- Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:16 pm
Okay, here is my Rogue One review after spending a few days letting it settle in.
Rogue One was a very good SW film and a very good film in its own right. The vfx are terrific throughout with two exceptions.
The film opens with a really cool look at a spacecraft crossing the asteroid rings of a world where Galen Erso is living with his family. The cinematography is stunning from the beginning and all through the film. This has to be one of the best looking SW films ever. This is the same DOP behind Zero Dark Thirty and he brings a grittiness to the shots but also some coolly shot battle scenes. But he also has some of the best master shots in the entire SW film series. There are some gorgeous vista and opening establishing shots in this film. They need to bring him back for more SW films if he is open to it.
They are great with K2SO, Galen, and Jyn really standing out. Cassian is also a nicely realized character. The others are not. They're good and those actors do a great job with what they have. Riz Ahmed, for instance, doesn't get a whole lot of motivation for his defection, but he does a nice job with the character. Ben Mendelsohn appropriately chews the scenery as one of the Imperial bad guys.
They are spectacular. K2SO is one of the greatest CG characters ever done. He was so well done. He looked right there in the scene at all times.
The space scenes, especially the shots of the DS and the Imperial fleet, are terrific. They all have a very tactile feel to them continuing on from the really tremendous work from The Force Awakens making these models look tangible and in a physical space. There's a few shots of Ties taking off out of hangars for the space battle at the climax that are just awesome and instantly iconic. Vader's castle…wow! Some of this stuff was right out of a fans wish list.
The First Act Jumps Around A Lot
The beginning of the film jumps around from world to world a lot. I mean, we visit perhaps four worlds in the first act alone. It really flies along, perhaps too fast. Once we leave Galen and little Jyn in the beginning, we jump forward in the timeline to just before the events of A New Hope. From there we start planet hopping. It's gets to be a little much.
The film finally settles down once we get the whole rebel team together, but that is maybe at the halfway point. It takes a long time to get there.
Some of the dialogue was way too much on the nose especially all of the numerous "hopes". Jesus, we get it. It's bleak. We need hope. Okay. Save it for the very end with the one character saying it. But all of this yammering about hope.
Vader's "don't choke on your aspirations". Come on.
The fan service cameos:
Walrus Man(yes that is his name dammit. :p) and his ugly faced buddy. They put them in this film so they could say the exact same lines they say in SW. Someone thought Jabba's pointless appearance in the Special Editions was a GREAT IDEA and thought this bit of fan service would be too.
3PO and R2: they were shoehorned in with a tiny cameo but it was also completely pointless.
Vader: Okay, I can understand this one based on the story they constructed. He is a badass at the end but prior to that? It was very cool seeing his lair on Mustafar. That castle stuff was amazing. But, was he crucial to the story at that point? Not really except to choke Krennic and utter a really bad one liner.
Tarkin: He had to be there at some point. But, he was there to the detriment of Krennic's character at times. This probably should have been a smaller role for Tarkin allowing for more development of Krennic's character.
Disappointing. But I can understand seeing as Desplat had to jump ship due to the reshoots and prior commitments. Giacchino usually does a bang up job but the time constraints likely hurt his creative process here. The score is simply forgettable with a few exceptions.
Tarkin and Leia.
ninja turtle, here are my thoughts on this.
The filmmakers really took a big risk here with these two iconic characters. It took balls to try this. ILM does deserve credit for trying this. But, I just didn't think they worked.
Tarkin: He worked well when his back was to the camera or we caught a side glimpse. But the full shot with him just screamed something is off and uncanny valley to me. And his gait seemed off in places. From what I understand they brought in an actor in his place and he even delivers the voice of Tarkin. This guy looks uncannily(bad pun?) like a young Tarkin. I wont argue the methodology because I don't know enough about it and, even if I did, I still couldn't do it. Hats off on the attempt but it just didn't work when he talked and with his eyes. It just didn't work.
Leia: This was a genuine surprise to me as I'd avoided this rumor somehow up to the release. She worked better for me, much better, than Tarkin. However, what was up with the stretched look of her face. The distance from her eyes to her mouth looked stretched or….hard to describe. But it was thankfully just a small bit at the end and we had her utter the one hope line in the film that fit well.
This reads like a lot of complaints but it's really not all things considered. There are some really amazing things in this film, from the ultimate demise of all of the main heroes, to the wonderful K2SO, frankly, the single best CG character to date in a SW film. He looked like he was there. You forget you are watching a CG character and accept the character. He is so well done, rendering, lighting, animation, etc. He looks real. He's also funny as hell in spots.
The world building is amazing: Erso's home world in the beginning, Jedha, Scarif, all are terrific. Beautifully done.
This film doesn't have the look of "massive reshoots" at all. It does jump around at first a lot but that might have been the original storyline and not part of the reshoots. I don't know. But it is still cohesive even with that jumping around. You are meeting all of these people and then getting them all to meet. That takes some jumping around and time.
Gareth Edwards, ILM, and the entire team deserve a lot of credit for taking the risks they took on this film. Most of them paid off very well. There is a tremendous amount of stuff to like here even with a few flaws. This was a very good SW film, kept from being great by a few flawed character appearances and a score that is sorely lacking. But, all things considered, it is a blast off start to the Anthology stories.