500 Words or Less Reviews: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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I feel the conflict. It is much as Luke was conflicted about the good and dark sides of the force. Not really. It’s nothing like that. I’m not really sure, though. I do know that Rogue One was better than episodes 1-3. I do know I didn’t like it quite as much as episodes 4-6. My conflict comes in weighing it with episode 7, The Force Awakens. For the purposes of this article I had the help of thoughts from a group of like-minded friends, without whom I would have never heard of things everyone really, really needs to know about like the phrase “totes adorb” or the miracle product, Unicorn Gold.

On the one hand, there is good reason to consider RO better than FA. RO saw a more realistic, inspirational, and original plot. It also works superbly as an introduction to episode 4 and gives it the added twist of acknowledging that the rebel-sympathizing builder purposely placed the strategic flaw in the Death Star. The fact about the flaw in the Death Star being added on purpose by the designer will surely effect our viewings of A New Hope forevermore. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet by revealing that RO ends with what I view as two amazing grand finales. There is a final, huge, and extremely well-constructed battle scene both on the ground and in the air. So great is it that it rivals every other battle scene in the entire pantheon of classic Star Wars battle scenes. And I won’t say that the very end is truly epic with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named singlehandedly and easily blazing through a hallway filled with terrified rebel soldiers. I would never give spoilers like that. Never!

On the other hand, there is good reason to consider FA the better of the twain. FA definitely had amazing heart, depth of the characters, and seamless plotting going for it. Unfortunately, RO was somewhat lacking in heart and depth of characters with its emphasis almost entirely on the action. The constant jumping around from event to event in the earlier half of the movie meant that there was little character development and thus much less connection to them as might have been. RO was about two hours and 14 minutes. This seems long, yet it still felt like some crucial character development and dialogue were cut out. I would hate for them to have taken out anything in favor of replacing it with character moments. Instead they should have added 30 to 45 minutes to the movie to make us care about the characters, make us cry and laugh and get angry with them. As it was, the emotional impact on the audience was not as great when one of our heroes died.

But like I said, I’m conflicted. I can say for sure, though, that RO was an excellent addition to the franchise and does the legacy of Star Wars great honor.

Ben Plunkett

Greetings from the booming metropolis that is Pleasant View, Tennessee. I am a man of constant spiritual highs and spiritual lows. I pray that I serve God at my highest even when I am lowest.

14 thoughts on “500 Words or Less Reviews: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • December 21, 2016 at 2:08 pm
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    I was very pleased with Rogue One. It told a good story, had memorable characters, and some of the best action and cinematography of the entire franchise. I thought the music was really good as well.

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  • December 21, 2016 at 2:31 pm
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    I was disappointed that the main Star Wars theme was not played with scrolling caption at the beginning of the movie. I know it’s a transition movie b/w episodes 3 & 4 and we should already know what’s going on in the universe, but that omission was a letdown.

    But other than that, I thought it a really good movie. Not great, but really good. It didn’t need character-development like the SW trilogies because it was a one-and-done episode. So we didn’t need to get closely attached to the characters of RO. I was also glad that C3PO and R2-D2 were able to keep a perfect 8-for-8 SW film appearances with their cameo. So many good things about this movie. And the CGI was pretty realistic for Tarkin and Leia. Great cinematography. Also, I was glad they didn’t give special “Force” powers to people who didn’t need them. A lot of talk about the “Force” in this movie script without much “Force” being displayed. It fit the time period of the original “A New Hope” very well.

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  • December 21, 2016 at 3:41 pm
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    I think I am okay with no scroll or Star Wars theme. It’s not one of the saga films. I think it needs to feel different from the beginning. The lack of scroll/theme set the tone.

