Star Wars Rogue One: A Safe Disney Movie

Image: Disney

Rogue One is the first post-Disney theatrically released Star Wars movie to stand alone in the franchise, and it has a lot of weight resting on its shoulders because of that. Immediately (like, literally immediately) preceding the events of A New Hope, it follows a ragtag bunch of misfits on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. We've all watched the film, so here are our wildly varying thoughts and opinions.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Rae Johnston, Journalist

One of the great things about Rogue One is how self-contained it is. This is truly a story that just drops seamlessly into the Star Wars canon, filling a gap we never knew we needed filled, and in a fun and entertaining way. It's an interesting experience watching a film where you know how the main plot plays out.

The dialogue is essentially exposition - there aren't really any moments the audience is left to figure out and discover for themselves, it's all laid out for you. What makes it worth it is the settings, the characters, the interactions along the way.

Following a flashback to Jyn's childhood, the film's action begins seemingly a few days before the plans for the Death Star are stolen and ends with them being delivered into the hands of a young CGI Princess Leia.

I need to get this out of the way now: CGI Leia and CGI Grand Moff Tarkin are terrifying - but that terror mixed with this strange feeling you *should* be happy to see them, like they just dug themselves out of Stephen King's Pet Semetary.

Leia in particular has a face that's unnervingly too narrow and her teeth look like those in a poorly-executed portrait tattoo. Based on the cheers from the crowd in my cinema I'm likely in the minority with this opinion, but I feel like it would have been fine if we didn't see her face at all. Just a removal of her iconic draped hood, for a glimpse of the iconic bun hair-do, perhaps?

The settings range from the typical sand planet to something we've not seen in a Star Wars film before - the tropics. You can play Scarif in the latest Battlefront DLC, by the way, and it is as gorgeous there as it is in the film.

Other than a singular cringe with a line from Darth Vader, Rogue One is pretty light on the cheese. K-2SO provides the most laughs - genuine, good, well-written and performed laughs - and probably represents the most likeable character in the entire film. The rest of the cast create a rag-tag ensemble off the save the world, I mean, steal the Death Star plans. As a female lead, Jyn is competent and self-reliant but also a little reserved. Her resilience is a quiet one.

She is repeatedly abandoned and rejected, and that's what she takes with her throughout her journey. Her relationship with the not-super-complex (unless I'm missing something) Cassian follows the tone of the film - a slow burn with a dramatic intensity at the end.

I think it's worth pointing out that despite having a female lead, Rogue One doesn't pass the Bechdel Test. The only conversations Jyn has with other women, are in relation to her father. To be fair, the entire plot is about her father, and this is a film with a singular story to tell.

It's a shame we couldn't learn more about the people that make up the heroes of it, but that's a part of it's charm. Rogue One is like a short story as opposed to a novel - we didn't need to build out the world or explain the back-stories for every character, so the focus could firmly be on the action.

From Jyn's childhood to the final battle, Rogue One is a gorgeous film, with a score that reflected the unique place this story sits in the franchise - drawing inspiration from the classics but allowing it to stand on its own.

Campbell Simpson, Editor

I really liked Rogue One. I think it was a good film, and equally importantly I think it was a good Star Wars film.

I'm a huge, long-time fan of the expanded Star Wars universe - I've read almost all of the EU books from the Rebellion era onwards, I've played a bunch of the games, and I'm slowly getting into the Marvel comics even now. (Yes, I know the EU is now called Star Wars Legends, whatever.) I like the Wraith and Rogue book series most of all, and it's those that have clearly directly inspired Rogue One. And I'm a happy guy because of it.

So, with Rogue One being the first film set outside of the episodic saga, I had big hopes for what it could be. I'm not interested in nit-picking its minor flaws and pointing out every retcon, though: I find no value in that. Instead, here are four things that I think Rogue One excelled at, and three things that could have changed to make it better.

The good:

Ties to the original trilogy. If you're a Star Wars geek, there are so many quiet references to the other films that it's nearly impossible to spot them all. Bail Prestor motherf**king Organa, people. Evazan and Ponda Baba on Jedha. All of the original Red Squadron - conveniently minus Red Five by the end, opening a spot up for Luke in ANH. Even "I've got a bad feeling about this..." was in there. It was fan service in the best possible way. Also, don't keep blue milk in your house. The Empire will come and burn it to the ground.

