Rogue One Delivers Story But Disconnected Characters Keeps You From Caring

My review of Rogue One : A Star Wars Story
Rogue One Delivers Story but Disconnected Characters Keeps You from Caring
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For the first time in the five sequels that followed the original Star Wars Trilogy, the franchise has not completely embarrassed itself.  Unfortunately, Rogue One still falls short, and the twelve dollars I shoveled over feels like yet another drop in a money pit that has no foreseeable bottom.

Based on much positive discourse I didn’t trust on Facebook,  I assumed this had to be another catastrophe, and I was definitely hoping for the worst.  

Of course, in the interest of objectivity, this had me questioning whether I still have ability to believe.  Have I grown old and cold? Would Luke

Skywalker himself be unable to sense the good side of the force in me?

At the same time, the overwhelming acceptance of The Force Awakens sent me in search of a more reasonable truth. What the hell is wrong with all you people?

Nonetheless, I did enter with hope off a late flurry of positive reaction on social media. This was buoyed as Rogue One did not begin with fanfare and left the iconic scroll and John Williams’ score for Episode VIII.

We simply meet a scientist on a remote world with his wife and daughter. But Galen Erso’s self-imposed exile quickly ends with the arrival of the Empire, and his only choice is to help build the Deathstar.  His wife doesn’t so easily acquiesce and is shot dead, while the daughter eludes capture and grows up to become our heroine.  

The tragedy is compounded as the reluctant scientist obviously completes the task, and the rebellion provides no grey area for his dilemma. The same goes for Jyn (Felicity Jones) who long discounted her father’s plea that he would always protect her.

Rogue One certainly provides a compelling plot with lots of philosophical conundrums to consider. So the set up in place, you’re incited as the rebels free Jyn from Imperial control in hopes of using her to kill Galen before the Deathstar is completed.  Add a defector from the Empire that supposedly holds the key to a vulnerability in the WMD, and chase is on.

We go here and there, take out some bad guys, meet a few more intriguing characters and get clued in on how Galen has played the impossible hand he was dealt.  We also digest the film’s signature line that circles us back to 1977. “Rebellions are made of

hope,” declares Jyn’s partner in crime Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).

Nonetheless, I came to a realization and then a question.  I really could care less about these people, and what the hell is wrong with all of you?

James Earl Jones showing up to phone it in didn’t help either.

One scene easy to put aside, Rogue One does not suffer the lifted story that awakened the force two years ago, but not adapting the basic facet of the trilogy comes too late to save this film. In other words, there is a lack of connective flaws to bound the characters together so the natural banter that originally made Star Wars so appealing is absent.

The only prolonged instance of back and forth takes place between Jyn and a reprogramed imperial droid and results in a touching send off that says Star Wars like no other moment in the film. 

No matter, the original triumvirate embraced the fractures befalling them - allowing the viewer to take their place beside them as our heroes made it up as they went along.

Rogue One, though, does imply a force that must fly by the seat of their pants, and when the moment comes to start the final act, this installment does take its place with its predecessors.

This left me pondering why it took so long for the swashbuckling to begin.  Their fate already revealed in Star Wars, can a tragedy be lighthearted?  See The Empire Strikes Back…  

Either way, I did care, and while I couldn’t pull enough interest as the events unfolded, maybe it’s because the force is no longer strong in me.  But a finale bringing reminiscence of the originals at least shows that the rest of the world isn’t completely screwed up.

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