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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 19:18 
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I've seen this! Prepare for my verdict:

Jesus fucking Christ fanboys, this was average at best. It was brought up to a 6/10 by the obvious awesome bit at the end, which was sorely lacking during the rest of the movie.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 20:19 
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Grim... wrote:
6/10

That's the exact same rating I gave it in my film diary thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 21:47 
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Grim... wrote:
I've seen this! Prepare for my verdict:

Jesus fucking Christ fanboys, this was average at best. It was brought up to a 6/10 by the obvious awesome bit at the end, which was sorely lacking during the rest of the movie.


Fans of things in liking things more than people less fans of things shocker!

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 22:29 
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Curiosity wrote:
Grim... wrote:
I've seen this! Prepare for my verdict:

Jesus fucking Christ fanboys, this was average at best. It was brought up to a 6/10 by the obvious awesome bit at the end, which was sorely lacking during the rest of the movie.


Fans of things in liking things more than people less fans of things shocker!

Huh? I like Star Wars. I even quite liked the first one.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 23:01 
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If it's average *at best* how can you give it 6/10? ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 23:14 
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Because ratings are a skewed bell curve, and always have been.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 0:14 
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Dude, you like Miranda.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 0:18 
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Grim... wrote:
I've seen this! Prepare for my verdict:

Jesus fucking Christ fanboys, this was average at best. It was brought up to a 6/10 by the obvious awesome bit at the end, which was sorely lacking during the rest of the movie.

You are literally dead to me. Or will be shortly, at any rate.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 0:48 
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Lonewolves wrote:
If it's average *at best* how can you give it 6/10? ;)

It got an extra point because of the cool bit at the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:01 
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Cras wrote:
Because ratings are a skewed bell curve, and always have been.

Your bell is a skewed curve.


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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 18:34 
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As promised, my review! Penned shortly after viewing, I think you'll find my opinion to be the correct one.

So, Rogue One then.

It's an odd beast. First of all I'd say, watch it in 2D, not 3D. I'm afraid to say me and Creedy didn't think much of the 3D, and I actually found it terribly distracting. Even when there were only two talking heads shot side on, the 3D would pop one out as sharp and the other as blurred, so you'd basically be at the mercy of which performance the film decided was worth looking at. I found it really blurry and distracting. Grrr. Despite this frustration, I won't knock a star off for it, but just know that before you book your tickets. Added frustration as I'm a photographer too, so I kept thinking, 'this is how a film would look if I shot everything at f/1.2 aperture.'

Anyway, the film. It struck me after watching the film that it was somewhat like The Dirty Dozen, in that the action was great but that you couldn't actually remember one name of any of the characters leaving the cinema. I remember their quirks, what they look like, their lines even... but as soon as I try to remember a name, all I can do is say things like, "The guy in the white cape," or "Blind monk dude." This isn't necessarily a grievous sin for a film like this. Indeed, I had the same experience with the Dirty Dozen. I remember Telly Savalas, Lee Marvin and Donald Sutherland but I'm danged if I can remember any of their characters names in it. Rogue One's structure, essentially a war movie, means that its less important that you don't fall in love with the people involved. No one left Saving Private Ryan dreaming of the fan-fic they'd write after all. However, it does place the film as an odd beast within the Star Wars universe. More of a history lesson, almost, than a hero's journey. (Which one could in itself consider somewhat refreshing.)

Even so, it's shame I could never really get too pumped about the ostensible hero of this tale. Though the actress did a serviceable job she didn't get too much to work with, and there was the odd awkward scene when she was required to deliver a speech to push the plot along, probably the most ham-fisted motivational speech scene I've ever witnessed in film. Again it's not the actresses fault, but the character is never really brought into focus as a leader. It's like she's been assigned the role by committee decision, rather than on her own strengths. Weirdly, there are scenes in the trailer not contained in the film which display a more maverick, impulsive character than what we get. A better approach would have been to look to Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in the film Aliens. A woman barely overcoming her fears and finding hidden strength, surprising herself and everyone around her by becoming a natural leader. As it is the character has a great back-story, but the film has trouble making a credible heroine out of it. One wonders if earlier drafts had better characterisation, perhaps a fully fleshed out origin story with extra Forres Whittaker.