The final act of the film was the darkest and most realistic star war (sorry) that Star Wars has ever had. That's what the Rogue books do so well - the death toll is high when you're fighting overwhelming odds. The moment when the Rebel fleet drops out of hyperspace over Scarif? Awesome.

The moment when Vader's Star Destroyer drops in on top of them? Chilling. Everybody dies, which is convenient for the narrative, sure, but it's also what would probably actually happen if you dropped a couple of dozen guys into a jungle against an army.

K-2SO was the best droid that Star Wars movies have ever had. Sorry BB-8, sorry R2, but it's a fact. We've been waiting a long time to get another sassy droid in a Star Wars movie in the vein of HK-47 in Knights of the Old Republic. K-2SO was masterfully animated, and his moments of comic relief were classic Star Wars without being campy.

He also wasn't a convenient deus ex machina that fixed all the problems that popped up for the Rogues. I felt the biggest pang of pain when he died (every time, Alan Tudyk, honestly?), and I think that's because he was one of the most human characters on the screen.

The bad guys. Vader in his final scene is the absolute manifestation of evil and the dark side, and is the most utterly frightening that he's ever been in any Star Wars movie yet. If you get a chance, go read the Darth Vader series by Marvel, because it's the only place you see him work with such brute force and rage and dark energy.

Ben Mendelsohn was masterful as Krennic and injected some of that Tarkin vibe into someone who could have been a caricature. The overwhelming weight of the Empire was more obvious than it's been in any other film, too, and it felt very clear that the Rogues' mission and Admiral Raddus' fleet attack was a complete suicide mission.

The bad:

The music just isn't as good as other it is in other Star Wars films. I get that they didn't want to use the original saga's flourishes, but the music was close enough I was just waiting - impotently - for the actual Star Wars music to rise up over the top.

It was a good soundtrack, sure, but I think that if you've got the rights to use Star Wars music in a Star Wars film... just use it. This is the first Star Wars film without a John Williams score, and while Michael Giacchino has been the force behind some amazing theatrical soundtracks, I don't think Rogue One will be instantly memorable and replayable like other movies in the universe - even The Force Awakens - are.

The pacing of the film is a little bit weird, too. Maybe it's from the reshoots, maybe it's that some of the connecting material was left on the cutting room floor, but it's hard to connect the disjointed first third of the film with the final third. The introduction of each of the (many) hero characters was a little bit weird; we got more time spent on Jyn than anyone else, but I feel like she needed a bit more mystery in her story just like Cassian.

The final act of the film was brilliant, the first 40 minutes just felt like a necessary slog to set the scene. The second act ties everything together and starts the upward track to the finale.

The CGI faces. This is the most minor and nit-picky aspect in what I intended to be a not-at-all-picky review, but I didn't like the resurrected face of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin or the youthful face of Carrie Fisher as Leia. I think if they were both used more sparingly it could have been a nice addition to the movie and a good bit of fan service - as well as tying Rogue One even more to A New Hope.

But instead, lingering on Leia's definitely too smooth skin and Tarkin's too shiny face made everyone in the audience pause. I know because I noticed it in my first viewing and confirmed it in my second - it made everyone in the cinema quiet and maybe a bit uncomfortable.

Sure, I have some broader criticisms of the film. A little bit more exposition would have explained some parts - hey, Vader's castle is on Mustafar where he got all burnt and chopped up by Obi-Wan! Hey, Chirrut and Baze are part of the Order of the Whills, and that's an old-school reference to what George Lucas originally called the Force.

The first act was oddly paced - why did we switch planets for Jyn to get rescued? Why did Saw Gerrera just give up and accept his death? Why did all the Rogues accept their deaths so quietly? But these are all minor flaws and we don't care about minor flaws because guys, this is Star Wars.

I liked Rogue One the first time I watched it, I liked it more the second time I watched it, and I like it even more again with the benefit of some time and hindsight to think about what it did well and what it did poorly. I'll watch it again.

