I know the Star Wars hype is slowing down now (although it has 2 nominations at the Oscars). But I’m just starting to write about movies, so bare with me for a second! In fact you should thank me for giving you the time to see it, as everybody knows Star Wars screams “Spoiler Alert” louder than Mariah Carey in Glitter. Oh, yes, you can expect a lot of movie references from me, having spent my CEGEP years as a video store clerk. But let’s get back to the subject at hand.
And of course: SPOILER ALERT!
The Expectations Game
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, just like The Phantom Menace did 16 years earlier, had the “yuge” task of relaunching (one of) the most epic trilogy in cinema history. As we know, with great history, comes even greater expectations. And expectations there were. Especially with the “Chewy, we’re home” trailers they produced. So, evidently, Awakens failed at that game. It has sparked vilifying comments from hardcore fans of the original series. The most common being something like: “Thanks Disney, you just killed Star Wars.” But then again, they would have complained just the same if Disney had given them a copy of the original Star Wars in a new packaging… Wait, isn’t that?…
Rogue One on the other hand had much less pressure to perform. And it outperformed its expectations by a mile! It basically had none of the original characters on screen for more than 5 minutes. A rather unknown director in Gareth Edwards (against J.J. Abrams for Awakens). Hell, it didn’t even have the Star Wars opening reel! How does that work?
Fan vs Newbie
As discussed, Awakens wasn’t able to really satisfy the fans. But it was a fun and memorable adventure for fairly newcomers to the series. They didn’t mind that Rey would need just a few minutes to master jedi mind skills or that Finn would be so great on his first light saber fight, or that Kylo Ren would be, well, Kylo Ren. They just wanted to be entertained!
Meanwhile, the slow-paced first half of Rogue One lost the attention of our regular viewers. But for some, the dark and heavy tone throughout was a relief from the light and kid-friendly mood of the prior movie. It doesn’t try too hard to be a Star Wars, and that’s where it succeeds. Finally, the ending scene which completes the loop with the original opening scene, and its Darth Vader go-loco extravaganza, was just what fans were waiting for. And to this I say bravo!
While I much enjoyed Rogue One and its near perfect finale, I still must ask why. Why the CGI!? In my opinion, if it is easily noticeable, it’s not good enough. We’re not talking about beings like Gollum or Dobby here. I find them disturbing, and you can’t “unsee” them. They clearly could’ve used another actor to impersonate Tarkin, and filmed Princess Leia from the back or the side. We would’ve understood, you know! I hope we won’t see any more of these in the future.