Let’s get the preambles out of the way first. The original Star Wars trilogy are my three favorite movies of all time. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was my favorite film of last year. I love Star Wars. Now that we got that settled, let’s talk about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (I detest that title). While I was overjoyed on more episodic movies, I’ve been 100% arms folded on these spin-offs. You ever hear the expression “too much of a good thing?” Yeah.
The idea of cute little side stories has never appealed to me. When I learned the first one was a prequel, that really frustrated me. I’m tired of going backwards. Why do I need to see how the Rebels acquired the Death Star Plans? It’s like watching a game on TIVO where I already know the outcome. That’s stupid. I’ve tried to get excited about this movie. I’m amazed at how indifferent I am towards a damn Star Wars film. Everybody is losing their minds over this trailer. It’s fine. But I still can’t get past the idea of how unnecessary this whole endeavor is. I just don’t care.
While the trailer was visually appealing and showed potential among the characters, there were a few elements that got me particularly worried. I’m not here to crap on your Star Wars parade. I’m hear to remind you to have lowered expectations. I’m sorry, but I have some concerns.
The Gareth Edwards Of It All
For those who don’t know, Gareth Edwards directed the Godzilla revival from a couple years ago. If you enjoyed that film, I guess you have nothing to worry about. If you’re like me and thought it blew bags, there’s a lot to be worried about. This looks very Gareth Edwards. From a visual standpoint, that’s a good thing. The shots look epic. Everything involving a vehicle looked incredible. That’s important for Star Wars. The fight scenes looked well staged. That’s the good. Let’s get to the “Uh-Oh’s.”
There’s no doubt this cast is stacked. Felicity Jones. Diego Luna. Mads Mikkelsen. Ben Mendelsohn. Forest Whitaker. What worried me most in the trailer was how stilted the acting came across. It was a little prequel-ish. I understand Edwards has better actors this time around than Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but the flat characters and acting were a massive problem in Godzilla. Take a real hard listen to some of this dialogue:
“If you’re really doing this, I want to help.”
“There isn’t much time. Everyday they grow stronger.”
“This is our chance to make a real difference.”
That’s pretty putrid. I know I’m being a jackass, as I handpicked the worst lines. I didn’t include some of the gems, such as, “I fear nothing. All is as the force wills it.” What bothers me more are how the lines are being delivered. Bland. No passion. That’s exactly what happened in Godzilla.
I fully admit this is coming from a place of recently seeing another iconic villain butchered in front of my eyes, but I hate that Darth Vader is in this movie. Whether you want to view the last time we saw Vader as being in Episode III where he’s standing beside the Emperor and Tarkin while the Death Star is being constructed, or his death in Return of the Jedi, both are great endings for the character. Just leave him alone. The idea that Darth Vader is coming back for a dinky little spin-off film irritates me. This is like Joe Montana playing for the Kansas City Chiefs late in his career. I don’t want to see it. Do we really want our last image of Darth Vader to be that time he looked at a computer screen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?
I’m sure the filmmakers have something more grand planned than that, but this is going to be a real tough sell for me. His role better not be forced and fan serviced. This is arguably the most iconic character in the history of cinema. I need to be wowed.
I’LL HOPE FOR THE BEST, ALRIGHT!
I hate to be the Debbie Downer on a Star Wars movie, but this is my reality. I’m somewhat hopeful. I do appreciate the serious tone in an age where everybody whines and complains if something isn’t jokey or fun, so it has that going for it. If the film stinks bantha fodder, I’ll be upset for a few days, but I ultimately don’t care. I can get past this and move onto to Episode VIII. All I ask is they don’t screw with any major continuity, and it doesn’t completely suck. This movie could certainly blow me away. Darth Vader could be epic as hell. Who knows? Hey, as we just learned with Suicide Squad, it’s not the worst thing in the world to go in with lowered expectations.
Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.