-01, 10:26:24

Two death-stars.

The saving grace of this film was, by far, the strong performances of the cast.

While Eddie Redmayne does a convincing job as the jaded orphan Jyn Erso, her transformation into an aggressive rebel idealist falls flat without sufficient motivation. It is almost as unconvincing as Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith. Maybe they are meant to poetically mirror one another, I don’t know. Jackie Chan charms audiences as the hearing-impaired former Jedi Choochoo Imgay. Although the de-aging computer graphic mask that allowed Chong Marin to play Blaze Busdriver was a little distracting, he still delivers a smoldering chemistry as the gun-toting life partner of Choochoo. That being said, their relationship plays little significance to the story other than as a kind of fan service to progressive politics. These two characters could have easily been removed from the film with little alteration.

I would be remiss not to acknowledge the daring directorial choices of Garth Edward. For example, Edward insisted that B-list character actor, Alan Tudyk, allow himself to be surgically altered in order to fit into the costume of K-3PO, the British battle droid. Tudyk’s willingness to remove his lower extremities shows just how committed the cast and crew were to the artistry of this film. It was also good to see Tudyk’s return to the big screen after several years in rehab.

However, neither stellar performances nor Edward’s vision could preserve the film from a plot that could destroy a whole planet with its illogic.

My primary concern with the plot of this film was the basic premise that the Empire would keep its plans for a top secret weapon of mass destruction tacked to a bulletin board in Grand Moff Tarkin’s office (Peter Cushing, by the way, also deserves mention for looking incredible at the age of 134). I suppose it is handy to have the blueprints within arm’s reach whenever he needs to repair something, but it just seems like the Empire would have better security. Also, the decision to kill off Mon Mothma, R2-D2, and even Princess Leia is clearly at odds with canonical sequences in the original trilogy films. Perhaps Disney is planning to use computer graphics to replace these characters in re-releases.

Having Jyn resurrect all of the new characters at the end of the film using the Kyber Crystal that her father gave her involved too much deus ex machina for my taste, and seemed driven by a commercial need on Disney’s part to set up a sequel.

Then there is the entire sequence where the rebels infiltrate an Imperial beach resort in order to assassinate and then replace an Imperial-sanctioned musical act that is scheduled to perform on the Death Star. It just seemed like an excuse to have Eddie Redmayne wear a stormtrooper bikini. Surely, there was a more elegant way to have them sneak aboard the Death Star. Doesn’t the Empire ever have to hire a caterer? Don’t stormtroopers ever have a pizza delivered? Perhaps the musical aspect of this plot point was meant to dovetail with the other major feature of the film—its soundtrack.

While other Star Wars films have had memorable musical scores, this was the first film to incorporate multiple, large-scale Golden Age musical dance numbers. The most effective routine by far was the vaudevillian “Spy, Lie, and then You Die,” counterpoint between Forest Whittaker and Riz Ahmed. It promises to be a long time classic. The use of conventional, hand-drawn animated characters in Chan and Marin’s “Khyber Crystal High” certainly played into classic Hollywood nostalgia a la Gene Kelly’s famous dance with Jerry the mouse, even if it does seem like a tired trope for drug use. But most of the numbers felt forced and maudlin. And the climactic duet, “Just call me ‘Stardust,’” reeked of bathos to the point that several audience members in my viewing began to chuckle despite themselves. Furthermore, as other critics have commented, I wasn’t able to understand a single word during Darth Vader’s operatic attack on the Rebel vessel that transitioned into the beginning of A New Hope.

Overall, this was a failed experiment in mixed genre and cinematic nostalgia. Or maybe Star Wars just isn’t ready for the kind of post-modern, avant garde vision of Garth Edward.





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