is the dark
film I always thought I wanted to see.
Inspired by the throwaway line, "Many Bothans died to bring us this information," Rogue One's destiny was only ever to kill a buttload of Bothans.
Things were gonna get grim. You simply can't have a fun, gee-whizz space adventure set against the backdrop of mass Bothocide.
That the film would embrace the dark side was inevitable. But damn, did it take a long time to do so. It was almost as if it was fighting the urge to go to the dark side when really, what it needed to be doing, was cuddling up to it with the same malevolent glee as Emperor Palpatine in full evil cackling mode.
This doesn't mean I think Rogue One was bad. It's not. I was fool enough to pay good money to see all three of the absolutely atrocious George Lucas directed prequels on the big screen so I'm intimately familiar with what makes for a bad Star Wars movie.
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Rogue One is not bad. I'd even go as far as to say it's good. But that's where I'd stop. And this is where you should stop if you want to avoid spoilers because from this point on I am gonna spoil the force out of this thing.
My biggest problem with the movie was that it simply had no danger to it. An odd complaint to lob at a movie where everyone dies... But hear me out.
For our plucky, ragtag group of heroes the end, as it were, doesn't come until the very, very end of the film. The rest of the time they're ducking and dive-rolling out of harm's way with nary a scratched knee or stubbed toe.
I 'spose you could argue that it's well established that Stormtroopers can't shoot for Sith, but here things just got ridiculous. These well trained military troops couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat.
Sure, in each of the many battle scenes they're reacting to surprise attacks so I'll accept that in the opening moments of these firefights they'd be a little sloppy. But that would quickly pass, the training would kick in and they'd take out at least one rogue.
And I aint' talkin' about some random, no name, extra here either. That, friends, doesn't cut it. As a viewer it's hard to give a toss about the death of some dude.
At the risk of sounding like I'm crazed with the bloodlust, it was the rogues that really should have been dropping like flies, right from the very first action scene. The people that'd we'd grown to know and like should have been getting shot to hell. That would have given the action scenes weight and the movie power.
We should have been deathly worried about who was going to make it and who wasn't. I don't know about you but I was never concerned about the safety or wellbeing of our heroes. They made survival look easy.
The one time I thought the stakes had been raised and someone of note had actually carked it was when Cassian Andor slipped and fell down the satellite tower's chute thingy. But this was a giant fake out and it was instantly revealed that he'd landed safely on a conveniently placed platform...
I audibly sighed at that point. And then again when he conveniently saved the day minutes later in the biggest display of BS this side of the Kessel Run.
It's fitting that the movie's one true moment of true bad-assery and proper tension was courtesy of cinema's greatest villain, Darth Vader.
When he boarded the rebel's ship and started hacking everyone to shreds with his lightsaber it was truly exhilarating viewing. Rogue One finally came alive amongst all that terrible death.
And yes, I know it goes against everything I've just said as it was no name, extras getting sliced and diced. But these guys weren't cracking wise and back flipping their way out of trouble.
They were trapped in an airlock with a Sith lord and they were scared out of their soon-to-be-splattered brains. Their terror was palpable, their frantic clawing to escape awful, their death's grizzly and their at-all-costs desperation in ensuring the secret plans got through admirable.
This little scene in a little room was easily the most exciting two minutes of the whole damn thing. The danger and futile desperation making it so much darker and awful than anything that preceded it.
As for the rest of it, yeah, it's good. There's a lot I loved. But it could have been so much better had it gone rogue earlier, embraced the dark side and truly shown us that even in a galaxy far, far away, war is hell.