Watching this movie felt like a constant battle between being stuck in the old Star Wars tradition and deciding whether, and when, to embrace the new. Really, a lot of my experience was a series of inner whining mitigated by instant justification and rationalization as to why the change or choice was a good one. I'm glad I was able to enjoy a lot of the movie for its visceral coolness, but I was admittedly more analytical in my first viewing than I'd hoped to be.
Yep, this was a good one!
No opening crawl made me sad at first, but I ended up respecting it and ultimately, loving the choice. Rogue One isn't an episode; it's a standalone film, so I'm glad it's not adhering to Star Wars standards for arbitrary reasons. The opening action prologue did the same work as an opening crawl would have done, and it did it better. Both would have been redundant.
I LOVE Chirrut. I think he represents everything that's right with the force. Everything I think the force should be, at least. There's been some debate as to whether or not he is strong with the force, or whether or not he's a Jedi. I don't think it matters if he's a Jedi. And I think it's obviously that he has some ability to harness the power of the force. I am not a huge fan of the dogmatic Jedi system with its black and white rules.
Mon Mothma!!! She is awesome. That actor is great. Seeing her on screen made me giddy. I mean, how cool -- it's Mon Mothma!!!
The end was powerful. Delightful. There were points where I wasn't 100% sure about the movie, because I was watching with a cautious eye (and also there is more action in this movie than I like to have in movies), but the end won me over completely.
I was a little bothered by Darth Vader. Thought he should be taller. Something about his suit felt off. But then I realized his height isn't biological; Anakin wasn't that tall, after all...I mean, he has half limbs underneath the suit. Also, this is probably in my head, because it really doesn't seem like something Star Wars directors would gloss over. It's a pretty important detail, after all.
I love K2.
I really really like that everyone dies.
Okay, but how cool is Mon Mothma?
Jyn's "inspiring speech" is a little much, but that's okay. Also, she is very attractive to me.
Tarkin is scary AF.
Fan me wanted to see Palpatine for a split second (or just the back of his robes or something), but I don't think it was necessary.
I'm a fan of the CGI stuff. Tarkin didn't distract me or bother me, even though the actor is dead. I thought it's cool that they were able to "resurrect" him for this movie.
I also really liked the CGI Princess Leia thingy at the end. Feel like this will be controversial, but *shrug* I liked it, and I almost cried from being so excited about it.
Visually, this movie did good work. I think they built an admirable visual scape that incorporated elements from both new and old trilogies, which helps to blend them together. The difference in technology and "looks" is one of the most jarring things for me when watching the old and new trilogy back to back, and this movie helps bridge that gap.
A lot of these opinions will obviously change. These are just initial fan reactions.
I know that the empire is purposely supposed to be more human-centric because Emperor Palpatine is fucked, but I do miss the relative lack of "aliens" AKA non-humans in the empire films. One thing I really do like about the prequels is how diverse the galaxy is in terms of species.
However, this movie was more diverse within the human landscape, which was great!! I see why conservatives were boycotting the movie now. Lolololol.
I liked the planet subtitles. I feel like this will also be controversial because it's a new convention.
MUSTAFAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE. The birth of Vader. Obviously, this is where he'd have his castle. Nice shoutout to the original concept art too. I love Ralph McQuarrie.
The musical score was by far the most distracting part of this movie for me. I'm not saying it was bad, but it was extremely distracting because it wasn't what I'm used to, obviously. However, I think it is important that John Williams NOT do it. With the revival of the franchise this decade, it has become clear that Star Wars movies are going to continue to be a thing for a while, and let's be honest -- John Williams can't do it forever. He's old. He's tired. The franchise can't rely on him. It was a great move to make that movie now, so that when John Williams dies, it isn't a sudden blow to the Star Wars franchise. I'm glad the first non-John-composed live action film was an intentional, expected thing rather than a last resort due to Williams' death (Clone Wars movie was also non-John, but that wasn't remotely popular, nor was it good, and no one outside of geek world really talks about it. I was only of the only people I know who saw it when it came out.) Also, since Rogue One is a standalone film rather than an episode, a lot of these changes made more sense. I think they all assist in setting the stage for a little more creative freedom in the Star Wars films in the future.
I'm not not saying the score was bad either. But seriously though, just because I'm not not saying it was bad, I still don't mean it was bad either. I need more space to consider it on its own, because for now, I can only judge it in the context of the old scores, which is more of a reactionary response. I will say though, that I think Michael Giacchino did an admirable job given all the constraints (both imposed and imagined, I'm sure). First of all, he only had a month to pull this shit off. So YIKES. Also...no pressure! It's just a Star Wars film! You're just going up against John Williams' legacy and going to endure the critique of a skillion diehard fans and nerds who will probably not be nice! I wouldn't have wanted his job, to be honest. There must have been enormous pressure to both fit into the "Star Wars-ian sound" and craft something new-ish, which doesn't sound like a dream creative project to me.
I wish the orchestral musicians who recorded for this were listed in the credits, but it was probably some union thing. Idk. I'll ask Lorenz (who recorded on it). I hope there was a good reason for not listing them.
HOW COOL WAS THE END THOUGH. SO GREAT. IT LEADS PERFECTLY INTO A NEW HOPE, WHICH IS THE MOST BADASS THING EVER I'M SO HAPPY.