Rogue One: A Mini Multi-Review
Recently the @FanBrosShow was treated to a press-only screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We were stripped of our mobile phones and electronic devices. We could not share on social media where we were, who we were with, nor could we “check in” while on site. We were asked not to speak a singular word until December 13 at 9:00 AM PST/12:00 PM EST in the Year of Our Lord, 2016.
…The embargo has lifted. It is time.
1. Is this film: a drama; a parody; or an action film?
DJ Benhameen: Rogue One is mainly an action film with some elements of a heist film as well as being an emotionally powerful dramatic film. Rogue One is awesome.
Chico Leo: It’s Star Wars through and through.
Ty The Robot: I’d call it an action drama.
Tatiana King Jones: This film mixes all of the above and follows a Star Wars tradition that I truly didn’t understand until now- Star Wars films (particularly A New Hope) activates incredible jolts of feelings all at once: shock, awe, love, pain, wonder, joy. Every element of every genre is there and it was poured in perfect portions.
2. What kind of message did this movie send out?
Ty: Some things are worth dying for? Sacrifice?
Benhameen: That something went wrong with the latest Godzilla film besides Gareth Edwards being the director. Also to have hope in the face of the darkest odds. Plus Star Wars is the greatest science fiction fantasy whatever you want to call it series of all time.
Tatiana: That the floodgates are officially open. There’s no one “canon”, there’s no “one story”, character set, arc, etc–For the first time the entire universe, as well as the depth and breadth of all written Star Wars works is now accessible and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. This film is the culmination of destiny.
Chico: Hope. The Rebels definitely talk about hope. A lot. Things are pretty bleak in the face of an evil powerful (& seemingly unstoppable & overwhelming menace- sound familiar, 2016?) and yet they definitely rally/pull together around the concept of hope. We should too… that is definitely the message
3. Is this a movie or a film?
Ben: I think this movie comes the closest to being a film that any Star Wars movie has since Empire Strikes Back. In my mind a movie is like a summer blockbuster type joint such as the Avengers or Civil War. While a summer blockbuster movie that transcends into film territory has some deeper levels to it such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier & Empire Strikes Back. I think this movie does transcend genre and isn’t just a genre heist film like Ocean’s Eleven with some Star Wars dressing.
Tatiana: To express the definition I’m thinking–I personally feel like something that is relegated to a “summer blockbuster” is a movie, whereas something that transcends genres and expectations is a film. Rogue One is a stunning work of art, an experience and (I say this with all positivity) a screaming terror of emotion. I have never been so shook about a fantasy/sci-fi movie in my life.
Ty: It’s a film. A great stand alone film that rises above the episodic format that sequels and, the star wars franchise itself, have gotten us used to.
4. What did you learn from this film?
Tatiana: Rogue One completely dominates almost all other Star Wars movies before it, yet at the same time is a knowing, willful servant of all of them. It’s very existence must be attributed to the movies/films that came before it, however it’s voice is too loud, too distinct, and incredibly, too unique to see this as “just an extension” or continuation. Rogue One is a a bridge onto itself. It skillfully calls back to previous movies without pandering (mostly) and serves as its own driving force to completely defying what it means to be a “Star Wars movie”.
Ty: I learned that CGI is a blessing and a curse.
Ben: I learned that Lucasfilm can do whatever the hell they want to do now. Imagine a Game Of Thrones esque series about the Knights Of The Old Republic. It could easily happen. Rogue One stretches the boundaries of what we consider a Star Wars film.
Chico: It’s hard out here for a Rebel.
5. Would you see this movie again?
Ben: Hell yes. Again and again like Wu Tang.
Chico: I already have my tickets for Sunday.
Ty: In a heartbeat.
Tatiana: You would have to kill to stop me from seeing it again.
6. Were you disappointed at any point?
Ty: Yes. There are some choices made in casting, or lack thereof, that kind of jar the audience out of the film. And I’m sure that Disney has the money to throw at 3D and CGI artists to bring characters to life, but it might just be better to hire someone to fill that role.
Tatiana: Forrest Whitaker really bothered me. I was surprised how poorly that went. I’ll revisit this later but my initial reaction to him is–“Hated It”. Also the CGI was 50/50 depending on the scene/the lighting, etc. Were some of the ships supposed to look like Legos? Those were pretty much my main gripes. When my thoughts settle a bit more I’ll be able to deconstruct a bit further.
Ben: I wouldn’t say disappointed but I was really bugged out by [some computer generated people]; their eyes looking like they were rejected by The Polar Express. I wasn’t sure if [certain people] were going to be in the film, but it would be difficult to tell a story of the Death Star without [them]. Also Forest Whitaker is going to be a take him or leave him kind of thing I think.
Chico: The music. The John Williams music of the original SW trilogy (particularly the New Hope) is such an ingrained part of the Star Wars experience. The musical themes & motifs (many of which are just variations on Holst’s “The Planets”) are as important as the editing, characters and mythology. This being the first Star Wars movie to not feature John Williams score (even though this might be the best Star Wars movie since Empire, definitely since Jedi) is almost like the first Holiday you spend without a loved one. It’s my only complaint but a Star Wars movie w/out John Williams is almost like a Star Wars movie without the Force…
7. Describe the feeling(s) that you had at the end of the film?
Ty: Excitement, and a bit of sadness. As a less than casual Star Wars fan I’ve had a hard time catching up to the excitement of this franchise. Each film has left me wishing I understood the more grand history of the universe, so it feels like a chore sometimes to play catch up. However after watching Rogue One, I wanted to go home and watch the original Star Wars films. I’ve never watched a Star Wars film and felt the desire to watch more. Rogue One lit a space opera fire under my ass that every other film failed to do.
Ben: It’s LIT. *multiple fire emojis & gifs expressing joy and happiness*
Tatiana: I’m going to be completely honest and open–I cried. I legit shed a damn thug tear during the credits. The movie tossed me around quite a few times—it wasn’t a perfect ride, not by ANY means. But the journey to the end…the journey to the center of the Earth, the Universe, and all of Star Wars creation was akin to skydiving (yes I’ve personally gone skydiving). I’m sure I may read this later, or others may read this and go “she’s being really dramatic”. No. No, I’m not.
8. Any last words?
Chico: The Force is woke.
Tatiana: I may follow Benhameen with a larger review but Rogue One made me a bonafide Star Wars fan. I have always been respectful of the franchise, and lover of certain elements of it, but I would routinely see more greatness in Star Trek. This movie has brought me to a completely different level of understanding. At the end of the day, the film will be labeled as almost folklore because it gives you the only thing you’ve ever wanted or what was truly missing from the newer Star Wars movies. That typically never happens and certainly not in the way that Gareth Edwards presented it. Like anything made by a human hands, this film is not without its flaws. But if this hasn’t been the most complete, most incredible, experience I have personally ever had of Star Wars–I don’t know what is.
Ben: Check my full review for more words but overall I think Rogue One is an excellent film that breaks the mold on what we have seen from Star Wars movies in the past. While at the same time paying tribute in mostly subtle ways to the films that have come before it. Slamming.
Ty: This film felt like a dedication to the unsung heroes of the Star Wars universe, and sometimes [telling a full story] in one film is a great way for make the larger story feel more complete.