Amanda Yeo, Early Morning Editor

Rogue One was never going to live up to expectations. The original Star Wars trilogy has become so ingrained in the public consciousness and tinted by rosy nostalgia that no new film could ever hope to compare. And in many ways, Rogue One did not even seem to attempt to.

One of my first impressions was that it did not feel like a Star Wars film. Which I suppose makes sense – it is the first Star Wars film that is not a saga film, and nobody had yet seen a non-saga film. Rogue One was Disney’s foray into the same universe, but telling a different story (to an extent). If any Star Wars film up to this point was likely to break ranks, it would be Rogue One.

However, the deviation sometimes felt for the worse. The heavy use of CGI was one large contributor. The original series made great use of practical effects, and the inclusion of CGI later on is not typically remembered fondly. However, rather than err toward props and prosthetics, CGI was leaned upon in such a heavy manner that it inevitably collapsed under the weight.

In particular, whole characters were rendered in CGI. Even when they were not alongside human actors in frame, and it was impossible to ignore how unreal they appeared. Of course, special effects were used to great effect in creating the action sequences, however the shimmery planet shield and elastic faces of the Mon Calamari were more reminiscent of the prequel trilogy than the original.

Rogue One felt like a lesser film than the original trilogy, or even The Force Awakens. There were moments in the film where it seemed like they were going for that classic Star Wars humour that The Force Awakens replicated, but they never quite nail it. Moments where we were clearly meant to laugh, but that didn’t quite make the transition from “mildly amusing” to “funny”.

The closest the film came was in a moment where some characters put a bag over Chirrut Îmwe’s head (Donnie Yen), and he responds, “Are you kidding me? I’m blind!”

In fact, I found the duo of Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) the two most charming and engaging characters in the film. Their genuinely caring relationship, and the way in which they ragged upon each other as friends do, quickly endeared them. They provided a welcome reprieve from the guarded Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and sneaky Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). It also didn’t hurt that they kicked the most butt out of everyone.

The audience was clearly meant to become attached to K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), but he wasn’t nearly as funny or endearing as he was intended to be. And the fact that he was a captured and reprogrammed Imperial droid raised some uncomfortable ethical questions regarding droid sentience.

If he is a sentient intelligence, then the Rebels have effectively brainwashed him, which in my mind could be considered torture. If he isn’t, then why should we care about him any more than we would care about a computer?

The characters seem less “people” and more “pawns to set the stage for A New Hope”, and they never achieved any personal victories. Jyn finds her father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), only to watch him die within minutes. I was going to list some other examples here, but I honestly can’t think of any other characters who even got the opportunity for a personal victory.

Everyone throws themselves at the achievement of a greater good, but rather than noble it feels as though they just don’t have anything else going on.

In this way, Rogue One felt simultaneously accurate and inaccurate in its depiction of war. I appreciated the way in which everyone worked together toward a common goal – Jyn didn’t charge through and blow the enemies away like the Master Chief. Rebels, both named protagonists and unnamed soldiers, visibly cooperated to achieve their shared goal and relied upon each other to get the job done. Also, everyone and anyone can die - as in real war, there’s no plot armour.

However, every single one of the main characters sees death coming and does nothing to avoid it. Even in situations where they could conceivably survive, they seem to decide they are done with this life and don’t even attempt to save themselves. The result is that they don't feel real or human. And by the third time a character is facing their death with peaceful resignation, confident that they have done their part in advancing the Rebel’s cause, it loses its impact.

If they don’t care about their own lives, why should we? Further, we know the end result due to the fact that this film is a prequel. So if we know the end result and we don’t care about the fate of the characters, why are we watching this film?

We’re watching this film for the nostalgia and the action. The former is easily delivered – the mere fact that it is a Star Wars film, complete with X-Wings, Death Stars and lightsabers, satisfies this requirement. Though I found the appearance of Darth Vader lacklustre (did he always look that silly?) and the CGI on Princess Leia slightly off, all they really had to do was turn up.

And the action is enjoyable enough. The space battles are more complex when compared to the original trilogy due to the advent of CGI – one of the places in which its use in the film that is not strange. The action isn’t mind-blowing, but not bad. A sentiment that sums up the entire film.

