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Out Of Mind » MEMBER ADVERTISING & BLOG FORUMS » T.S. "Tray" Caladan » Rogue One Review by TS Caladan

Rogue One Review by TS Caladan

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1 Rogue One Review by TS Caladan on Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:35 am

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Rogue One Review

by TS Caladan



I should preface this review of ‘Rogue One,’ not the next Star Wars film but one within the same universe, by saying…

          SPOILER ALERT! The whole story will be laid out. The last part called “The Propaganda of Star Wars” will really spoil diehard fans of the film series. Sorry. Don’t read it.
          Truth is: I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was a better film than “The Force Awakens,” in my estimation, as far as concept, direction and execution of the story. There were many familiar elements in “Rogue,” but not as many exact representations that we saw in SW7. (We didn’t want to see the original film done precisely, only bigger). Rogue One answered a very important question or mystery in the beginning of Star Wars and will be discussed later.
          What is the overall story of Rogue? Remember near the beginning of Episode 4, Princess Leia bent over and placed plans for the Death Star in R2D2? Well. Subtitled “A Star Wars Story,” Rogue illustrates for us fans exactly how Leia got those important plans which felled an empire.
          A story similar to Rey’s story in #7 is portrayed and well-acted by Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. (We quickly viewed Rey’s flashback as a young child in #7). Rogue begins [no ‘crawl’] with earlier times when Jyn was a young girl. Her family appears to be in hiding from the Empire. Her father, Galen Erso, has produced technology that is made into weaponry. He will be known as the “creator of the Death Star.” (Both Rey and Jyn have British accents).
          Bad guy with a white cape, Krennic, marches his Imperial troops to the family’s dwelling.
          Alarms go off! “He’s come for us.” Mother and daughter hide while Galen confronts the men. Other statements like: “Trust the Force” are said.
          Krennic questions the father, “Farming? For a man of your talents?” Man in a cape says, “We want the work you stole.” The high Imperial official tempts Galen that his whole family will be safe, live in comfort and be heroes of the Empire.
          He refuses and says, “You’re confusing peace with terror.”
          His wife is shot dead.
          Small Jyn witnesses it. This is where she is separated from her father.
          Galen is taken by Imperial troops.
          Jyn is rescued by alien Saw Gerrera (Forrest Whitaker). 
 

          Next scene has Captain Cassian Andor with a ‘friend’ or spy for the Empire who first describes the dark side’s “Planet-Killer.” [Strange that the term connects with the far future’s Planet-Killer of Episode 7 when the Death Star is first mentioned]. He relays info from a defected imperial pilot to Captain Andor. Andor kills the man and shows his ruthless side, that he would do what he has to do and be an assassin for the Rebel Alliance.
          On the planet Wobani, a grown Jyn is rescued. There is a small battle with dirty tank vehicles and trucks with wheels. Where are the hovercrafts?
          She’s taken to Yavin 4, a jungle planet with the primary Rebel base. It has pyramids like Central American pyramids only way too pointy, not the same proportions. The Alliance treats Jyn like a criminal for passed misdeeds. They know who her father is and his importance to the Empire. They give her a chance to redeem herself and her father, by searching for him and bringing him before the Senate for testimony.
          Jyn says of her father: “I like to think he’s dead.”
          She meets Saw Gerrera, the one who saved her as a child. It was his men that rescued her. Saw is a major player for the Rebel Alliance and not the unscrupulous person of his reputation. He tells Jyn of her father’s connection to the super weapon. Such an awesome device if operational could crush the Alliance.
          Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) makes an appearance in young makeup or CGI.
          If she retrieves her father, the Rebels promise Jyn her freedom.
          We meet K-2SO: a reprogrammed, Imperial droid that has some of the best lines.
          It was around this time when I wondered: Are we ever going to see a Jedi Knight? The rebels have pistols call “blasters.” Where were the light-sabers? There were none, until nearly the last scene. We’re viewing grunts, the soldiers down in the trenches and not the agents of the Jedi Council. We weren’t seeing clean landscapes and bright colors (outside of space shots, explosions and flying over terrain), we were seeing:
          Dirty, lived-in vehicles, wheeled vehicles, dull/dark military colors, dark green, greys. This was not beautiful alien landscapes or Padme’s grand, royal temples. These were soldiers not too different than today’s soldiers. Were producers really paralleling our modern military? The rebels had very short hair, exactly like today’s soldiers. This was not the case when first SW films were made. Many had long hair. [In the real world, rebels are known for having long hair. Short hair means: ‘military units’]. Give me bright colors and fantastic alien designs any day!
          Some space scenes and aerial shots in “Rogue One” were stupendous. Loved the white planetary rings. The first appearance of the Death Star was stunning. You see one of those big Destroyer battle cruisers come to light. Then behind it, in slow stages, the full background is revealed and it’s the Death Star.





