ROGUE ONE: She Loved It, He Didn’t, Here’s Why

13 QUICK THOUGHTS: A point/counterpoint on the latest Star Wars flick.


Our columnist Christy Blanch and I saw Rogue One last night in separate cities in separate states. We came away with somewhat different perspectives. Basically, she loved it and I … didn’t. I didn’t hate it or anything. Just wasn’t over the fourth moon of Yavin about it.

So we decided to give an old-fashioned Point/Counterpoint — only somehow I think I’m the ignorant slut in this scenario.

I went first so that Christy could have the last word. I wrote my 13 QUICK THOUGHTS and she responded accordingly.

Here goes:

For the complete STAR WARS WEEK Index, click here.

1. Dan: It was … OK. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. If I were to rank all eight (!) Star Wars movies now, I’d put it in Revenge of the Sith range. Somewhere in the middle. Certainly much better than Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

Christy: I LOVED it. I thought it was as good as The Force Awakens and I LOVED The Force Awakens. I felt things that I didn’t expect to feel. I mean, I knew how it would end but didn’t think I would love the characters enough to get attached to them. I was wrong. And this movie is WAY better than any of the prequels. It made me smile and tear up and cheer and had a really great couple of baddies. Some we knew, some we didn’t. I would go as far as putting this in my top THREE Star Wars movies. Yep, I said that. And the musical score was perfect.

2. Dan: However, it was no Force Awakens, which I thought was the best possible extension of the main saga. There were two new characters to fall in love with in that one (Rey and Finn) and one to like an awful lot (Poe). Plus, Force Awakens handled the original material organically. Rogue One suffered on these points.

Christy: First off, take it back about not falling in love with Poe. POE IS PERFECT!!!!!!! Putting three new characters into an established movieverse like Star Wars isn’t easy and they did it. The biggest fault with The Force Awakens was that it was the same plot as Star Wars (what most people call A New Hope). I didn’t mind this, but some people did. Rogue One had to do certain things because the ending was set. And they did them well! Plus they did a great job of showing how all sorts of groups were rebelling and how they had to come together to beat the Empire. 

3. Dan: For example, I didn’t think any of the main characters were compelling enough. I was particularly let down by Felicity Jones as Jyn. She had none of the charisma that you need to carry a movie like this.

Christy: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The speech she gave at the end gave me chills. I adored her. When she was watching the message from her dad? I felt for her. I loved all the characters they introduced. I loved how they interacted and how they bonded over something they believed in quickly. This movie had to introduce so many characters in a short time and have a story, too. I think we watched different movies because I thought all the characters were great. I am a big lover of all the droids, but K-2SO was amazing. Oh wait, you talk about that next.

4. Dan: On the other hand, I did like K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) and Ben Mendelsohn as Director Krennic, who was just the kind of sniveling and scheming toady that I’m sure the Empire was filled with.

Christy: I agree with this point. However, I thoughts Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso was amazing, too. And Diego Luna’s Cassian grew and developed as a character. Krennic was great. I loved to hate him, which is one thing that I think The Force Awakens was missing. Kylo Ren was just a punk to me.

5. Dan: That Grand Moff Tarkin business was badass. Even though you could see the seams in the CGI, it didn’t matter. It was just so damn ballsy. Besides, someday that tech will be perfected and they can always go back and fix the effects. Oh, wait, maybe not …

Christy: I was thrilled at Tarkin being in the movie. Period. We had a discussion on the way down to the movie about him. I loved him as a character, well, hated him but loved him. Tarkin had such a great face and I thought this movie did a great job with him. I know Peter Cushing is dead. I also know this is a movie (however hard I wish it wasn’t) and the character isn’t “real.” So, I can overlook a little CGI problem. They handled it the way it needed to be handled.

The original

6. Dan: Princess Leia? I loved it but she was more awkward.

Christy: Again, ARE YOU KIDDING?!? I was shocked and thrilled at this. It made me squeal. SQUEAL!!!!

Christy and her special princess friend

7. Dan: I think the problem with this movie is the same problem the other prequels had, which is that you already know the outcome. So then it’s about the journey. And if the journey or the characters aren’t compelling enough, the inherent tension is lost.

Christy: I would NEVER put this movie in the same category as the prequels. I enjoyed the journey. And even knowing that the plans get to the rebels, I was so nervous that the transmission wouldn’t get through. That tells me something. That tells me that they are doing a good job telling a story.

