daidoji_gisei: Tarot Queen of Swords (Queen of Swords)
[personal profile] daidoji_gisei
I saw Rogue One for the first time last week while visiting my friends K and A; I went and saw it again today. As a movie I like it a lot, though it is by no means flawless. I rarely do reviews, so I'm just going to give an assortment of points in place of an organized essay. Putting in a cut because SPOILERS.

-- Bodhi Rook, the defecting Imperial pilot, is hands-down the cutest member of the cast. And his habit of keeping those useless goggles perched on his head? Adorable. The first time I saw the movie I coudln't figure out why he was so gung-ho to join the almost-certain suicide mission to Scarif. This time I caught Saw Gerrera's mention that Bodhi was a "local boy"--a native of Jedha--which means he probably lost people he cared for when the Death Star destroyed the holy city. That would be enough to prompt some desperate action, but I wish there had been a few lines of dialog where he explained it himself.

--The first viewing I had my suspicions about Chirrut Imwe, the blind guardian, but this time I'm certain of it: Chirrut is a Force user. Being blind and being able to take out a group of Imperial storm troopers with a stick is within the normal bounds of a space opera. Being blind and shooting a Tie fighter which then crashed into an Imperial anti-aircraft gun is outrageous--unless the Force is really with you. This is my headcanon and you can't change it.

--Speaking of storm troopers, their armor isn't very good: it can't even protect its users against being hit by a stick. This makes sense, because the Death Star project has to be eating up a lot of the Imperial military budget and they'd clearly going with the lowest bidder here. This also explains why the Imperial records facility on Scarif is in such dire need of modernization. (You can call it headcanon, but you must admit it makes sense.)

--The droid K-2SO raised fascinating questions about droids, free will, and heroism, all of which the movie failed to deal with in any way whatsoever. I am very disappointed in this.

--A lot of the plot hinged on the love between a father and his daughter, which is probably one of the reasons I like it as much as I do. I have a strong and complicated bond with my dad, and I could appreciate Jyn's too-bright "I like to believe he's dead" response to Mon Motha. How do you explain your love for an Imperial weapons designer to the rebel leadership? And what do you do when his greatest creation has been realized?

--After the first viewing I thought I Iiked the first half of the movie a lot more than the critics did. After the second I realized this was because I really, really like the sequence on Jedha. When they got to the Planet of Rain and Dark I slipped out of the theater to got to the bathroom and get more popcorn. And then I realized that this was a mistake: I should have gone during the visit to Darth Vader's Totally Goth and Spooky Fortress of Semi-Solitude(tm). That entire scene should have been cut in favor of some more character development of the proto-Rogue One group.

--This was an extremely beautiful movie. You can quibble about the director's grasp of plot and character, but he clearly understood that he was working in a visual medium. The landscape of Jedha? An Imperial Star Destroyer emerging from shadow? A shuttle descending through a shield lock to the planet below? All lovely, and only a few of the things that made me want to stop the movie, rewind a few seconds, and watch it over again.

--Shiiiippps. This movie was filled with ships of all sizes taking off, flying, orbiting, landing, getting into fights, getting destroyed, destroying things. I ate it up with a spoon, but I'm the type of person who will explain the Battle of Midway to someone if given the least bit of encouragement. If you are not the kind of person who can watch the final battle and think to yourself "The hammerhead corvette must normally be used as a tugboat; there's no way it could do that otherwise", you are probably not going to like this movie as much as I did.

--I am unutterably grateful that Jyn got through the movie without a romantic relationship. Yes, she and Cassian held hands and embraced on the beach at the end, but they were battle comrades who had just gotten through a terrible fight and were watching their death approach. It might have been a kind of love, but it wasn't romance.

---Speaking of which, during the second viewing I realized that Jyn dies the same way her mentor Saw Gerrera does: looking her death in the face as it bears down on her. I think this is perfect, and it consoles me for my loss of future Jyn stories.
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