Hayley Williams, Social Media Editor

In theory I liked Rogue One. In practice? I definitely wouldn’t rush to see it again. There were a lot of things I liked about this movie, but there were also a lot of things I disliked – which really impacted the overall… well, impact of the film. Let’s start with my big problems with the film.

The first was the characters. Not all of them, mind you, but two in particular: Jyn and Cassian. As the leading man and lady, a lot of the film rested on their shoulders, but I found them both weirdly undefined and singularly uninteresting. Jyn kind of flips between hardened criminal, former child soldier and Rebel leader without any of those roles ever being defined or explained. Even her scenes with her father seem to fall flat on the emotion they’re obviously intended to conjure.

She’s constantly being dragged into the action by some character or another, but we never really get any insight into what her motivation is or how it’s changing. Jyn could have been replaced by a cardboard cut-out pre-loaded with a variety of motivational speeches with very little detriment to the overall plot.

Cassian is a little less all over the place, but he also doesn’t have much going for him. He’s a Rebel. He’s got a job to do. He’ll do what he has to to get the job done. That’s about all I got from him.

The other characters mostly make up for Jyn and Cassian’s inadequacies, but when the film’s denouement (and most of its emotional moments) relies on you having some kind of connection to these characters, it really becomes a problem.

My second big problem with the film is that it seemed like two different films mashed together. As with The Force Awakens, the beginning was my favourite part. It was interesting, emotional, and all about the characters. It started setting up this intensely personal story about a band of misfits going on a mission no one else could possibly do. It had a fair number of faults, but it was the type of movie the Star Wars franchise needed.

…And then it turned into every other Star Wars movie. Perhaps to get my opinion on the second half of the movie, you have to understand that I’m a Star Wars fan who’s binged all of Clone Wars and Rebels. I love the TV shows, but Clone Wars in particular has an abundance of space battles that are some variation on the one we saw in Rogue One. While I didn’t like The Force Awakens as much as most people, its battles and trench runs still gave me a little thrill of excitement that was missing in Rogue One’s.

Even on the ground, we seemed to see more of the expendable Rebel soldiers’ story than we did the people whose stories we had been following for the entire movie. I feel like they really missed an opportunity to flesh out the major characters who were painfully lacking, as mentioned above.

I found it so disappointing that Rogue One started with such a personal story, but then couldn’t resist the urge to turn it into an epic.

As for the things I liked: the other characters. Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Îmwe and Jiang Wen’s Baze Malbus were an amazing pair, the kind of characters that you really want to root for. They had their quirks, their skills and a compelling relationship that hints at a rich history. I also enjoyed Bodhi, the former Imperial pilot, who somehow managed to turn from a plot device into an interesting character with an arc all of his own. More than anything, they really hit the mark with Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO – probably the most likeable and interesting humanoid droid in the entire Star Wars canon right now.

I also really enjoyed Ben Mendelsohn’s Orson Krennic – who, as a villain, definitely outshone the super dodgy CGI Tarkin (ugh) and even Vader’s somewhat unnecessary cameos.

Some of the best scenes in the film were the simplest ones – the opening scene with young Jyn was by far a standout, before the movie started jumping all over the place in an effort to unevenly introduce us to various parts of the cast. Rogue One shone best when it wasn’t trying to tell ten stories at once – the moments where the entire cast of main characters was in one place, for example, conspiring to infiltrate Scarif. I also really enjoyed getting a peek behind-the-scenes at the state of the Rebellion when the Death Star was first discovered.

The movie was chock full of little references and nods to other Star Wars movies and even the TV shows, but the little “I know what that is” moment of warmth from nostalgic moments leaves you feeling a little cold when you realise that’s all there is. The one part of the movie that genuinely made me smile (I know that sounds harsh, but I was damn tired) was a simple moment of banter between two Stormtroopers on Scarif. With a lot of the dialogue feeling overly forced, it was a couple of nameless grunts complaining about their job that resonated most with me.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad film, but it wasn’t particularly a standout, either. Its biggest moments fell flat, and attempts at emotional scenes felt forced. It’s the kind of safely profitable, mediocre movie that you would expect from Disney’s Star Wars empire.