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    • December 21, 2016 at 5:32 pm
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      I see your point, and respect your view. But I disagree strongly. Don’t advertise it (or subtitle it) as “A Star Wars Story” if the most iconic thing about the entire series is left out. That thunderous, musical score entrance is known world-wide. And they left it out of something dubbed “A Star Wars Story”!!! It’s almost unforgivable. But I liked the movie, so…

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      • December 21, 2016 at 7:06 pm
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        Although the entry music and lettering is iconic, there is no way that that is the most iconic thing about the Star Wars franchise. And there is also no way that the movie could have gotten away with not being advertised as a Star Wars movie. Its entire premise is connected to Episode 4.

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      • December 22, 2016 at 11:29 am
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        Exactly, It’s a “Star Wars Story.” Not, part of the main saga. There has to be something to distinguish it from the main saga. Starting it off in a different manner is one really simple and effective way to tell the audience that this is going to be different.

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        • December 22, 2016 at 12:37 pm
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          I agree that it is really simple. But effective? I think not.

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  • December 21, 2016 at 5:10 pm
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    I loved it. Great addition to the franchise. I like it better than TFA, but I was also more excited to see it than TFA for some reason. Excited to see where Disney goes branching out like this. I expect they will do a good job with the Han Solo movie and really hope they’ll do a Kenobi one with Ewan McGregor after that.
    Like David my greatest complaint is the music. Sounded like a cheap knock off made for the SyFy Network.

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  • December 21, 2016 at 5:45 pm
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    I’d say that overall, it was good with moments of greatness. The Death Star blasting cities, Vader wrecking people, generally great action scenes. The unhinged, diabolically self-absorbed, yet oddly likable Director Krennic. A comic relief droid that’s actually funny and not super cheesy. And then there’s the not-so-great, which Ben already mentioned: characters we’re supposed to care about just aren’t very likable or well defined, to include heroine Jyn Erso and Captain Whats-his-face. The brief romance had all the passion of a block being checked. And CGI Tarkin: impressively rendered, but not quite out of the uncanny valley. Same with CGI Leia, though she was more acceptable due to lack of screen time and dialogue.

    By comparison with TFA, the story line is more original but not necessarily better. What Rogue lacks in character depth, it more than makes up for with great battle scenes. I’d give the advantage to RO if it weren’t for the phenomenal light saber duel in TFA.

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    • December 21, 2016 at 11:22 pm
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      I agree with most of this. Don’t agree about Director Krennic being a great protagonist. There didn’t seem to be much to him as one of the primary villains. Also don’t agree that TFA gets the edge for the light saber duel. RO had Vader’s awesome massacre. That alone is way better.

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      • December 22, 2016 at 11:33 am
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        While the Vader “fight” was jaw-dropping cool, it did not have the heart of the Kylo Ren vs. Rey. That one was about the emotions of the moment, whereas Vader’s scene was about fear, tension, and all around butt kicking. I love them both.

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      • December 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm
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        I agree with Ben that the Vader scene is superior to the FA light saber duel. I actually had a minor concern with TFA end fight scene. It is my one negative takeaway from the movie. Rey learned the force entirely too fast. There is NO WAY that she should even compete with Kylo Ren in a battle concerning the Force, much less get the better of him. You expect me to believe that she learned to control the Force in a matter of hours after it took Luke an entire movie to learn to use it? And then, she is able to fight, and not only survive, but put-a-hurting on the baddest guy in the universe?! I think not! I understand it’s science fiction, but … c’mon, son! Rey is not superior to Luke and Anakin. They weren’t able to do that so early in their respective trilogies.

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  • December 22, 2016 at 3:41 pm
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    David, I somewhat agree with you on the Kylo Ren/Ray duel, but keep in mind that Kylo Ren had just been shot when the fight started so he was far from 100% physically. He also had just killed his father so he was not in a great place emotionally either. Those two things help explain at least partially how she was able to hang with him.

    For the record I think Rogue One was definitely better then The Force Awakens.

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    • December 23, 2016 at 9:04 am
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      I would also add that we seem to be giving Kylo Ren more credit than he deserves. He hasn’t even finished/completed his training.

      For the record, I loved both of them but I responded more strongly to The Force Awakens on an emotional level and that will almost always win out for me when it comes to movies.

      Reply

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