Amongst her rag-tag companions, the more memorable characters are a re-programmed Imperial Droid and a fearful low-ranking Imperial defector. The droid is a masterpiece of understated, iconic design and has the best comedic moments of the film. Superb voice acting from Alan Tudyk as well. The defector impressed me in a way with his vulnerabilty, really emphasising the sheer terror the Empire instills in people. The others... well, they make good action figures. I just couldn't get emotionally invested in them. Likewise, the plot is servicable but makes an odd stretch right towards the end that doesn't quite gel. It attempts to span a gap with a bridge that upon closer inspection doesn't really quite make sense, compromising the sense of quiet efficiency the rest of the film happily ticks along with.

So, flimsy characters and ho-hum plot make for disappointing film, eh?

Happily, and quite intriguingly, not at all.

This film has something that doesn't exist in any of the other films except, perhaps fleetingly, in Empire. Firstly it has an odd sense of historical weight absent in any other Star Wars film, but more than that... it has dread. This isn't any small achievement, and ensures that Rogue One manages to be more than the sum of its ingredients. The Star Wars universe - even despite the shonky 3D - somehow manages to feel more real in this film than any other. The settings, costumes, architecture and minutae are all top level stuff, in keeping with the finest tradition of films IV, V and VI, true. But there's a series of directorial choices that really bring it all into sharper focus.

This film has a sense of exhaustion. Everything seems to take more effort. There's a crushing weight, even upon the ascendent Empire, that constricts and knuckles down upon everyone. Gone is the glib run-about corridor heroics of the other films. No more do heroes jump mighty chasms. (A jump of eight feet is considered a big stretch.) Every opportunity of a hi-octane throw-away chase scene is turned down. Repeated mistakes are even made in the piloting of ships under-pressure. The efforts of the heroes are gradually worn down throughout the film, until there's a real sense of snatching victory by the skin of the teeth. There's a good line in it about taking a chance, and then another chance, one at a time, until the chances run out. And the film makes good on that. The force is mentioned often in the film, but it has never felt more absent and this really adds a thrilling edge to the action. When the abilities of our heroes are restricted, they become more grounded and real, and the tension mounts resultingly. Who woulda thunk? Its in this finely judged action that I'm brought closer to the characters than I am through their purely demonstrative dialogue. This exhaustion stretches even to the Empire, various moments in the film show officers, scientists and storm-troopers alike slumped with exhaustion, bags-under-eyes, weary of struggle. It goes a remarkable way to adding texture to a universe for a while brimming over with almost too much vim. In Gareth Edwards vision of the Star Wars universe, no one has the energy or time for side-missions. This further manifests in a desperate streak of ruthlessness in the rebellion not previously seen. You just do what needs to be done.

The second element is even stronger in this new, intriguing mix. Arguably for the first time since episode V, the Empire has felt, well, scary. In fact, I'd say the Empire has never been more menacing. A good deal of this is in the way the Death Star is used throughout the film. It's not just a planet-killer, it's a presence, a dread statement of intent that casts - quite literally at times - a shadow upon every character in the film. Possibly inspired by the research necessitated by his take on the Godzilla story, Edwards has wisely cast a Manhatten Project vibe over the Death Star project. This even manifests itself in the characters within the Imperial ranks, who are dealt a stronger hand in characterisation, direction and acting than the Rebel team. There's an undercurrent of uncertainty and even fear amongst members of the Imperium as to what they've created, echoes of Oppenheimer's latter self-doubting. At the same time there's a dreadful blinkered certainty to other characters, the Teller half of the Manhatten driving forces f you will. Strong echoes indeed in the character of Overseer Orson, the sort of man Walter Matthau played in Fail Safe, with an added lust for power. To my mind the film's strongest character and performance, a real villain superbly played by Ben Mendelsohn.

