My Hesitant Excitement Over Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One Star Wars Story

From the get-go, this movie’s announcement has had my interest piqued.  The first promotional image released some time ago, of the ragtag crew of Rebels, was interesting… but it didn’t turn me head-over-heels.  The teaser trailer released a few months ago had a similar non-impact on me.

Last night’s new trailer once again left me interested, but not extremely excited:

There is some trepidation here for me, indeed, but also several reasons as to why I’m hopeful.

The Good:

  • The director, Gareth Edwards.  Of course, I loved his Godzilla, but I then watched his first feature-length debut, Monsters, on Netflix, and absolutely adored it in every way.  He and I are only two movies in on our relationship together, but I’m already pretty excited about where things are going.  His work may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really respond to it… there’s a certain simplicity, and I really appreciate his visual style.  Edwards has done well to make movie-monsters feel massive and realistically alive, and I’m really interested to see what he’ll do in a Star Wars world.  At the very least, as indicated by these trailers, it’ll be one heck of a visual treat… at least, in my book :).
  • The tone.  I really like that it’s a war movie.  Star Wars is the story of a family… but interwoven between this central theme is the tale of a galaxy at war, and this movie looks to be a fun focus on that side of things.
  • The Force.  In this latest trailer, I really love that the Force is spoken of by someone who obviously lives their life by their faith in it.  Strangely enough, in the lousy The Force Awakens, the titular energy field that binds us and penetrates us barely comes up much that I can recall.  Of course, this is just one line, but I liked seeing a view of the Force from a non-Jedi angle.
  • New characters.  While the Star Wars prequels aren’t good movies (or good prequels, at that), the threats that Obi-wan and Anakin face are never dire because we all know that they live on.  What those stories SHOULD have been is a great character study focus on the tragedy of Anakin’s demise, but instead they focused a lot of time on a world’s story that was otherwise uninteresting.  In Rogue One, though, while we know the story’s outcome, I have absolutely no idea if ANY of these characters will actually live.  Even more than that, while I know how this part of the story has to end, I’m really interested in watching this particular group of ragtags experience what they’re going to experience.

The Not As Good:

  • Felicity Jones.  I’ve only seen her in one other movie, The Theory of Everything, and she was wonderful in that, but in these trailers she’s felt very flat.  She’s capable of a great deal of charm, so I’m not sure if it’s simply been out-of-context snippet selection for the trailers that has portrayed her at her worst moments in this movie or if it’s a character choice (or the option I’m hoping against, that she’s just not great in it).
  • I can’t trust this universe now.  I grew up with three great movies revolving around lightsabers and Luke’s quest and fantastic creatures.  Then I had 4 movies that actually deterred from that in how not-good they are.  For as much as I enjoy the director’s work, he is also working under the constraint of an “over-arching” theme that Disney is now in control of with these movies.  Will that allow for a good movie?  We shall see.
  • I haven’t been energized.  I love the music, the visual tone of the world, and the character design (that villain.. what a beautifully cold mug!), but I haven’t walked away from any of these trailers with an unbreakable smile across my face.
  • A little bit of clunk.  In the first teaser, Jones’ line of “I rebel,” just felt awkward.  It wasn’t exciting, it just felt odd — as if it was trying really hard to be that great, cool line, but then it wasn’t.

So, here we go.  I haven’t seen anything that leads me to believe this will be a horrible movie, and in fact I’ve probably seen more good than bad, but I’m hesitant.  The Force Awakens was such a horrible treatment of the characters I love, aside from simply being a bad movie, and I don’t expect this new flick to be so damaging… but my fingers are crossed that it’s just somewhere between mediocre and freakin’ brilliant :).

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About Mark Mushakian

Just a man who loves God, women, kids, dogs, movies, and every other lovely thing in life :)
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