January 4th 2017
Today I watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is like a prequel to the original trilogy, but a sequel to the prequel trilogy. It falls somewhere between the two generations of trilogies. I guess it would be like Star Wars Episode 3.5, or however you write ‘three and a half’ in Roman numerals, except it’s not stylised as ‘Star Wars Episode…’ it’s ‘A Star Wars Story’ because at this point everyone is so confused with the timeline of the current septology (seven) (soon to be ennealogy (nine) assuming you’re not including the animated film ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ which – let’s face it – why would you? My Dad thought that this was the next film in the series, the follow-up to ‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ but it’s not, it’s the first film in an anthology trilogy that is completely separate but directly linked to the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, and the incomplete sequel trilogy.
I guess my point with all of that confusing bollocks ^ (and I’m being deliberately confusing to highlight the madness) is that they’re milking it a bit, and it shows in the film.
All of the reviews I’ve read, or praise I’ve heard about the film have followed the same trend: ‘OOOH there are so many Easter Eggs and nods to the original films! It’s great!’
Without those Easter Eggs the film stands alone. We don’t need to know who Darth Vader is, or what eventually happens to the Death Star to understand and appreciate the plot of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, because it follows a simple movie plotline. There are characters that are defined to us (eventually – but more on this sarcastic parenthetical later) that have a goal, and an objective to overcome, and hijinks ensue. It is a story without the nods, and winks, and elbows, and slaps, and kicks to the original films, but without those nods, no one would be interested in the film. I wouldn’t be, at least.
If it was just a film about a girl whose Dad was a rebel defector and built a weapon with a secret fault, and she had to go and find the plans to the weapon to exploit the fault – without the scenes with Vader, Leia, R2D2 and C3P0, then it would probably still be a good film, but it wouldn’t have made $135.5m on it’s opening weekend – that’s for damn sure.
People went to see that film because it had the Star Wars name on it, and the filmmakers played on that. Too much of the film was wasted on nostalgia and references to either things that we know have already happened, or to things that we know will happen in the future. I already know what happened in the other films, that’s why I’ve come to see your film. Make me care about your characters, stop paying homage to someone else’s characters.
Yes, I smiled when Vader’s lightsaber lit up the darkness. In fact, I smiled slightly before it lit up, because I heard at least three people in the cinema imitate the iconic zhhhuuum sound a lightsaber makes when it’s activated, preempting what was about to happen.
But I sighed when the AT-AT appeared on screen from nowhere, and for no apparent reason. ‘Ah,’ I said. ‘They’re all flying X Wings and Starfighters and Tie fighters into hyperspace, I remember when they did that in the new and or old films too’
Say what you like about the prequels (Episodes I-III) because they were bad, but at least they tried to be original. They introduced new weapons, and species, and ships. They tried to be different, and not just do a remake of the originals from a slightly different perspective and set it like five minutes before the start of A New Hope.
It’s like when Stephanie Meyer decided to re-write the entirety of Twilight from Edward Cullen’s perspective, except not quite as bad. Although, to be fair to her, at least she had the good grace not to publish it after it leaked online and everyone saw just how bad it was.
Rogue One took half an hour to introduce me to characters that I didn’t really care about, and then they killed them all off anyway. Literally, every single one of them. The only characters that I almost connected with were the blind ninja (can’t remember his name) and the robot (H2SO4 or something).
H2SO4 carried the entire film. The beginning and middle setup/plot attempts would’ve been tame without his humorous, well timed, and not too frequent quips. His death, and the death of the blind ninja, were the only ones that I was anywhere close to being moved by. Perhaps it didn’t help that I knew before I went in that the film ended with them all dying, but that’s social media’s fault, not mine.
All in all, I’m just frustrated that the film was made, not that it was bad – because I did enjoy it, and I’m glad I watched it.
LucasFilm and Disney are just milking the franchise. It’s not just a continuation of the double-trilogy, it’s the anthology, the Star Wars stories. It’s like how Marvel couldn’t figure out how to get any more money out of X-Men as a group franchise, so they split them down into little franchises and started to make Origin stories, and now we have Logan, and Wolverine and The Wolverine because apparently that’s different somehow.
The world doesn’t need more films about Wolverine, and the world didn’t need another Star Wars movie, but we got one.
Until tomorrow, It’s a cashgrab, and it was executed as such.