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Dave Ryan
Thu, Apr 20, 2017, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

@Dom (and with apologies for the delay in responding): Yes, really. K-2SO was certainly one of the best characters in the film (not the most auspicious start, but I digress) and a humourous one at that - I was a big fan of the dry wit Alan Tudyk brought to the role. But in the wider context of what was happening in the film, it felt shoe-horned into the plot and almost had an element of "it's getting too heavy, make the robot say or do something funny" about it at times. As such, none of the moments felt joyful when my family and I watched it. Revenge of the Sith was no comedic masterclass, don't get me wrong, but in the context of what happened in the film (at least pre-Order 66) it did at least fit with the established dynamics and struck a far better balance.

As for "The whole ending of the film was so hopeful, seeing the Rebels succeed despite the odds"...I couldn't really disagree more. The opening crawl of A New Hope speaks of the Rebels having "won their first victory" against the Empire. What we got in Rogue One was a successful theft of the Death Star plans, yes, but also:

- a completely failed rescue attempt (all of Rogue One killed);
- Blue Squadron completely wiped out;
- various other pilots killed (Red 5 being just one);
- several ships being destroyed when Darth Vader's Star Destroyer shows up;
- the Rebel flagship being captured and presumably destroyed; and
- goodness knows how many Rebel soldiers mown down on Scarif or bisected by Vader in the process.

Even with a generous interpretation of "victory", that's about as pyrrhic as they come - and even then, only a "victory" because Tarkin decided to blow up Scarif for no explicable reason rather than zapping the Rebel fleet right in front of his face. (One thing the commander in Return of the Jedi learned from, at least) It felt more like The Charge of the Light Brigade than an inspirational victory.

I suspect part of the problem is also that they tried really hard to make us care about the sacrifice made by Rogue One, whilst relegating them to bit-part archetypes turned useful cannon fodder in the last battle. Honestly, I felt that them all dying was more of a storytelling cop-out rather than tugging at the heart-strings. As I said above, for me it felt forced, particularly after all the carnage before then.

I get that Disney was going for the darker vibes with this film, and that's fair enough. But it meant that, for me, it was an utterly joyless spectacle which I have no desire to watch again - and I say that as someone who watched all the films, played the video games and bought the books. But at the same time, there will be others like you who enjoyed it more and that's fair enough. I'll just politely ask people not to consider buying it for me as a present, if they're ever that way inclined...
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Dave Ryan
Mon, Feb 13, 2017, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Honest opinion? Out of the Star Wars films released to date, Rogue One is the only one I wouldn't watch again (and that includes the prequels, despite how low they rank in people's estimation). That isn't necessarily because it's a bad film - I came out of the cinema thinking it was a good, if flawed, effort. But it is so unremittingly joyless an experience that I just cannot be bothered with it again.

Now, don't get me wrong - I wasn't expecting a barrel of laughs. It's a war film, after all. But so was Episode III, and that still had its moments of light. So was Saving Private Ryan, and even with its heavy opening sequence there was some balancing out. But Rogue One was just bleak slaughter after bleak slaughter after bleak slaughter, capped with two acts of mass murder by a Death Star which was too prominent for my taste. It was all (pardon the pun) overkill. And however spectacular the end battle was, it just all felt forced.

I get what they were trying to do: basically, make a Star Wars version of The Dirty Dozen, or Halo: Reach, or any other casualty-heavy story you choose. But it went overboard, and I came out of the cinema ultimately feeling disappointed with an otherwise good film. Hence my surprise at the critical consensus, not least after Batman v Superman was slammed for being too dark...
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