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo


Comments

    Sick of hearing Tarkin and Leia look terrible, if I didn't know they were CGI I doubt I would even have noticed. The only reason you know something is up is because your mind knows it can't be the real actors (one is dead, other is 40 years older.).

      Really? I thought it was painfully obvious.

      I give them props for the effort though.

      I didn't think Leia was on screen long enough to look overly bad, but every time Tarkin appeared my mind went "hey, there's a computer game character in this movie". Maybe it's having played a 1,000+ video games over the last 30+ years, or those dead eyes. Whatever it was, I found it extremely unconvincing. A great visual effect nonetheless, maybe even one of the best we've seen, but I still felt it an obvious one.

      I felt that Tarkin had a pretty good presence.

      I didn't know they were CGI until I saw them in motion, at which point it was immediately obvious. It didn't even occur to me that Cushing was dead - first I heard of it was all the comments saying "you only know its CGI because he's dead," to which my reaction was "Wait, he's dead? Oh, it's been that long? I guess he must be, then." It just never actually occurred to me, as I was talking about the CGI on a purely technical level. I've been watching CGI movies and playing games with increasingly impressive cutscenes for a long time, and I can see the indicators - over-animated expressions, exaggerated motion, slightly inconsistent lighting, oddly-luminescent skin, etc. I personally think a recast would have been less jarring, but the one of the people I saw it with didn't even notice it was CGI, so maybe it's not as obvious for everyone.

      I mean, kudos to them - because (a) the balls it takes to have a key character with significant screen presence be CGI is insane, and (b) it was, on a technical level, still extremely impressively well done. I especially loved how they got around the "dead eye" look by using real actors as a base for the CGI... but that doesn't mean it wasn't jarring seeing an obviously CGI character person mingling with real people. Doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the movie - I very much did - just that it was a little distracting at times.

      Just wanted to say I totally agree with you. I honestly had no idea Tarkin was CGI, and even leaned over to my brother to say how extremely well cast he was. I was taken aback by its brilliance. Now if ya'll wanna see actually bad CGI, take a look at Attack of the Clones. That film's special effects are abysmal.

      I could tell he was CGI instantly - but I've seen enough movies that it's almost a bad habit of mine to pick out flaws in special effects so I knew what to look for. I asked my partner after the movie and she didn't even realise he was CGI so I guess it's down to the person.

      I knew he was CGI, but that's the thing I literally knew that they used a special effect to bring the character back. I know it's a magic trick and I know how it's done so even if I don't see the slight of hand I still think I see it in every gesture. I'm sure there are body double scenes where I was like 'oh, that's so fake, no human walks like that' even though there was no CGI.
      I actually wish they had of lied about Mon Mothma and said they were using CGI instead of a lookalike just so they could reveal it afterwards and I could confirm that the 'obvious CGI' is mostly in my head.

    I didn't have a problem with Leia but Tarkin was too obviously CG for me to let it slide. The animation is good but still not quite there.

    This movie was weird to me. On one hand, it felt like Episode 7 all over again in the first 2 acts, but with a fan film feel to it. Then everything picked up in the third act with the big battle and I was back in Star Wars territory.

    Like the Clone Wars movie, I know it's a part of the overall mythos, but I'm in no rush to add it or Rogue One to my Star Wars Bluray collection.

      You should totally add the Clone Wars TV series to your blu-ray collection though. The film (a glorified pilot) was okay, and served only to introduce Ahsoka. But seasons 3-6 inclusive were stellar.

    The only conversations Jyn has with other women, are in relation to her father.

    Anyone who actually applies useage of the (incredibly flawed fyi) Bechdel test at an academic level, will tell you that the test is extremely flawed and this is a classic example of why. The Bechdel test itself doesn’t take into account character complexity or conversation depth. This is itself an excellent example. Galen is spoken about in a parental manner and in a professional manner, never in a sexual connotation or a needed tone. Jyn has survived and will survive on without her father, she does not *need* him, it would be nice for her to have her last remaining family member back. If it were her mother in Galens position, the conversation would be the *exact same* as the gender does not influence the situation in this part. The Bechdel test does not take this into account unfortunately and says "If two women talk about a guy, well shit that's bad..." it fails to take into account the context, the scope and the reason, hence it's incredibly flawed and essentially, useless.