To me, the first surprise in the film was Lord Tarkin, the Peter Cushing character from the first film. [Actor Cushing was wonderfully cast since he had played the opposite of a fascist as Winston Smith in the early British version of Orwell’s ‘1984’]. He wasn’t tossed in for a moment (CGI) as he was in the last Star Wars film. No. There were a number of great scenes with Tarkin engaged in dialogue with Director Krennic. Obviously this was more computer-generated-imagery and probably not a lookalike actor. Both Krennic and Tarkin vie for control of the Death Star all to impress the Emperor (not in the movie).

          The Rebel plan is for Jyn Erso to find her father, Galen. They travel to the planet Jedha.

          “If we find Saw, we’ll find your father.”

          Jyn and her gang see Imperial ships that have stripped the sacred temples bare of Kyber crystals. Kyber crystals give light-sabers their power and will be used to power the Death Star. I was reminded of the idea that the Middle East, the Holy Land with its sacred temples have also been stripped of its sacred stones. Did this aspect of the story reflect ulterior purposes for our presence in the Middle-East, other than oil? The word “fuel” was used in regard to the crystals.

          Alien Saw Gerrera captures and interrogates a missing cargo pilot the Empire is hunting.

          There are some cool new aliens. They also repeated a few rebels and aliens that we viewed in the first couple Star Wars movies. There are more battles and tremendous fight scenes. Was the white armor of storm troopers made of plastic? Boy, they went down fast, like the ‘stick’ battle droids in ‘Phantom Menace’ that say “Roger, Roger.”

          Jyn runs and shoots her enemies almost without a thought or any compassion; it’s just war, killing and more death.

          Viewers see familiar Imperial war machines like the chicken-legged battle tanks and huge walkers.

          Actor Donnie Yen plays a blind warrior, a bit psychic, named Chirrut Imwe who can really kick ass! His fight scenes were very impressive. The Force is a religion to him. He is heard chanting a mantra: “I am with the Force; I am one with the Force.” That was a first.

          Captain Cassian Andor plays a bad boy in the beginning, like a killer [CIA] for the cause, for the rebellion? He says, “The Force and I have different priorities.” He changes to a less dark personality and becomes the love interest for Jyn later in the film.

          Saw’s men had captured Jyn and they meet face-to-face, the one who saved her as a child. She’s pissed at him because he abandoned her at 16 years old. He knew she could take care of herself.

          “Did you come here to kill me?”

          “The Alliance wants my father.”

          Gerrara tells her, “It’s a trap.” Then the loyal rebel asks, “Do you even care about the cause?”

          She expresses, “All it has ever brought me was pain.”

          Saw asks, “Do you want the Imperial flag over us all?”

          Jyn replies, “No problem. Don’t look up.”

          He plays her a hologram message he took from the missing pilot. It’s her father~

          Galen’s holographic form says: He loves her and calls Jyn his “Stardust.” He refused to finish the Death Star, but he knew it was too late and could be finished without him. He did what no one expected: He’d have his revenge on the Empire and the Emperor for the murder of his wife, Lira...

          He placed a “weakness” deep inside the Death Star, a “flaw so small they’ll never find it.” Her father explains that the fault was in the reactor module, any blast along the port could set off the reaction and destroy the entire station.

          Lord Tarkin (higher ranked than Vader) orders a test of the station’s power. The major city on the planet below is targeted and BLASTED. It could have been the coolest, most amazing explosion I have ever seen! It took time. We see this massive cloud rise above the surface with incredible details and proportions. We feel it from those on the ground as they experience the blast.

          Saw yells, “Save the Rebellion, save the Dream!” He is killed in the super explosion.

          Tarkin looks down from the incomprehensible first test of the Death Star. Such magnitude and display of POWER! He says, “Beautiful.” The Emperor will be overjoyed at the success.

          “Rogue” ship, not christened with that title yet, takes off. Jyn and her ragtag crew of rebels hit hyper-drive and the ship barely escapes the blast. Robot K-2 drives.

          On the Death Star, Director Krennic (always in white cape) and Lord Tarkin fight over control of the project. Krennic demands, “I delivered the Death Star! The Emperor must know!”

          After the test, Tarkin had proof of the station’s power and “pulled rank.” He took charge of the Death Star and also created a private war with Krennic. Tarkin wants to impress the Emperor.

          Jyn does not know that Captain Andor was ordered to kill Galen Erso, Jyn’s father.

          Blind Chirrut Imwe senses Andor has killed and has a dark side.

          Krennic hears of the “missing cargo pilot” and lines up the workmen who completed the Death Star project. “One of you is a traitor to the Empire! One of you conspired with the pilot!” The Director is about to shoot them, when…

          Galen runs in and confesses the truth, “Stop! Please don’t. It was me! I did it.”