8. Dan: So what you’re left with is a lot of connecting-the-dots. Or maybe Bingo. Yavin 4? Check. Tarkin? Check. Old-school Stormtroopers? Check. And so on… That stuff is awesome but I just wish the rest of it held together better.

Christy: I loved the blue milk. I loved Gold Leader. I loved the dudes from the cantina. I loved seeing Bail Organa and being crushed when he said he was going back to Alderaan, and smiling so hard it hurt when he mentions how he “trusts her.” OH! And when he talks about his old friend, a Jedi. YES!!  I can’t wait to see it again to see what I missed.

9. Dan: Now, that said. Those scenes were truly exciting and heartlifting. When I saw Yavin 4, I actually yelled out, “Yes!” I’m sure the others in the theater must have loved that. Same with Tarkin and the rest.

Christy: That was great. But I really do think we saw different movies.

10. Dan: I really appreciated Darth Vader As Killing Machine. The climax of Return of the Jedi and the prequel trilogy gave him a tragic sheen (even if he did kill all those kids). Ultimately, I think all of that actually diminished him. People forget just what a monstrous villain he was really supposed to be — and the scene at the end of Rogue One was a visceral reminder of his viciousness.

Christy: Seeing Vader and his lightsaber was perfect. We agree here. I am trying to decide what music I am going to play from now on when I walk into a room. I want to be that awesome!

11. Dan: I will say this, though. Rogue One did a better job than the original Star Wars in showing the awful impact of the Death Star. As popcorn-eating moviegoers it’s easy to forget that in the first movie, an entire planet is annihilated and it’s just part of the action. I’m as guilty of that as anyone: We have a Death Star USB port in my kitchen. This movie made the Death Star more horrible by showing it from the ground level. The movie also did a really good job showing how awful and oppressive life under the Empire was.

Christy: The Death Star is one of the stars of this movie. Seeing it at the end when Krennic looks up at it, perfect. And I have that USB and also it’s the topper on my Christmas tree. But I never forget its power. I also think Rogue One made the Death Star even worse when we find out that it’s powered by kyber crystals mined on Jedha. It’s that much more sinister knowing that they were destroying the Jedi temple to get them.

12. Dan: Polar point: Where was the humor? Again, Star Wars movies succeed when there’s humor. They don’t succeed when they’re self-serious. Star Wars itself, at its core, was the same story as Rogue One: Get the plans to the rebels or the consequences will be dire. But there was so much more humanity and relatability in the original.

Christy: One last SERIOUSLY?? What was K-2SO? There was so much humor. What about the cantina dudes? I laughed so much. Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe were also great. They made me chuckle more than once. When they put the bag over Chirrut’s head and he says “Really? I’m blind!” is hilarious.

13. Dan: Finally, we learn why the Death Star would have that pesky vulnerability. Yes!

Christy: I loved this. I loved it was Stardust. I loved that there was a really good reason why this was vulnerability was there. When I was little (and pretty much up to last week) I would think about why they would have that issue. I always thought there had to be a traitor (or to me a good guy!) in the Empire because how could they possibly overlook that. So, yeah, this explains it and does a great job.

Watch the movie again, Dan. It was terrific. I got to experience another Star Wars movie with my friends and my kids. I’m an Original Trilogy gal, but I loved The Force Awakens a lot and this movie was especially amazing for me. It goes in the win column. From “Rebellions are built on hope” to “May the Force Be With You,”  I loved it all. With or without a crawl, this was an amazing Star Wars movie. And I know Stardust will now ALWAYS have a different meaning to me. I can’t wait to see it again on Saturday at the IMAX. 

For the complete STAR WARS WEEK Index, click here.


Author: Dan Greenfield

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1 Comment

  1. I’m surprised Dan compare it to the Lucas prequels. I find them to be utterly terrible due to story and script issues despite the awesome special effects.

    I dug the hell out of this film. The CGI faces took me out of the story a bit but I never felt bored with the film. If anything, it made me feel like a kid again.

    I laughed, action was top notch, the characters were engaging and the story was good.

    What made me like this more than THE FORCE AWAKENS is the originality of the film. TFA was exactly like the original STAR WARS film — orphan on desert planet who has a great destiny while being chased by an evil man with a cape, dark helmet and lightsaber, the Death Star active and destroying planets (again), death of a beloved character just before the end, etc ( I can go on).

    This film respected the original trilogy while being its own film. It filled in details to make the next film (STAR WARS) that much more fulfilling. This is what a real prequel is and this director and the writers certainly schooled Lucas in that sense.

    I’d definitely see it again.

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