FILM REVIEWS

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By Richard Von Busack December 19, 2016

Big booms, high-flying fun in the action-packed ‘Rogue One’ Read More

By Per Gunnar Jonsson May 31, 2017

Oups! I just realized that, for some reason, this movie had fallen between the cracks. It was quite some time since I watched it but I seem to have forgotten to write a post about it.

For me this was one of the best of the new (after the original trilogy) Star Wars movies. It was fun, entertaining with plenty of good, old-fashioned Star Wars action. I generally do not like prequels but this time I felt it was nice to get a bit of the background to the statement that “a number of spies died to get this information” in episode IV. We were even provided with a bit of an explanation as to why the Death Star had this silly weakness in the first place.

The actors were doing a decent enough job of it. The chatty android was fun without being totally silly. It was a nice roller coaster ride of action, improvisations, and gung ho ludicrous stunts inside and outside of various forms of transportation means.

As usual with Star Wars the science part of science fiction is somewhat lacking. What looks cool is what is put on the screen and screw science. When reading books I am more sensitive to such things but for a Star Wars movie it works well enough.

Some people seem to be dissecting the characters and dialogue, trying to put logic into it as well as wanting to have more emotions and “character development”. Come on! It is a Star Wars movie. It is supposed to be all action and visually stunning.

On that this movie delivers. Sure the plot is not really the most developed one and has plenty of faults. The movie is till a hugely fun Star Wars based science romp though.

By Lucky_Man May 13, 2017

On the surface, this is a well-made action movie set within the Star Wars universe filled with nods and homages to "A New Hope" that will make you tingle with warm nostalgia. The reappearance of sets, costumes and characters from our favorite childhood movies might make you say "Now, THIS is a Star Wars movie!"

However, nostalgia and making copious amounts of money on that nostalgia seemed to be Disney's primary strategy with this movie. It's mimicry, plain and simple. The CGI recreations of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher felt very dirty and a flagrant disrespect to the departed actors, not to mention jarring, for a first time viewer. The digital appearance of Grand Moff Tarkin disengaged me from the frail story and made me settle my stomach with a handful of antacid tablets.

The story, writing, characterization is on-par with what you'd expect from modern cinema and the movie serves it's primary purpose of being entertaining. But, as a long-time Star Wars fan, I just couldn't help but feeling pandered to while watching this movie.

By PeterJasonQuill February 17, 2017

Fun Star Wars movie. Plenty of homages and nods to the original trilogy throughout the film, Andy plenty of cameos as well. Has amazing action sequences and enough thrills to keep any true Star Wars fan hooked right from the beginning. No opening crawl at the start for a change and a great score by Michael Giachinno, but still includes the original end credits with John Williams' original music. K-2SO is a show stealer and is very funny as a character. Overall the best Star Wars film since Empire Strikes Back in my opinion. The force is with this one.

By Gimly February 6, 2017

Is not my new favourite _Star Wars_ movie. But does contain my new favourite _Star Wars_ scene.

_Final rating:★★★½ - I strongly recommend you make the time._

By Screen-Space January 28, 2017

"It carries the burden of being about odds and stakes, of legacies and consequences, of understanding destiny..."

Read the full review here: http://screen-space.squarespace.com/reviews/2016/12/17/rogue-one-a-star-wars-story.html

By Richard von Busack December 19, 2016

The stand-alone Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a battle movie, heavy on the war, light on the stars. Many have heard that George Lucas once cut footage from WWII dogfights into the work-print of the first Star Wars film, to give previewers an idea of what the film would look like once the effects were done. Rogue One, then, comes full circle. It's a World War II movie in space.

The finale is on the planet Scarif, a world of surf and tropical reefs; the attack wings shooting, bombing and crashing are like a futuristic version of the Pacific theater.

It's set during the rise of Lord Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. More about Vader momentarily, but the latter is yet Governor Tarkin, and played by Peter Cushing's digitized ghost. It's hard not to stare at the apparition of an actor dead for 22 years—the movements are a little artificial, but it's him, all right. No one had seriously thought the grave could hold Peter Cushing, anyway.

Rogue One answers a question that's been plaguing geeks for decades: why did the Death Star have such a glaring design flaw, so similar to the ever-convenient Self-Destruct Button in spy movies? Having answered this, director Gareth Edwards races along to the climax of a dangerous mission, carried out with a mixed cast of funny-name bearers. Central to this tale is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones, as determined and rabbitty as ever). She has grounds for wrath; her mother was killed by stormtroopers back on their rainy black-earthed home planet—a vision that blends Kauai and Donegal. Her father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), who had been hiding from the Empire, is your classic kidnapped scientist, brought back to labor on the planet-busting weapon with an old acquaintance (Ben Mendelsohn.)

On a nearby planet, the dead Jedi's towering main temple is abandoned, but it's being salvaged for a mineral or something called kyber, which fuels both the light sabers and the death star alike. The Central Asian-like city around the temple teams with rebellious life—a town about to blow into insurrection against the Empire's occupiers.

There, rebels join Jyn to eventually become the crew of a battered Imperial freighter stolen and renamed "Rogue One." The crew roster includes a brain-damaged pilot, as well as Chirrut, a blind semi-Jedi with zen archer skills (Donnie Yen, whose tremendous martial artistry is the single most rapture-inducing part of the show).

With the rebels is a reprogrammed droid. K2SO (voiced by Serenity crewman Alan Tudyk). He's long-legged, 8 feet tall, snippy, and only intermittently obedient. "I thought I told you to wait in the ship!" K2SO is scolded by his companion, Cassien (Diego Luna). As per the nerve-wracked Dr. Smith in TV's Lost in Space, this android gives the defeatists in the audience someone to cheer on: he likes to recite the exact percentages of how fail prone a given mission might be.

Darth Vader turns up twice, once to show off his air-strangling trick—bemusing that such a gasper would want to make other people suffocate. The dark lord in his home inside a volcano citadel with a lava moat. Seemingly still recovering from his injuries from Revenge of the Sith, he stews in an aquarium full of chemicals. Nice to have him back, but Vader is not scheming up anything magically treacherous.

The movie is crowded and way too busy. The characters make stylish entrances—for example, Forest Whitaker as a blasted-up fanatic, stumping in on mismatched prosthetic feet—but they make even swifter departures. The Empire Shoots Back, for once, and with accuracy. Those who prefer the series' explosions to the double-moonrises should be slaked by what happens. It's all action, hopping from planet to planet and blasting all the way. That makes it faster and more serious than anything in the series.

The seriousness also makes it less exhilarating than last year's relaunch. One really wants to leave the recent election out of this experience, to go, watch and forget about the desperate times. This is difficult, given the huge emphasis on revolutionary self-sacrifice and battle lines being drawn; it's an unpleasant kind of zeitgeist offered here—premonitions of possible struggle to come.

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