As much as I’ve been absent, I feel that some things are worth returning for. Upon seeing the latest film in the Star Wars franchise, I knew I had to throw my thoughts out there. I must warn you now, THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. If you don’t want anything spoiled, stop reading when I say to. That being said, I’ll give my base thoughts first, and my nitpicking second.
OK, I’ll start with the basics. This movie is a direct, and chronologically very close, prequel to A New Hope. The plot revolves around how the rebels obtained the death star plans that played such a key role in Episode IV. The script, I thought, was pretty excellent. There was a lot of great dialogue, the scenes flowed well, and the overall plot was pretty solid and interesting. The acting was awesome too, though I’d have liked a little more development for some characters, but I don’t feel any performances or characters were lacking. I just feel like I’d have liked to see more from some of them. The special effects, specifically the CGI, was some truly top notch shit. I loved that much of the tech in the film was very much like that seen in Episode IV. They didn’t fancy it up and make it look too advanced, it all felt right at home.
Overall, I absolutely loved this movie. It was exciting, thrilling, beautiful, and moving. I’m not gonna lie, I got choked up a few times. This really gave the early rebellion some great depth and showed it in a far more realistic light than the other films did. I can’t wait to watch this over and over again.
SPOILER ALERT!!!! STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE!!!-
Are they gone? Sweet! Now, let’s dig in. First and foremost, I’m gonna nitpick some minor things that bugged me after seeing it.
The first was the cameo from threepio and artoo. In ANH (A New Hope), threepio said his last master was captain Antilles, who is in red squadron and part of the space battle at the end of the film. If he was their master at that time, why was artoo not in his x-wing during the battle? When pilots fly for a time with an astromech droid, they work better and better with them. Why would he give that up for another unit?
Second, at the end of the film we see that the plans were manually handed off to those on Leia’s ship, and they blast their way outta there. Vader is present, and seemed aware that they were handing off the plans. Two parts of this bug me. Why didn’t he use the force to take the plans? He saw what was happening, and was handily dispatching the guys fighting him (in what was likely my favorite scene in the whole fucking film!!!), so why let it go? Also, seeing that the plans were handed off, why would he suggest that the transmissions were beamed to the blockade runner in ANH? He’d know from the analysis of the capital ship captured at the end of Rogue One that the transmission was beamed to THAT ship, and not re-transmitted. It doesn’t track. I do like that they showed it was handed off manually, which would explain why the imperials said that no transmissions were made when they captured the blockade runner in ANH. I always assumed they had somehow scrubbed the logs, but this seems more plausible. Granted, it’s never revealed in ANH how Vader knows the transmissions were beamed to that ship, so I guess they wanted to somehow tie it in, but I think it’s a bit of a plot hole.
Lastly, the new stuff. The U-Wing was featured pretty prominently in this film, but isn’t seen in any others. Also, the black stormtroopers are seen in this film, and not in any others. Seems odd that both of these fell off the map during the subsequent films. I know they have to add in new shit to sell toys, but come on, at least make it more canon. Also, the imperial shuttle was more like Kylo Ren’s ship than the standard Lamda class shuttle used in the other films. It doesn’t fit chronologically.
OK, nitpicking aside, HOLY FUCK THAT VADER FIGHT SCENE!!! I mean, seriously, that was some badass shit, and the only time Vader actually fights anyone aside from a lightsaber duel in any of the films. It really showed how truly powerful and badass he was. Loved it!
The new droid, K-2SO, was great! He had some great lines in the film, and Alan’s delivery was spot on! The wee beast cried like anything when he died.
Now, onto what was a hot topic for the last film, the nods and tie-ins to other films. In this film, I thought the cameos were great! They weren’t overdone or cheesy, they all had relevance. Even the stormtroopers talking about the new T-15’s was a nice touch, as other troopers were heard talking about the new T-16’s in ANH when Obi-Wan was disabling the tractor beam. This film didn’t really follow the same formula as the others, at least not in the way Episode VII did, which I thought was awesome.
The plot was, in my opinion, well done. Granted, we all knew the fate of pretty much all involved, but that didn’t lessen the impact of character deaths for me. I gave enough of a shit about them to still be sad when they bit it, especially Donnie Yen’s character and his companion. I think it was great that the flaw in the death star was intentional, and put there to give the rebellion a fighting chance. The acting really brought that to life as well, and all the acting was spot on. I did feel one bit was off, when Jin was watching the hologram of her dad telling her about the flaw. She just starts crying and losing it while he’s talking, but his words aren’t really all that laced with emotional impact. It just seemed a little incongruous at the time.
Probably the best part of the script, for me, is how it paints the rebellion’s early years. It shows them as they would have been: militant. They performed raids, assassinated people, and were much more shady than the altruistic club depicted in the original trilogy. I’m glad it was shown to be an imperfect and sometimes divided group, struggling to find common ground with each other and agree on a direction to follow. It really shined in that.
Now, the CGI I spoke about before. Tarkin looked pretty fucking amazing! Granted, he did look CGI to me, especially with his mouth movement and his skin texture, but it was REALLY close. Had I not known he was CGI, I may not have noticed. Same with Leia. Seeing her back at the end got me emotional to begin with, but when they showed her face and it looked just like ANH Leia, and she spoke, I got all choked up. I couldn’t even talk to anyone for a few minutes after because I was emotional over it. Granted, I get like that often enough, but this was freaking Star Wars!
I’ve loved this franchise since I was little, even when most people had pretty much forgotten about it, I was still watching the movies weekly. Granted I hated the prequels, but to me that was more fanfic than true SW. So much was wrong with it, like the advanced tech, the Woo Ping gymnastic sword battles, the atrocious acting and script, etc., that I had difficulty getting through it even with Rifftrax. Episode VII brought it back to life, and I thought it was up there with Jedi in terms of greatness. I’d say, in my opinion, this film surpasses it. I wouldn’t say it rivals ANH, though, as that had deeper banter and characters, and a more sweeping story. Still, this movie is not to be missed if you have any love for Star Wars. It was fantastic, and a truly great ride. Don’t take my nitpicking as any sign of disappointment, either. I could nitpick the fuck out of the original trilogy, and they’re some of my favorite movies of all time. Apparently people agree with me, too, since it made $71 Million in the opening weekend. I’m very happy to have been a part of it! So encourage others to see it, and go see it again. And, as always, may the force be with you!