Just How Naughty Is It That I Didn’t Like ‘Rogue One’?

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Don’t get offended, man. I just didn’t like the new Star Wars movie. And I was the kid swinging plastic lightsabers at my pillow and floating in the YMCA pool like Luke Skywalker did in the bacta tank. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, in fact; and I don’t think I’m particularly grumpy. My brother suggested something though, that I thought would be interesting to chat with you about.

He said writers can’t enjoy movies.

Before I get to that, let me list for you just a few things about the movie that irritated me to the point of not liking it. Of course there are spoilers here, so do what you need to do.

  1. Forrest Whittaker can act better than that, I’ve seen it. Was horrible to hear the fake British accent and the weird grunting. Horrible.
  2. Felicity Jones offered us one facial expression the entire movie.
  3. Hollywood shorthand overuse:  main character fondly clinging to a memento given them by a lost loved one (Jyn’s crystal necklace). Come on, dude, we’ve even already seen this in a Star Wars movie!
  4. Hollywood cheap emotional trigger overuse:  not one but TWO freaking scenes where someone dies in somebody’s arms after saying something. Ugh. Disney should be above that sort of cheap trick. Also already seen in a Star Wars movie, by the way.
  5. Moustache-twirling villain (with a cape, no less!) stomping through his scenes who can’t see beyond just wanting to rule the world.
  6. I knew the Death Star plans got transmitted when I was six years old. The drama had to come from the characters and their sacrifices; but they were snoozers. I, as always, except Donnie Yen because he could just show up and be my favorite, so that’s not fair.
  7. The Hobbit Effect: they told this story in a couple of sentences in an opening scrawl decades ago, but had to drag out all sorts of obstacles and friction to make something of it. And it felt like it. My son yawned twice. My wife fell asleep.
  8. Shameless cameos: very cool to see Leia, obviously. Also cool to see Senator Organa and Mon Mothma. Those make sense in the story. But did we REALLY need to see the ‘You’d best watch yourself!’ guys from the cantina?
  9. Lazy ‘Braveheart’ speech: Jyn gave a half-hearted and snoozer of an inspirational speech, which even the guys on the mission with her were bored with.
  10. If they have computer files and the ability to store and transmit them, why in the world are they stored on hard drives in a tower where you have to access them with robotic arms? So the heroes could climb around and get shot at? Exactly.

I honestly hope I’m not coming off as too picky here. Maybe you disagree with some of this, but seriously – ALL of it? You’re killing me.

No, I don’t believe writers can’t enjoy movies. There are all sorts of movies I think are genius or just popcorn-munching fun rides. I can switch gears, man. I’ve binge watched about ten Hallmark Christmas romance flicks with my wife in just the last couple of weeks. See, I have depth?

It could be I have a very high standard for ‘Star Wars’ and expect more from them. I was trying to puzzle out, even before the movie was over, what it was that was bugging me so much and what I liked so much about the original movies…you know, whether I’m just getting old.

Harlan Ellison said there’s nothing worth writing about other than people. Chemistry and the dynamic between characters will hook us and keep us hooked with more impact than visual effects or nostalgia or plot twists or slick ideas. In ‘A New Hope’, Han Solo was funny and cocky and bold. Leia was tough and driven and beautiful. Luke was wide-eyed and innocent, but with ties to a deep mythic undercurrent on a hero’s journey. That trinity resonates even four decades later, which is one reason we’re still dealing with shameless riffs off that original story over and over. With ‘Rogue One’ – and maybe this is because of the cheap writer tricks they used to try and shorthand me into liking their characters – I just wanted them to die already so I could get to whatever the big scene was at the end I kept hearing about.

I’m curious what you think. If you loved ‘Rogue One’, please drop me some details on what it was you loved. I just don’t see it. I really, really, really want them to get better at telling ‘Star Wars’ stories.

Oh, and writers can definitely love movies. Maybe they just like to backseat drive too?

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15 thoughts on “Just How Naughty Is It That I Didn’t Like ‘Rogue One’?

  1. Did we all see the same movie? I loved it, probably more than any Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back.

    Obviously lots of spoilers ahead.

    First off, it’s a beautiful movie to watch. It’s the first of the movies to give me that same sense of awe and wonder I’d get browsing the concept art books.

    Second, we see the return of middle aged people with real jobs and emotions, not just a bunch of kids, twenty-somethings and geriatrics. I really liked the idea of Empire Scientists and engineers working to build the Death Star together. It kind of reminded me of the German rocket scientists from WWII.

    I don’t remember his name , but the former Empire droid, K-something, I wound up really, really liking. I’m so programmed to automatically hate such things because the last few movies they seemed to be designed to sell a toy. He was droll and dry-funny. I found myself laughing out loud a lot when the rest of the theater sat silent.

    The space battle scenes seemed truly epic, with callbacks to all the old ships plus quite a few new ones.

    Darth Vader was as intimidating as ever, although I groaned at the “don’t choke on your ambition” line.

    I loved the Asian dudes, going both Kung Fu on the Empire as well as using some badass weapons.

