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The Kind of Sci-Fi Movies 2016 - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Far from flying free, the first self-conclusive adventure of the saga is completely subjected to generated ideas from four decades ago. The director Gareth Edwards came back with a great Star Wars movie with the same feeling of the old 77’s New Hope that hits the target in the most intimate moments and convinces its public but loses a little quality when it resigns to be designed for fans.
For better or for worse, I think that Rogue One what J.J Abrams announced with “The Force Awakens” the renewal of the Star Wars franchise, by applying a golden paint into the same aesthetic proposal, with the same visual, formalities, arguments, ideas and even some special effects that George Lucas invented forty years ago.
A director like Gareth Edwards, son of that first blockbuster generation that was transformed by Hollywood in the 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s, doesn’t need to conform to that love letter which “Goodzilla” was, but now he wants to present a variation of a movie with the same spirit of the old one from the 77 with the guarantee that it will be part of the royalty, even when it doesn’t have to be that way.
Original but Not Really
This movie is presented as the first one being independent and at the same time, a spin-off of the Skywalker saga. But it is hard to think of that independence when its concept consists of explaining and expanding the same ideas and thoughts from decades ago. Edwards’ plan was to come back with a movie about something that was a “boom” decades ago with the intention of making it an action and science fiction spectacle with new characters as if it wasn’t going to be uncovered.
Applying a different vision to Rogue One, we can see how tough and difficult it was to be written, however, it sounds great thanks to Michael Giacchino, that did an awesome job even compared to the last soundtrack made by Williams. Nonetheless, without any special feature from the characters, even when they are really charismatic, the dialogue didn’t have a good rhythm, all because the screenwriters couldn’t handle a story going from point A to point B without losing too much sense, adding the inevitable anxiety of influence from previous sci – fi online movies.
This writing makes a gigantic effort to not getting out of its comfort zone, to adapt itself to a series of structures that were already presented in the official movies, ending in a re-enactment of the previous structures, forgetting about the idea of making a new movie with a different spirit and carrying it to a wonderful and new expressive field.
A Little Wasted Potential
Even though this movie has some bad writing, there are some cracks between the mistakes that reveal what directors like Edwards can make if they push themselves to make something different from the original, when the franchise decides to reveal against its own comfort zone. The whole movie is like a continuous shooting of entertaining scenes that work great separately but united don’t make too much of an independent movie and don’t go further than just being a fan-based one.
The CGI of old characters in the movie wasn’t so bad, however, we have Donnie Yen (ChirrutImwe) and Wen Jiang (BazeMalbus) who add some soul to the movie, a lot more than Felicity Jones (JynErso) and Diego Luna (CassianAndor) without even talking about the character of Alan Tudyk (K-2SO) who made the phrase “Never Tell Me The Odds!” recover some “life”.
The Human scale, specialty from the director, shines when he decides to conceptualize the force as a call of hope for the people, just because not only Jedi’s can believe, or not only priests are considered Christians.
This wasn’t the first time that Edwards decided to use that sci-fi lyricism which he used in Godzilla and Monster to conceptualize the major objective of the villain Ben Mendelsohn (Orson Krennic) by adding some poetry to the automatized destruction. It is possible that ‘Rogue One’ by trying to get away from digital use, loses a little composure in certain scenes, but it compensates that with some beautiful designs that add something great to the space opera of what Star Wars is all about.
In Rogue One there’s also space for some political commentary, something that Lucas was good at, even when just a few people are ready to recognize it. Luke and Leia from the first movie represented the rebel youth of the Vietnam times. The ‘Revenge of the Sith’ generated some ideas and influence against the War Against the Terror and the “Force Awakens” generated some aspirational models for contemporary young people, but it comes at its best when it conceptualizes with the ‘Rogue One’ all anti-imperialist revelry to the furthest of its capabilities.
Some scenes remember some attacks to Bagdad, Aleppo and some other scenes from the way being held today in the eastern world. This move gets the extremism to some new contexts and even shows how all characters try to use pop culture as a way of resistance against the scary new politic normality.
In my opinion, ‘Rogue One’ tries to throw a new optimist message in holidays that are not the best holidays in the past few years but adding a new view and a certain optimism for people who think that these holidays will not be good enough.
However, the movie just exposes the difference between a Stormtrooper and a Rebel soldier, where one just follows the rules of his superiors and the other tries to do the best for everyone, this is like an analogy, like what Gareth Edwards did with the movie, following all rules made by George Lucas in the original, without adding anything new and just letting all fans follow his storyline that doesn’t change anything, just follows, like a Stormtrooper, trying to kill all rebels without using his head… Not on purpose, but we can see how disappointing it is because you know, Edwards is not a clone but a totally capable director.