    Now ask, was Jyn built up as independent? Yes. Did she rely on Cassian? No. Did they pair her and Cassian up at the end? No. There was a 'look' but that was more despair as they knew what was going to happen, they knew the futility, they knew it was done. In this term, they built an excellent female character, an excellent male character and resisted pairing them. More success there, than the flawed use of the Bechdel test.

    Also: Putting this in spoiler tags:

    but I honestly can’t think of any other characters who even got the opportunity for a personal victory.

    Move beyond Jyn and look at Cassian (my favorite in the movie), and you see a character who has done some dark, dirty, horrific deeds for the Rebellion. The Rebellion is not painted positively in this movie. It is, for all intents and purposes, a terrorist organisation, but one fighting a noble purpose. Cassian has killed people, murdered them (we see him do it), assassinated people, it weighs on him heavily.

    Through the movie, instead of working alone or with K2S0 as he normally does, we see Cassian slowly bonding with people, getting to know them, forming ties. He slowly empathises again, understanding the limitations of his own abilities and the far reaching implications of his actions. He sees this no clearer than his opportunity to assassinate Galen, who he believes to be a heartless bastard. When Galen defends his coworkers, willing to sacrifice himself for them, he opts not to kill him but to participate in his (futile) rescue.

    We see him slowly shifting in tone, talking more positively to the characters, sure he doesn't have a person to rescue, his person is truly himself that needs rescuiing. Sounds a bit silly, but it's true. He was possibly the most complex character in the whole movie when you break him down. While some write him off as a Han Solo clone, Han was comfortable with who he was, ultimately a good guy, Cassian was the guy who would stab Han in his throat, skin Chewie if it meant helping the Rebellion and feel horrible for it later. When you see him bring the troops together, all broken, downtrodden men who have been used and abused by the Rebellion to their own end, you understand the human face and cost of this movement.

    By the end, he's redeemed, he's become the hero he wants to be, wished he always was, rather than the rogue, murderous scum the Rebellion needed him to be. He's helped save the Rebellion, he's helped put the Universe in a better position to fight off the Empire and when he dies, he dies knowing that he finally made a change on his own terms, rather than the dirty, underhanded terms he had to before.

    Last edited 21/12/16 2:38 pm

      While it was a single line in the review it is an interesting point. It all depends on what you see the purpose of the bechdel test is. Part of the reason it exists is to see if the world the movie lives in actually has women in it.
      Jyn is a strong independent woman and should be appreciated as such, but the test is for more than that. Do women exist in the world as people or scenery. you could potentially say that the council see with Jyn talking/directing comments to Mon Mothma could pass the test.
      Not all movies need to pass the test but if you have a story where 50% of the population is female you would expect that there is at least some discussion between 2 women in a 2 hour film. That is where I see the test as being the most useful. Not having a single point of 'diversity' in the film but whether women are portrayed as being around.

        Absolutely and I agree. However as stated, one of the greatest issues here is context. The fact that Galen is presented in a non sexual, non domineering, non intrusive manner, he's actually presented in the 'princess' role if anything, switches the situation around. Rogue One, unlike TFA, strives to not throw 'diversity' on screen in a shallow way, without trying to purposely sound ignorant, while I love TFA, at times it's a little on the nose. Rogue One never felt that way to me, it felt authentic in its characters and representations. Rey felt a little 'delicate' for her circumstances, as did Finn, but Jyn and Cassian, even the TIE pilot and Chirrut, everyone down to their core felt truly authentic.

    @hayleywilliams it just sounds like you were bloody tired :P Maybe if you watch it after a nice break it will be a bit different?

    Also I find it funny that you're sick of space battles from watching too much rebels and clone wars. Meanwhile I'd been starved of that as I haven't touched either series yet, and relished Gold and Red leaders fighting above the gate and leading their squadrons to victory.

    ARGH Sign me up, I want to go watch it again!

