Second Trailer For Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Shows Promise

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Finally got around to watching the new trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and let me say I was quite impressed!

Backing up here, I have to admit I wasn’t enthusiastic about the film when I heard about it. OK, a spinoff Star Wars film, sounds good on paper but it reeked of Disney milking the Star Wars cash cow. Not that I blame them they spent a few billion to get the property so they want their money’s worth. But after seeing Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens I wasn’t thrilled about new Star Wars films.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story rebels

The only thing going for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was that it was a prequel that didn’t have to do with the main characters. No Skywalkers, no cute droids or Jedi. Then again Gareth Edwards is directing this, the guy who made a Godzilla movie dull. OK that last taunt there is an exaggeration, but Godzilla was kind of disappointing and went downhill after Bryan Cranston’s character was killed off.

Getting back to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I was neutral about the first spinoff film. Not even the teaser did anything to change my mind. Then I saw the new trailer today, and boy have my eyes been opened.

What is so great about this trailer is that it emphasizes the war aspect of Star Wars. It looks gritty and grounded while taking place in the beloved Star Wars universe. The characters look badass, especially the older blind man who seems to be Force adept. And they seem interesting, one of them, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), is a cool Easter egg for fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars since it proves once and for all that the animated series is canon. Now if only that grand admiral shown had blue skin. LOL But he still looks like someone not to mess with.

JynnWhat else? The ships, the fighting, the desperation, it feels so great watching all the classic ships and hardware being used in Star Wars again, plus some new stuff (hear that Force Awakens? It’s OK to use different hardware and ships) that fits well in this universe. But one thing that stands out is that for the first time since the original Star Wars, we witness the harsh, despotic nature of the Galactic Empire. The Empire looks imposing, threatening, not at all like the cardboard cut outs who can’t shoot straight. As far as this film is concerned, the Galactic Empire is at its height of power and dominion. Also, apart from the Darth Vader teaser at the end, this trailer shows that it is a true spinoff that does not rely on the usual characters or recycles stories.

So, now I’m hyped up for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is terrific because so many films this year have been disappointing. If this film delivers, hopefully the other Star Wars spinoffs will be of the same caliber.

T. Rod Jones

 

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Some More Thoughts On Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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*NOTE: The following will contain spoilers about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet, should stop reading from this point on.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has just become the biggest selling domestic movie of all time. The hype machine about the film isn’t letting up and probably won’t for some time. A lot of fans are drooling about the film like it’s the greatest thing ever made, George Lucas be damned. Others are not so enthusiastic and have a wide range of opinions about Star Wars: The Force Awakens and its lasting impact on the franchise. So here are some of my thoughts on the seventh Star Wars film.

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As a sci-fi adventure, it does the job and is a good movie. I can enjoy Star Wars: The Force Awakens for what it is. A return to the style of the original films with updated special effects. However, it suffers from being too derivative of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It also suffers from a lack of imagination from director and co-screenwriter JJ Abrams with not only the recycled plot, but also the new tie fighterlook of the film. There are not any really amazing new designs of starships and aliens that were a staple of each new Star Wars film. Basically you see repainted X-wing and TIE fighters. Now, the special effects and camera work of the dogfights are quite good and is a definite positive for the film. It’s always nice to see the Millennium Falcon soaring through space again. It would just have been better to see maybe a new Letter fighter (such as a T-wing) and truly bizarre aliens and planets. Perhaps Episode VIII will rectify this.

wimpy ren

Another issue is the portrayal of new Sith villain Kylo-Ren (Adam Driver). His temper tantrums and such are not really good at showing him as a source of menace for the heroes of the film. The exceptions are his actions at the start of the film where he murders Lor San Tekka (Max Von Sydow) and has his troops massacre an entire village and his brutal execution of his father Han Solo (Harrison Ford). The scene where this occurs had me on the edge of my seat and is an emotional highlight of the movie. But right after this happens, Kylo is shown beating his chest like a gorilla as he fights and loses against Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is a novice at using the Force. His screaming fits when he receives bad news from subordinates is more a source of humor rather than fear. One wonders why Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) went into hiding when, as a Jedi master, he should have had no problem against Ren.

captain phasmaCaptain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) was another villain that was somewhat misused. She is the commander of the First Order’s stormtroopers and was described as being somewhat like Boba Fett. But in the movie she is captured by Han, Chewie (Peter Mayhew) and Finn (John Boyega) and forced to lower the shields of the Starkiller Base and is then thrown in the garbage compactor. Not exactly a great way to start her off. Again, I think the next film should fix this by showing her to be as a dangerous foe and top level leader out to destroy the Resistance.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm 2015

Basically, I see Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a somewhat missed opportunity. The basic story is an interesting take on what happens after the fall of the Galactic Empire, and I do like the way the First Order is portrayed with their Nazi-like rallies and efforts to destroy entire star systems, thereby showing them to be a big threat to the New Republic. han and reyIt’s just that J.J Abrams and Disney were so keen to play it safe that it detracts from the final product. Hopefully the next film will be willing to take at least a few more chances and truly take the franchise to new and interesting places. This is what I think creator George Lucas was trying to do with the prequels and while the results were mixed, I can appreciate his vision for his universe and his ability to world build. The emphasis on practical effects and a simplified story are somewhat understandable given the backlash against the prequels, but they should be able to do this and still expand the Star Wars universe and really push the boundaries of the genre. This is just what the original trilogy did and is a reason why it is so revered to this day.

C.S. Link