          His workmen are all shot and killed.

          At this exact moment, Captain Andor trains his gun on Galen Erso and does not shoot. He disobeys orders. For Jyn, his love?

          A huge battle ensues between Imperial forces and Rebel ships. There’s fantastic ground and space battles. Laser blasts from fighters and Destroyers. But still. No light-sabers or Jedi Knights in the movie. Yet the Kyber crystals that power the destruction has been shown.

          Jyn meets her father, finally. But he is very hurt from explosions on the ground and is about to die. His “Stardust” says she saw his hologram message and understands.

          He dies and she cries. She knows he was a good man. And maybe what he did could save them all.

          On Jyn’s ship with her crew, she confronts Andor. She knows he was ordered to kill him.

          The Captain tells her he went against orders and did not shoot when he could have.

          Now there is the most phenomenal entrance you may ever see: VADER ARRIVES…

          An Imperial ship flies over what appears as the blackened fields of HELL or fire rivers of Mordor. Tall, black monuments of Evil resemble Sauron’s 1-eye tower from “The Lord of the Rings.” Fires are seen at the base of the tower as the ship lands.

          We hear Vader’s theme music by John Williams. It gets the fans excited and the few minutes Vader is in the film are fantastic. He actually comes out of one of those maintenance-tube thingees and not the ship.

          Director Krennic comes to meet Darth and he probably wished he didn’t. He was going over the chain of command to block Tarkin.

          Vader senses the truth: “Was the weapon compromised?”

          Krennic wants credit for the DS and asks, “Am I still in command?”

          Darth does the famous psychic choke hold and Krennic falls to the floor in pain and gags.

          “Be careful of your own aspirations, Director.”

          Back at Rebel Base, the Alliance does not believe Jyn. They all had horrible views or prejudices against her father. They were asked to take the word of a death-dealer “criminal” and builder of the Death Star Weapon? Rebel Council refuses her wishes and decides to not attack.

          The plan was to break into the [donut-shaped] Imperial space station which functions as a communications transmitter. They were to steal the plans to the Death Star and find the weakness.

          The “no” decision does not stop Jyn Erso and her gang. Hence the name “Rogue,” going counter to the council’s wishes. Soon more rebels sympathetic to Jyn believe her and join her cause in other ships.

          Cassian Andor tells Jyn, “Everything I did (as an assassin) I did for the cause, for the revolution.” (like the CIA. What murders and other government takeovers have also happened under the guise of “national security”?) Their differences are put aside. Love is in their eyes.

          Jimmy Smits’ character speaks to the lady that heads the Rebel base. “I must return to Alderon.”

          “Your friend, the Jedi…”

          The Clone Wars was mentioned.

          He tells her, “War is inevitable.”

          The film comes down to again a small band of rebels must break into a huge facility under control of the Empire…

          And they waltz right in? Don’t worry, the robot has the key-codes; we’ll get through. And they do. Of course they do. We’ve seen it before. Maybe Star Wars has to repeat certain themes? There was a short Cantina scene in this one also. We know it will have an ultimate battle in the end and there was! Incredible special-effects in space.

         But when we see ground forces battle, the rebels appear so similar to our modern military. Again drab colors, tanks, vehicles with wheels, blasters for guns. No cool guns, no cool outfits. Only military fatigues. The ‘Matrix’ had cool clothes, not the people onboard Rogue One. Compare the big battle scenes at the end of the prequels with the grey ground war in Rogue: Remember how colorful and what a visual splendor those blue energy balls were on the green grasses or the arena battle with all the Jedi and their light-sabers?

          No more prettiness. Only crappy color. Don’t give me: It looks lived-in and used; everything looks real.  I disagree. Give me alien designs, new worlds, new themes and beautiful backgrounds. If we wanted to see dark green uniforms and guns, we only have to look at today’s soldiers…which is what I believe is being represented here and not from a galaxy far, far away. We’re seeing a reflection of TODAY and not another time and place.

          The Rebel Alliance comes around and decides to attack and that’s how the ultimate battle in space and on the ground is possible. Every rebel joins Rogue.




Not all of her crew survive. Blind Chirrut and missing pilot and a few others are killed.

          They need to drop the communication station’s shields in order to transmit the plans of the Death Star to the Alliance, since stealing it was as ‘easy as pie.’ Once more, it was a very familiar theme in the first three films.

          Jyn is on a high tower to turn off the shields in order to transmit the plans and the scene is visually spectacular.

          She is shot by Krennic. They speak. She tells him, “My father built a flaw, a fuse in the middle of your machine. I just told the whole galaxy how to light it!”

          Captain Andor shoots and Krennic is killed.

          Sweet music plays while Jyn and Andor are together.

          “You think anyone is out there?”

          The couple escape to a quiet beach all their own.

          Tarkin fires the Death Star at the planet Scariff, where the forces fought.