It's odd that the Death Star, in this film, is used more effectively than even when it had opportunity of destroying planets in A New Hope. There's a well-judged scale to it, visually and in how characters react and are drawn and repelled by it, thrilled and terrified. It really is the bomb, and it's this and the dread it generates that makes the film. Indeed, I wonder now if Gareth Edwards was inspired by Genesis of the Daleks. There's a similar vibe in the dynamic of the Death Star's midwives as there was in the fearful Kaled scientists labouring under the megalomaniacal Davros, seemingly right down to the costume design and elderly-British-scientist central casting in parts.

So from the newfound competence of the lowly stormtrooper (They're good at ground combat now! Tie Fighter pilots are good shots!) through to the strikingly vulnerable fragility of a small city shadowed underneath by the belly of a Star Destroyer, the Empire has a real menace. It's a menace that indeed culminates in a nightmarish scene featuring a different kind of apocalyptic power, that goes a long way to fixing the foolish squandering of arguably George Lucas's best creation. In a moment that made me cringe down in my seat (in a good way) Edwards triumphs even Abrams and Kershner in bringing a moment of relentless, overwhelming, dream-like malevolence to the Star Wars universe, and it's a scene that rightly goes down as iconic in Star Wars history.

These bravura moments are plentiful in the final third of the film and go a long way to making up for the weaknesses of the characters and simplicity of the story. And it's this different take on the Star Wars universe, less pantomine and more war-story, that allows for sketchy heroes. It's a film impossible to stand on its own, apart from the trilogy. Instead its more in the nature of the true-story war film. A film that celebrates the previously unsung heroes of a battle, every-day heroes who have just enough character to fulfil the obligations of history without getting in the way of the truth of the affair.

So it's very different to Force Awakens. It avoids the pitfalls of sloppy plotting and leaps of logic, forced quips and confused backstory that the Abrams film has. But it also lacks the deft characterisation and wish-fulfilling thrills of Abrams best moments, and makes you appreciate more the work that into Kylo Ren. It's more original, far less the insultingly obvious retread that Force Awakens is, but it has far less love for its own characters. It avoids nearly all the mistakes made in Abram's film, but echoes a mistake of the prequel trilogy in forces connections to other installments that bind too closely, and implausibly. It's a shame we couldn't see a marriage of the strengths of both, but a curious glib haste in making these films has led to troublingly weak writing.

It's going to be intriguing to see which one pulls ahead in the long-run. Oddly more than any other it puts more pressure on Return of the Jedi, which now more than ever seems hopelessly out of step with the rest of the films and the re-forged Star Wars vision. But the best contrasting comparison lies with Force Awakens. Charitably judged emerging from a big screen viewing, it's a tone poem to Abram's Saturday matinee. It lacks the sturdy foundations of Force Awakens, but then it isn't really interested in creating a new origin for a fresh line of movies. It's a curt, almost cruel, self-contained mood piece that more than any film other than Empire enriches the Star Wars universe - inferior in some ways, but visually more memorable and vital in others. It can be viewed in-universe as the Star Wars equivilent to our sleepy Sunday afternoon warfilms of the 1940's and 1950's, a stoic, unflashy testament to unsung heroes, a sober historical film uninterested in character motivations but keen to celebrate a story of a desperate action. The titular characters of Rogue One may be as ill-supported by the writers as they by the Rebellion, but I feel somehow that history will be kind to this odd, flawed yet compelling beast of a film, as kind perhaps as the rebellion's own scribes are to the heroes of Yavin IV. At least so long as we get some decent characters next time.

3.5/5

(May drop to 3/5 on subsequent small screen viewings.)

New Hope 4.5/5
Empire 5/5
Return of the Jedi 3/5
Force Awakens 3.5/5

Star Wars Fan-Films:

Phantom Menace 2/5
Attack of the Clones 0.5/5
Revenge of the Sith 1.5/5

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 18:53 
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Loved the review.

If have Jedi at least one whole point lower. Watched it recently and it is 20 minutes of brilliance and the rest is worst than the prequels.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 19:10 
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Curiosity wrote:
Loved the review.