    Last edited 21/12/16 3:14 pm

      Seeing Gold and Red Leader again was such a treat :)

      I was so tired holy shit. But yeah I am definitely planning on going and seeing it again (if only to spot all the Rebels easter eggs), but I feel like I'm just less interested in space battles in general. I feel like there's only so many ways they can go and they end up being fairly predictable. Give me more of the characters on the ground, man!

        Maybe it's because I've been playing X-wing the miniatures game so much that the space battles are really doing it for me.

        On a side note, can you recommend Clone Wars and Rebels?

          I'm trying so hard not to lose myself to X-wing, not gonna lie. I don't even know how the game system works, I just can't keep myself away from shiny shiny ships.

          I really enjoy both Clone Wars and Rebels, but they can be difficult to get into. The first seasons of both are the weakest, which makes it hard. But really, Clone Wars is what the Prequels should have been, and Rebels is like an enjoyable mix of Luke's story and Rogue One. They're also both canon so if you're interested in getting the continuity of the whole saga it's well worth a watch.

          I actually put together a Clone Wars viewing guide for people who wanted to get into the series, but didn't want to sit through the boring senate episodes and Jar Jar filler:
          http://www.kotaku.com.au/2016/05/the-essential-clone-wars-episodes-every-star-wars-fan-should-watch/

            Goodo, will give that a whirl!

            As for the x-wing game... it's pretty damn fun imo. The games are engaging, relatively quick, and the movement/manoeuvre mechanic is good fun in that you work out each ships move in secret from your opponent and reveal them in sequence which leads to some great dog-fighting and ships weaving in and out of asteroids etc. Also the ships are pretty spiffy :P

              And then once you've finished Rebels, you can reward yourself with the Ghost expansion for X-Wing ;)

            The rules for X-Wing are on the Fantasy Flight Games website if you don't have the core set. You'll have to borrow the templates and asteroids from your opponent but it's sort of designed with shared token/dice/template pools in mind so that's not a problem.

            The game is pretty easy in theory. Everyone chooses a move for each of their ships on the little dials and puts them face down. Go through all the ships from lowest pilot skill to highest flipping their dials over and moving them using the template for the move on the dial. Once they've all moved go from highest pilot skill to lowest attacking based on range and firing arc.
            Once you're done go back to the planning stage and repeat until one side wins by either destroying all enemy ships or meeting the mission's win parameters (most people just dog fight instead of using the missions).

            It's a bit more complicated than that with various Actions, secondary weapons, stress tokens, Focus results and target locks but not much. It's mostly about predicting your opponents moves while executing a strategy based on your upgrade cards and ships. As a new player you'll lose a heap before you get the hang of everything but even then it's still pretty fun.

            The really nice thing about X-Wing is that very it's easy to get a game. The small table size and popularity means that most shops that will let you play a game of Magic will let you play X-Wing or even have their own X-Wing night.
            It's also really easy to run a game with a beginner even if you don't know the rules flawlessly yourself. I highly recommend buying the core set, reading the rules, bringing it into the office and roping someone into playing against you. It'll take about 10-20 minutes to run with just the two TIE Fighters vs the X-Wing but you'll have a good time.
            If you really want to have fun try a four ship free for all. Four players build 36 point small ships and randomly get assigned a corner of the table to deploy in. From there either see who survives longest or who gets the most killing blows. Tons of fun especially with new players who don't quite know what they're doing. Take some pictures for a Kotaku AU X-Wing Free For All Battle Report.

            All that said if you want to just collect the ships and I'll get rid of all those nasty worthless upgrade cards for you. =P

        But it's not called "Ground Wars", it's called "Star Wars". It's about a war in space... kinda.

        Thats my primary motivation to seeing it a second time, to watch for the Rebels cameos, especially during the final battle. Since it would be really depressing to have Chopper and Hera survive the Rebels series just to get written off in a cameo in a different movie. On the first watching, I only caught the announcements for Syndulla when they were leaving Yavin 4, but it took until the credits for it to click on whose name it could be. Until then it was just gnawing at me in a 'I know that name, its an important one!' way. So going again with my nephews, and while they see it for the first time I'll be on a Ghost and Chop spotting expedition.

        I find the headline of the article amusing about it being a 'safe' Disney movie, considering so many people seem surprised that Disney actually gave them the go ahead to Kill-em-all without giving them an out.