          Cassian and Jyn see the bright flash like a nuclear explosion on the horizon.

          There is a final scene with Darth Vader.

          The transmission has been sent. Now on the receiving end, there is still a chance for the Empire’s forces to intercept the “plans.” Darth appears in a hallway very similar to when we first saw him. WE FINALLY SEE A LIGHT-SABER. A red one. Vader turns it on and really kicks ass! He wipes out a whole garrison of rebels with funny, round helmets.




But the information escapes in a rebel ship. Curses, foiled again. 

          Just like a big payoff occurred at the very end of ‘A Force Awakens’ with the appearance of Luke Skywalker, same with ‘Rogue One.’ In the last scene, a rebel delivers the plans to a young (digitized) Princess Leia and asks her: What is it?

          She smiles and answers, “Hope.”

 

          The end is great. We have seen the odyssey of the Death Star’s plans come full circle.

          The great mystery of: Why was such a fatal flaw of a destruct switch built into the Death Star in the first place? Now we know. It wasn’t. It was its creator’s plan to destroy the ‘monster’ he had created. Good story, great direction and the entire concept from start to finish was superb.

          But…

          What I did not like about it? How about my first thoughts when I heard what it was about: Are you kidding me? We recently had a ‘Planet-Killer’ in SW7 and who wants ANOTHER Death Star? Can’t we drop the Death Stars? Just when the vast public wants LESS Death Star, we are “forced” to swallow MORE Death Star! Seriously? I absolutely went into this movie with a horrible expectation, especially seeing the damage J.J. Abrams had done to not only the Star Wars franchise, but the Star Trek franchise as well. It is like: Everything we don’t want, we will receive and we will like it! And everything we want, forget it.

          Remember when the new Star Trek film first came out and we Trek fans didn’t know if it would be any good (in the hands of J.J.)? Strange, or maybe not so strange, that we got a universe so very different than the ST world we knew. We wanted same or same-ish, not 98% different. Can you imagine the people dressed as Klingons at the premiere, only to discover there were no Klingons in the movie? “Ka-pla!!”

          Last year, we get SW7 and it is almost the exact same film as #4, “A New Hope”? We didn’t want the same. In this case, we wanted something a bit different, that we had not seen before. Is this an evil plot? Is Disney giving us precisely what we do not want and making us pay up the butt for it? Those bastards wouldn’t do that, would they?

 

 

“The Propaganda of Star Wars”

 

Let’s get to the real meat of the issue, folks. The following took decades to finally realize; I expect few to agree. I had to break through layers and layers of prejudice LOVE for Star Wars and Star Trek, since this old guy cherished these franchises from the very beginning. What’s wrong with Star Wars? The “Republic,” that’s what’s wrong with Star Wars. You don’t fight for the Republic. People should be fighting against The Republic. Look up the word. A Republic is not a Democracy, it is a Star Chamber and rule by a council of elites. A few fascists rule the world, that’s a Republic…like the Republic of China, etc. You are not free men and women under a Republic. We’re not talking about another galaxy. We‘re talking about planet Earth and modern times. That’s what SW & ST actually symbolize. Maybe you fight for Democracy and freedom and human rights. But a “republic” is another word for fascism. They don’t want you to be a “Separatist” or a dissident or an enemy to the evil Empire.

 

Let’s look at Star Trek. The Federation? Seriously. When have the feds ever been good or done anything good? For you, for the people? I know it is the ‘United Federation of Planets’ and they propose a future harmony of Earthlings and aliens. Too bad it is fiction and not a reality or…far from reality, as yet. We love these out-of-this-world fantasies and I love them more than all of you. But they really mean, under the surface, something altogether different than we originally thought. One subliminal idea is for you to give up your life and die for the Empire or die for the Rebel cause, any cause. They want you to be obedient soldiers. They want you to fight. When is there ever peace? There is only mass-killing, like all superheroes recently. Where are good stories? Since when was excitement replaced by a high body count of dead? These “programs” can be lovely entertainment, but they are also military training programs: to send your kids to war, to fight. Sports are the same secret indoctrination ~ to accept war. You battle with different colored uniforms. And these are the children.

“Never accept war when you can accept peace” (from the last hippie).

 

I know it’s Star WARS! There’s going to be wars and battles, good and evil, Dark Side vs. the Light Side of the Force. There’s too much Dark Side and why is hell so cool? Where’s balance? That’s another thing. The “Force” was misnamed. {Christ, there he goes again!} It should have been: “May the Energy be with you.” That only sounds weird because we’re not used to it.

FORCE? Force is not a neutral word, between positive and negative; it is a nasty word. You don’t force something. Hitler and evil fascists “forced” their will. You go with the flow, the natural and easy flow of nature. You force nothing.






Sincerest peace for the holidays.

Tray Caladan




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