If have Jedi at least one whole point lower. Watched it recently and it is 20 minutes of brilliance and the rest is worst than the prequels.


Billy Dee Williams winning smile nets it one of those stars.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 19:20 
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NervousPete wrote:
Curiosity wrote:
Loved the review.

If have Jedi at least one whole point lower. Watched it recently and it is 20 minutes of brilliance and the rest is worst than the prequels.


Billy Dee Williams winning smile nets it one of those stars.


You mean cgi old Donald glover in the upcoming special edition

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 19:22 
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Great review Pete

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 19:29 
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Trooper wrote:
NervousPete wrote:
Curiosity wrote:
Loved the review.

If have Jedi at least one whole point lower. Watched it recently and it is 20 minutes of brilliance and the rest is worst than the prequels.


Billy Dee Williams winning smile nets it one of those stars.


You mean cgi old Donald glover in the upcoming special edition


I fucking love Donald Glover

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 19:43 
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INFINITE POWAH

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Nicely written review, Pete, but you are, of course, utterly wrong about everything, as it was brilliant.

PEW PEW PEW.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 19:44 
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And Jesus, 3/5 or 2/5 for RotJ? Fecking hell. You people are weird.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 20:04 
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I found Return of the Jedi rather cringeworthy when I most recently watched it. TBH. Even the Emperor seemed more pantomime than menacing.


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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 20:06 
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MrChris wrote:
And Jesus, 3/5 or 2/5 for RotJ? Fecking hell. You people are weird.


I jest slightly, Jedi is one enjoyable film. Shame it could be so much better though. Panto fun maybe, but one hell of a space battle, some great scenes, Hamill commits and the pacing is great.

0/5 - A sin.
1/5 -Merely inept
2/5 - Deeply flawed, but certain effective scenes may please certain target audience.
3/5 - Decent film, enjoyable if flawed.
4/5 - Great film, worth a second viewing, wouldn't switch off if I walked in on it.
5/5 - One of the best films of its genre, could watch again and again.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 22:27 
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I've just got back from seeing this and thought it was absolutely brilliant! Nothing wrong with it in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 22:30 
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TheVision wrote:
Nothing wrong with it in my opinion.

Blind kung-fu monk is the easiest non-spoiler thing I can think of that was clearly wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 23:42 
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Grim... wrote:
TheVision wrote:
Nothing wrong with it in my opinion.

Blind kung-fu monk is the easiest non-spoiler thing I can think of that was clearly wrong.


WTF he was awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 23:43 
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I agree, he was ace. As was the rest of the film.


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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 23:59 
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TheVision wrote:
I agree, he was ace. As was the rest of the film.


Grim is well known for being wrong in the head.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 0:20 
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Oh, he was. I meant the hugely lazy character design. I mean, a blind kung-fu monk who prays a lot? How many times have we seen that?

Hell, he's even been a Mortal Kombat character.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:49 
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I have no real interest in this film (still not even watched The Force Awakens) but a nice long Pete review is always worth a read so I read all of it.

Great review Pete :) I'll send it on to Mrs Hearthly later on today, as her and Jnr are off to the cinema to watch the film this afternoon, it'll be interesting for me to see how her views align (or not) with yours!

If anything you've piqued my interest in Rogue One more than anything I read or watched about Force Awakens did.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:33 
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Fitness Nut...

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How old is your little one?

It is a 12a for a reason.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:47 
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Hit it very hard

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She is 12.

We've been letting her watch PG and 12/12A films on a case-by-case basis, as we do have to take into account she's autistic and emotionally 'young' in some ways, but also has a fully engaged, curious and active 12 year old's mind in most regards.

She handles the more dramatic/violent/emotional story and questlines in WoW well enough (which despite the cartoony graphics very much earns its 12 rating), and has seen all the other Star Wars films (trilogy + prequels) including Force Awakens, so we have made a judgement call she'll be OK with Rogue One.

End of the day if something happens that she's clearly unhappy with, Mrs H will just take her out of the cinema :)

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue One
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:50 
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Cool

Mine is 7. I am still undecided to take him.

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