“Rogue One” Was Good, But …

“Star Wars” fans have waited nearly 40 years to find out how and why there was such a fatal flaw in the first Death Star.

“Rogue One,” which debuted last month, lays out the events leading up to “Star Wars: A New Hope.” That’s the first movie that came out in 1977 labeled Episode IV.

“Rogue One” provides the story line for how the rebel alliance came to possess the detailed plans that ultimately allowed Luke Skywalker to blow up the Death Star.

As a fan of “Star Wars” from when it first premiered, I liked “Rogue One,” but I’ve got to vent about a couple of things. (For those who have not seen the movie, spoilers abound, so see it first and then come back and read this.)

* That hologram soliloquy by Jyn Erso’s dad…I know it’s there to drive the narrative forward but for heaven’s sake, the planet is crumbling around their ears and this message is droning on and on. It’s like a voice mail from a caller who does not know when to shut up.

* Can anyone tell me what Forest Whitaker’s character, Saw Gerrerra, was doing in this movie? He saves young Jyn. Hurray! And then years later he is some radical rebel even feared by other rebels? What? I was confused.

* I cannot help it but there is one scene where Gerrerra takes a deep inhalation from his oxygen mask that just so takes me back to the crazy character Otto played by Kevin Kline in “A Fish Called Wanda,” in which Kline’s character deeply sniffs his own armpit.

* The villain, Orsen Krennic, was not villainous enough. I mean, yes, he comes across as half-crazed when during a test-run of the Death Star he watches the destruction from afar and declares “It’s beautiful!” But overall he seemed more whiny than evil.

* Did Darth Vader go on a diet? The actor, Spencer Wilding, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall, somehow looked smaller in frame and about 30 pounds lighter than the original actor, David Prowse, who was 6 feet, 6 inches.

When Krennic enters Vader’s chamber and Vader starts walking toward him, I swear he sashays down the ramp. Yes, sashays. Not good. Not intimidating. What is he doing moving his hips like that?!

* Maybe my hearing is going, but I had a hard time understanding some of the dialogue because of the actors’ different accents.

* The scene where the shuttle pilot is brought before Gerrerra, and then subjected to some kind of mind meld with a slimy creature to see if he was lying was reminiscent to me of the Ceti eel scene in which one of the larvae makes its way into the ears of characters in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

* What exactly made Capt. Casian Andor not go ahead with the assassination of Galen Erso?

* Felicity Jones was OK but I don’t think she holds a light saber to Daisy Ridley, who played Rey in last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

OK, now on the plus side:

* I thought K-2SO was great and pretty much stole the movie. Ditto Donnie Yen.

* The movie did not have many light moments but the ones it did were well-timed and genuinely funny.

* The final battle scene was glorious, particularly the strategy to ram the two star destroyers into one another. Totally bad-ass!

* Speaking of bad-ass, the climactic ending with Vader taking on the rebels was vicious and no-holds-barred in its violence.

* The movie depicted war in the most realistic way of the “Star Wars” franchises so far.

* I know there have been a number of critics who have complained about the CG return of Grand Moff Tarkin (played in the first movie by Peter Cushing, who died in 1994) and a young Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher).

One of my friends said the appearances took him right out of the movie. I was fine with the recreated characters. I thought they were a neat surprise that did not detract from the movie.

I have also heard some critics say that “Rogue One” was the best in the “Star Wars” franchise and was better than “The Force Awakens.”

I could not disagree more.

And to those who think that way, I can only say you are a half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerfherder.


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