Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Review: Rogue One (sixth-pass)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (sixth-pass / D-Box 3D / SPOILERS)
Cert: 12A / 134 mins / Dir. Gareth Edwards / Trailer

Previous reviews:
First-pass (spoiler-free)
Second-pass (spoiler-free)
Third-pass (**spoilers**)
Fourth-pass (**spoilers**)
Fifth-pass (**spoilers**)

This is your spoiler-break. The words which follow the image below are more notes and observations from Rogue One, similar in tone and format to my third-pass review. For obvious reasons, you should see the film before reading any further. Although it's been out long enough now that I assume most viewers will have been able to grab the chance, this section is here just in case you haven't.

My sixth watch was at Greenwich O2's D-Box screen, where specially adapted seats sway, thrum and shake along to the movie. As with last year's Force Awakens viewing, it makes an excellent accompaniment to the action. And similar to 3D, it's never going to improve a bad movie, but can certainly enhance a good one. Also similar to TFA, the last half hour or so is pretty much non-stop jiggling about. There's a control panel on the seat to turn down the ferocity of the D-Box additions, but who orders a cocktail and then asks for less alcohol? ;)

This was also the showing of the film where I left the cinema, rode the tube to my train station then as soon as my phone was back in-signal, got a call from a friend telling me of the news about Carrie Fisher. Looking at my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I know I'm not alone in feeling that we've lost a true cultural icon. I certainly feel like I should write some words about Carrie and/or the Princess, but I can't find the clarity at the moment. Apart from anything else, there are countless other outlets putting them out at the moment, many of which will be worded far better than I can manage. In the meanwhile, I shall celebrate the fuck out of everything she was and everything she gave us. I'll see you at the pub, Your Highness.


So let me get this straight, the Rebel Alliance kidnap a petty criminal from governmental custody, apply familial guilt and emotional blackmail to coerce her into a terrorist operation and get her killed in the process, while they all swan about back in the HQ frowning? Yay, freedom!

• Out in the Jedha desert, the first shot of Saw Gerrera's street-gang features one member wearing a purloined Scout-Trooper lid and one with a Commando helmet that we see the Rebel Strike Team wearing later on Endor. Nice visual nod to Return of the Jedi.

• Architecturally, the Holy City on Jedha looks like a cross between Mos Espa on Tatooine and Theed on Naboo. A nice visual nod to the prequels?

• It almost gets to the point of over-acting, but there's so much going on in Forest Whitaker's performance as Saw Gerrera that it underlines how wasted the character becomes. Each time I watch him I notice a new grunt or facial-tic.

• DK's Visual Guide book lists Cassian Andor as being born on Fest, a planet first visited back in 1995's Dark Forces game (in a level which takes place after the Death Star plans have been stolen). While that nugget of information isn't mentioned on-screen, it's a nice - if incredibly subtle - nod from LFL that Kyle Katarn's adventures haven't been completely forgotten in the purge ;)

• In his meeting with Krennic, how come Vader says "Die-rector" (with a long-i) first, then later says "Director" as normal? This is like the 'how do you pronounce Twi'lek?' thing all over again.

• I love that the Death Star took over twenty years to build (we see the framework at the end of Revenge of the Sith, remember), and it was fully operational for about a day and a half. If Krennic hadn't already died on Scarif, the frustration of that would probably have finished him.

• When the Rebel council chickens-out of launching a full-scale assault on Scarif to steal the Death Star plans and Jyn walks out into the hangar, there's a tannoy call-out for 'General Syndulla' in the background. Given that we see the Rebels TV series ship, The Ghost, parked outside earlier in the film and later above Scarif, it's a fairly sure indicator that Hera Syndulla survives this far into the timeline, especially as Chopper is seen rolling out of the hangar five minutes later.

• I always got the impression that the X-Wing pilots' flight suits would be made of a heavy cotton-drill material (or whatever the in-universe equivalent is). But one of the pilots climbing into the cockpit on Yavin IV is wearing one that appears to be Polyester As Fuck™. That thing's so shiny it's practically causing lens-flare.

• Why would you keep your critical archive-data in a massive spindly, fragile tower anyway, rather than a more secure underground vault?

• Hang on, if you have to retrieve those backup drives manually and visually (as Cassian does, even before the grabber-system packs up), what happens when you need record from the other side of the tower? Who designed that?

• You'd think if resetting the antenna-alignment was as simple as just pushing a lever from position A to position B, the software would be able to perform that automatically, wouldn't you?
Defeat the empire with this one simple trick!

• What's with the orange 'feature pieces' on Imperial standard-grey equipment all of a sudden? Don't get me wrong, it looks fantastic, but it's not like the trend continues into the Original Trilogy.

• I like that the Death Star plans are on a wanging great portable hard-drive when Jyn steals them, but after transmission they're able to fit on what looks like a giant SIM-card. The Rebels should consider themselves lucky that the antenna had enough bandwidth to process the information in a matter of seconds, considering that the Empire's method of storage might as well be on Zip-Drives compared to the Alliance's USB. Which is the wrong way round, when you think about it...

• And after all that, they're not even the right plans, are they?

The Death Star Plans: What my friends think I do…

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
All of The Star Wars.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It does.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It's a strong showing.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 0: It is Star Wars.

Although if you really wanted to go the long way round with it…

Rogue One stars Mr Mads Mikkelsen who was in 2012's A Royal Affair, as was Harriet Walter who also turned up in The Young Victoria along with Genevieve O'Reilly, who had a small role in The Matrix Revolutions as did Bruce Spence, who appeared in The Return of Captain Invincible next to Christopher Lee, who was in 2007's adaptation of The Golden Compass, which of course featured Daniel Craig, who headlined the Bond-reboot with Casino Royale which also featured Mads Mikkelsen, of Rogue One fame…

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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