        For Amanda's comment on everyone seeing and accepting their death and coming to terms with it, that would only really be Jyn and Cassian, since death by explosion (the leading cause of death in Rogue One characters) didn't really give much of an out, particularly to the character who had enough time to go 'oh crap' at the grenade tossed into his enclosed space. And what could Jyn and Cassian do? Try and outrun the shock blast from a planet killer? They'd seen what it could do and barely escaped it the first time.

        Donny Yen's character certainly didn't see it coming. XD

        I found Tarkin's CG to be fine, Leia's had a bit too much of a glow to her, but that could be something improved on for a tweaked Blu Ray release. Certainly there was no 'uncomfortable silence' or criticisms during my screening. Neither were wholly CG creations unlike the very prequel-style Mon Calamari (which I agree with the criticisms of) since they went with actual actors and did cut and pasty face things. (Token Buffy speak)

        About the only thing that I didn't like about it was Vader's cameo. Not because of the punny line, since unlike many I can appreciate a terrible pun, but the suit just looked terrible, particularly around the neck area. I didn't remember it bulging out that way but I just couldn't look away from it when he was on screen. His 'swagger' when he was walking around his castle also felt off, too natural and uninhindered, and not with his previous stiff mannerisms which I would have put down to him being a cyborg quadriplegic.

    And the fact that he was a captured and reprogrammed Imperial droid raised some uncomfortable ethical questions regarding droid sentience./q>

    Bahaha really?

    No really?

    Seriously Gizmodo/Kotaku, the film was fantastic. Just suspend disbelief and stop looking for things that aren't there.

    Droid sentience and Bechdel test?? Cut it out.

      Isn't it great that everyone has such different and unique viewpoints?

      It's okay: you're allowed to like a movie that other people are criticising, and vice versa. We're not telling you you can't enjoy it.

      Suspension of disbelief is the task of the scriptwriter and director. If the audience has to put a lot of effort into achieving it, then the movie has failed.

    i really dont understand the Bechdel Test reference here. I understand what it is but the fact in of itself can sometimes be meaningless. Just because a movie that doesnt pass doesnt immediately make something bad, just not ideal. However in this reference, its even less than that, when as you so rightly state directly after yes two woman talk but they do talk about a man. Instead it should be just two characters who both just happen to be woman talking about a third person who just happens to be male and central to the whole entire plot. Common sense has to prevail.

    I understand how the test can be useful and sometimes an interesting tool but sometimes applying is like shoehorning in an outside political agenda that doesnt belong in the film. The characters were true to themselves in the context (one a long established character, acting exactly how she should be and the other a new one also doing the same.

    I dont see the problem with the CGI people especially Leia she was only there for the briefest of moments, I was too busy cheering to care what her teeth looked like. That said I think they should have just went with a complete recasting like with Mon, instead of CGI. the only thing I found jarring was the mix of recasting and cgi.

    Pretty hard to impress some people....

    For me, the CGI just wasn't good enough. It think it had more effort than TFA, but none of the effects looked as real as anything by Lucas.
    Also, like TFA but not as bad, Rogue One was anti-Star Wars in its choice of weak and safe rehash of things that are popular rather than risky use of new things from someone's rich imagination. These two new Star Wars may as well not even be Star Wars movies at all.
    However, while I thought TFA was quite poor, I though Rogue One was still decent despite it's problems, and for me almost as good as the prequels. For many, the problems in this are not as bad as the problems in the prequels and the good bits in this better, and I feel that as a whole this will be many people's 4th favourite Star Wars movie after the OT.

    Something that I thought was quite good - the Rebels have actually done terrorist acts. They are still the good guys, but they are a bit more realistic than what you usually get from rebel groups.
    Something I thought was bad - the rebel council bickering for no reason, when at least Episode 1 had a very good reason for Galactic council bickering - Palpatine was a master manipulator, creating a war where he controls both sides to manouver himself to the position of supreme ruler of the galaxy. This council bickering was a pointless use of a well worn cliche, something that Star Wars isn't supposed to do.

    Last edited 22/12/16 9:17 pm

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