Star Wars Rogue One

Star Wars Rogue One Coming Soon. Star Wars Rogue is expected in theaters in December and so is our in-depth movie review courtesy of Citadel Consulting Group LLC and West Coast Midnight Run.  You are invited in enjoying the pre-screening music editorial presentation of Rogue One either in mobile format or in wide-screen format (for laptops/desktops).


Star Wars Rogue One is one of the most original films to be lensed in more than 40 years since the entire galactic science fiction movie series was launched - at least on paper and in the mind of the filmmakers.

It has none of the original cast and it precedes all of the previous episodes.  There are no cliffhangers or, worse, poorly developed plot lines from previous episodes that need to be cleaned up, or satisfied.  Rogue One is the very first in the series and director Gareth Edwards is undertaking the effort after seven episodes of hits and misses, largely mega hits and bigger hits, so his arsenal would be the best equipped of all the directors and producers preceding him at Lucasfilm.

With a fresh slate to use all new faces and endless locales to shoot the landscape, Rogue One would be the most original and most powerful Star Wars ever made.

With these tremendous expectations on his shoulders any director would have wavered before signing their contract.  J.J. Abrams had just unleashed The Force Awakens.  Powered up by nostalgia and cameos from the original cast, the movie has practically broken all performance milestones on record and shatters the Two Billion goalpost in ticket sales.

And now for an encore, Lucasfilm attempts the same enterprise, to lever nostalgia and the feel of the starting line from 1977 found in A New Hope, where audiences worldwide were dazzled and blown away by the magic of realistically cruising solar systems and waging intense galactic war under the unflinching gaze of live action film (as opposed to childern's cartoons and sci fi novels illustrations).  If Lucasfilm could only pull off this one-two punch for his new boss, Disney, the entertainment giant would recoup the cost of buying out George Lucas' Lucasfilm ($4 billion smackeroos) in the space of two short years and with just two films in the playhouse.  Disney would have set a new standard in performance that many movie studios would find impossible to emulate.

Rogue One is brimming with many of these aspirations and if only it could have pulled it off.  Powered up by new faces including Felicity Jones and Diego Luna the new film is rounded by veterans such as Forrest Whitaker and Peter Cushing.  Jones has starred in the Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Theory of Everything (Oscar-nominated for Best Actress),  this year's Inferno (with Tom Hanks) and plays Jyn Erso the daughter of a brilliant scientist who is forced to help the Empire build the Death Star, against his will, and who does his best to handicap the advancement of the ultimate holocaust weapon - a weapon of such power it would bring the entire galaxy, as endless in size and variety of intelligent life, to its knees and would plunge the universe into the abyss.

Diego Luna has starred in a string of lackluster movies, mostly to Latin audiences, and his notable contributions include supporting roles in Open Range (Duvall & Kostner), The Terminal (Tom Hanks) and Elysium (Matt Damon).  His leading role in Dirty Dancing Havana Nights was heavily panned by critics.

Luna portrays Captain Cassian Andor.  He is a commander in the Rebel Alliance, one who has made many compromises that have the "ends justifies the means" written all over them.  His character is less than the chivalrous hero, the wide-eyed innocent Luke Skywalker and he is far more battle hardened than the galaxy-savvy Han Solo (Jack Sparrow).  Cassian was born to be a rebel in the revolution against the Empire from the moment he crossed the age of five.  I was surprised he was not higher in the ranks given the extent and length of his involvement.    Perhaps his low rank reflects his distaste for his missions and lesser enthusiasm than newcomer Jyn Erso shows him and comrades in arm.

So much has been made about Star Wars being a Far Eastern analogy of Samurais and Shoguns battling within the empire with a code of honor and futuristic swords as well as the all-powerful Force, think here the Chi.  So much has been said about Star Wars Rogue One being the Magnificent Seven that it seems no one noticed the similarities it carries with The Knights of The Round Table, King Arthur, The Wizard Merlin, Magic and Excalibur (only those with the Force can potently wield a lightsaber against a blaster).

No one also has compared the series to The Three Musketeers, where the division between the Cardinal's Militia and The King's Special Forces and the internal strife that may have brought the French Monarchy to its knees parallels the division in the galaxy between the Empire's formal forces and the Rebel Alliance shoring up the Senate.  Luke Skywalker smacks of D'Artagnan, bringing with him drive, enthusiasm, very little knowledge of the world he is about to face and only power in the Force from his father Anakin.  That's so analoguous to D'Artagnan inheriting fast reflexes, a razor sharp ability to wield a sword - and very little else.  

Neither Felicity Jones nor Diego Luna exhibit the kind of charisma or screen power that can propel this movie to new heights.  Both stars are miscast in the lead roles in what would become the most pivotal characters in shaping the Star Wars universe along our threesome (Luke, Han and Leia).  The same issue never faced Hamill, Fischer and Ford (and director Lucas) since they were unknowns in an unknown quantity.  In 1977 Star Wars had not become the classic megahit it is today and the likeability factor of the new faces were off the charts - something this cast is sorely lacking.  It's an unfair burden the new team of actors have to face but that is what happens with sequels to highly successful cinematic productions.

Although K2SO had some of the most likeable and most humorous lines in this adventure the lumbering giant droid (whom I grew quite fond of) is unable to convey the original humor and wit displayed alongside the constant bickering of C3PO and R2D2 (I am visualizing Laurel and Hardy).

Jones and Diego are very good actors but the storyline layout in Rogue One is much more demanding than A New Hope.  Rogue One is missing the energy, dynamism, the sparkle and sense of edge-of-your-seat excitement of the unknown, something sorely lacking in this outing.  In a word it is missing the same word they keep tossing around, the ingredient of "hope".  

Granted this film is about the galaxy teetering on the verge of a new dark age and the cinematic effort is grittier and more realistic in color, texture and style.

You can taste and savor the reality of futuristic wars across the galaxy far more than in A New Hope, but this movie does not surpass the visual quality nor the power of delivery of Attack of The Clones.  Its principal attraction is the new lineup of actors that promise originality - yet the script fails them.  The dialogue scenes are short, brief and almost Spartan.

In A New Hope there are several scenes where the actors sparkle with witty sarcasm and humorous insults thrown at each other - when stuck inside the Death Star and trying to break into the prison section.  There was more in A New Hope but I cant detail nor catalogue for you each and every scene that's nowhere in sight in Rogue One.

Irrespective of the storyline, the movie is lacking optimism and exhibits a downer attitude, a depressed spin to its zippy electrons.  And although there is a huge exciting battle of rebels versus Empire to rev up the adrenaline in the final act, the script and the closing scenes are mired in hopelessness, not a spectacular feel in a final delivery that is supposed to pump excitement and hope into the nervous systems of the moviegoers over the big holidays season.  Again Rogue One goes rogue on optimism and the magic that rebellions are built upon.  The very final scene has a surprise element that ties into the 1977 movie but does very little to offset the negative momentum established by the entire film.

All in all, despite significant shortcomings, Rogue One is an entertaining piece in the Star Wars set that fails to live up to its potential.

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