    I liked minor charcters from the Cantina just showing up for a brief second. Always throwing in the Major characters starts to feel like Forrest Gump style bullshit. I loved seeing R2-D2 and C3PO, but it felt forced.

    My biggest gripe was the actual stealing of the plans didn’t seem planned out enough. That part should have been more like a mini- heist movie.

    I can’t wait to watch it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with your points. I found myself bored early on, and stayed that way. The storyline felt predictable (beyond knowing what happens in episode 4). The characters and their plight just didn’t feel compelling. Jyn had such a flat affect and a quick jump from “why should I care” to “this is my personal rebellion!”

    Special effects were neato, but the script felt beyond poorly written. I kept waiting for it to be over. It wasn’t even a saving grace that I was being paid while I watched it. I kept thinking “maybe I’ll give it another watch and see if I change my mind”, but it was so unengaging I can’t bring myself to even care.

    This film seemed so cliche. At least all the characters died, so we don’t have to see them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wasn’t the biggest fan, but did like it better than the prequels.

    Here’s my order of the movies from best to last:

    1) Original 3
    2) Episode 7
    3) Rogue One
    4) The 3 prequels

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly my order. I’m going with Ep 4 first, then 6, then 5. I’m calling Return Of The Jedi over Empire just because of how happy I remember being when Vader tossed the Emperor into that pit. I punched my dad’s shoulder hard enough to bruise him.

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  4. I like star Wars, but I think they’re going to run the franchise into the ground if they make too many more movies. As a writer and a filmmaker, I’m getting really tired of Hollywood using sequels and superhero movies as a fail safe. It’s killing the creative market and as I see it, LAZY. I want more new concept movies and less of the same old thing used over and over but with a new ‘wow’ factor each time to make sure the masses see it. What ever happened to good old fashioned story telling? Grr… Anyways, Merry Christmas! – Maggie Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking just the same thing the other day at the Barnes & Noble. I knew exactly the look and feel of the book I’d like to have come across; but it was pretty depressing to see the racks of vampires and zombies and ‘Lord Of The Rings’ rip offs. On entirely the other hand though, I’ve honestly seen quite a few really great Star Wars fan films in recent years. One called ‘Hoshino’ comes to mind, which was awesome.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I must look that up. And definitely with the books. Everything has to be ‘trendy’. The book I intend to publish will probably be considered out of style because of that. Ugh. Oh, well. What are you going to do? 😉 Have a great night! – Maggie Lynn

        Liked by 1 person

  5. THAAAAAAAAAAAANKYOU!!

    I saw it last night and was so disappointed, been trying to work out why, but I just came to the conclusion that i found it completely charmless. Most of the acting was lacklustre, terrible dialogue, phoned in performances and Disney’s attempt to get a laugh in all too often was, i feel, completely misguided – a. it absolutely didn’t fit the off kilter tone of the film, b.the “humour” (usually coming from the apparently “hilarious” new droid) was painful and seems to have come from the same genius that wrote 2 broke girls. Star Wars has always had humour but not in every line.

    What a shame. I can’t help thinking if this movie didn’t have it’s star was t shirt on then it would have been a mega flop. I loved the Force Awakens and am really looking forward to the next year but really feel the absence of JJ Abrams can be felt in Rogue One. Hopefully one of the other standalones doesn’t expand this particular chapter (as is apparent due to a clause in Rosie Jones contract).

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  6. Your review is essentially everything I thought about Rogue One. Even the “one facial expression” observation about Felicity. I have been a diehard SW fan for decades; heck, I even liked AOTC and ROTS! But RO left me – if not cold, then “meh.” Couldn’t find the characters engaging at all. No plot to speak of; just a lot of shooting and explosions and stormtroopers that were even more inept than in past SW movies. Thanks for helping me feel less alone in the fandom! I’m hesitant to share my review with friends who are raving big-time about this movie. Onward to VIII.

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  7. (Spoiler warning)

    Good to see that there are other people that weren’t blown away by this movie. Now, I don’t think RO was bad movie, but it was so predictable and unengaging. If you’ve taken any sort of film class during high school or college like I have, you can watch one scene from this movie and guess what will happen in the next scene.

    Predictability is one of this movie’s biggest issues for me. The other major issue I have with the movie is the characters. There are too many of them! (I heard the two Asian characters were included to make the film have more appeal in China, take that as you will.) I can’t even remember their names, besides Jyn. I honestly felt nothing when they died, even for the one character I sorta liked, the droid. I feel like the movie should have cut down on the main cast so it could focus on actually developing the characters. And the villains are just as bad. They have no real motives, just being evil because they are part of The Empire.Typical, uninteresting villains. Oh, and the complete lack of aliens besides a few minor characters and extras doesn’t help either.

    I thought the fight scenes were pretty good, but that’s pretty standard for Star Wars and while they were entertaining, none of them blew me away or left we wanting more. Again, I don’t think it’s a bad movie, but it’s certainty not deserving of any awards either. (Except for most predictable plot, if that’s an award.)

    Liked by 1 person

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