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Friday, December 23, 2016

Rogue One is great - do yourself a favor and see it

I saw Rogue One this week, and it was fantastic.

Where last year's The Force Awakens was derivative to the point of effectively being a remake of Episode IV, and filled with an annoying amount of smug, self-referential winks to the original trilogy, Rogue One is an original, very clever action movie. And the action is extremely well-paced. There isn't a dull minute in the whole movie.

Visually, Rogue One may be the most impressive of all the Star Wars movies, the closest rivals in that area would be The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith. As to acting, it's very good across the board. What was rather interesting to me is that while I wouldn't be able to tell Rogue One's Felicity Jones from The Force Awakens' Daisy Ridley if I had to pick one out of a police lineup, Jones puts in an exponentially better performance than the female lead of the last Star Wars movie.

A particularly irritating aspect of The Force Awakens was Ridley being unable to wipe her thrilled smile off her face in virtually every scene of the movie. I get it. I too would be thrilled to be in a Star Wars movie with Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, to say nothing of Chewbacca and C3PO. But when your job is to be an actor and you're getting paid lots of money for it, then for Christ's sake, learn how not to look like an ecstatic fan standing in an autograph line-up at a science fiction convention while you're onscreen.

The one aspect missing from Rogue One that the other Star Wars movies offered is an enduring character you'll see kids want to clamor to get a toy version of. But the dark plot, the gorgeous cinematography, the massive scale of events, and the intense action more than compensate.

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