Is Rogue One really the first Star Wars movie to realize it’s about war? Why is Darth Vader suddenly making bad puns? What’s CGI [SPOILERS] doing in here? Can we talk about Jyssio for just a minute? And the 64k question: Did we NEED Rogue One? Welcome to Part 2 of our deep dive! And, as with Part I, SPOILER WARNING. If you have not yet seen the movie, bookmark this and come back when you have!
Me: We have to talk about Darth Vader.
Little Sis: Mhmmm.
Me: Were you happy with the amount of Darth Vader we actually got?
LS: No. Not really. We didn’t get enough. I think if they’d just put a LITTLE more, like maybe one more really good scene, that would have been enough. I wouldn’t have liked it if they had overdone him. But if we had just gotten one more, just a little bit more, come on!
Me: So what would you like Vader to do in the other scene?
LS: Oh, could he kill someone else? Or do a little more force-choking? I love the force-choking.
Me: Oh, one more. Just force-choke one more person, come on!
LS: One more pathetic bad-guy, puh-leeeeeeze!
Me: One more pathetic bad-guy. Yeah, oh man, poor Krennic.
LS: *I* don’t feel sorry for him.
Me: Sorry, but not sorry.
LS: I ain’t sorry, girl.
Me: He is pretty scary in the prologue, I will give him that.
LS: I thought he was gonna be a great villain. And I’m like, eh, not really.
Me: I know, I felt let down. I really thought he was gonna be this fearsome, intimidating guy.
LS: However, however, I think that the way they unceremoniously made him more pathetic, I actually liked that a little bit. Even though I thought he was gonna be bad, it’s kind of a nice surprise. “Heh. You’re not so tough and ruthless now, are you?”
Me: He’s lost in Darth Vader’s shadow, quite literally, from the moment… oh, by the way, that was a really sweet way to introduce Vader, I thought. The first time you see Vader is this giant shadow on the wall, just cast across Krennic looking up.
LS: [clump, clump] [Vader inhale/exhale]
Me: Well, did you notice though, that we actually did get a glimpse of Vader in his bath or something? When the robed figure comes in and says, “My Lord, Krennic is here.” That’s Darth Vader taking a bath.
LS: I didn’t notice that! I literally did not know that, wow!
Me: You didn’t put that together?
LS: No, I guess I wasn’t looking closely. Maybe I was trying to grab some popcorn I dropped or something, I don’t know.
Me: It shows him coming out, ummm, naked y’know. It’s very quick, but yeah, so, reminder: Darth Vader also takes baths.
LS: That’s hilarious. If I had seen that, I would probably have been snickering out loud.
Me: Yeah, I know, but boy, once he puts the suit on, he is not messing around. Okay, he did have a line that was super-duper corny, at the end of that scene where he’s force-choking Krennic, he says, “Be careful not to choke on your aspirations,” which is kind of a pun, because…
Me: “Aspirations.” Hahaha.
LS: I mean, at the moment I was like, “Oh, haha, that’s kind of funny.” Then later I’m like, “Eh, it wasn’t really that funny. That was kind of a bad pun.”
Me: Darth Vader doesn’t make puns. It’s like, “I came here to force-choke people and make puns. And I just ran out of puns.”
LS: Of good ones, at least.
Me: “Of good ones, anyway.” [giggling] I thought that was kind of ridiculous. BUT, but, but, but, but… the last scene. Oh. My. Gosh.
LS: I mean, y’know, I’m sorry all those people had to die. But that was a cool scene. Come on.
Me: I know. Oh my gosh, I mean, when the lightsaber came out…
LS: I know, I was like, “We haven’t seen a lightsaber yet in this whole movie, come on!”
Me: Yeah, and this scene was really Vader off the chain. We haven’t really seen that in the original movies. You do see it from younger Anakin in the prequels (which don’t exist).
LS: Nope, nope they don’t. *Sees bump under the rug*… nope, nope, they certainly don’t!
Me: Exactly, exactly. But Star Wars-era Vader, just wreaking… all hell breaking loose, is something we haven’t really seen until now.
LS: Now we know how his wonderful little grandson, where he got those anger management issues.
Me: Yes, yes we do. That was a great scene, because it shifts from, “Save us, save us, help us” to “Okay, just take the plans. Just take the plans and go, because we’re not getting out.”
LS: We are absolutely finished.
Me: We’re toast.
LS: Oh, and this is why we grease our sliding doors.
Me: [laughing helplessly]
LS: You never know when you’re gonna need some good old-fashioned grease on those doors. You don’t let them get stuck or old.
Me: Oh my gosh, that’s so funny.
LS: Really. You need to do that.
Me: [still laughing] Oh man. So funny.
So, I wanted to go back and give a little more love to Mads Mikkelsen as Jyn Erso’s father.
LS: Yeah, I thought he was a really good character, even though we didn’t really see that much of him. I mean, let’s be real, half of what we saw was through green-tinted binoculars. Or his dead body. Or his nearly dead body.
Me: Yeah, but boy, what a scene where the Allied bombs… it’s too late to call them off…
LS: And she’s over his body. That’s SO SAD! And the captain’s like “Come on, come on, we gotta go.” And she’s like, “No, no!” He’s practically dragging her off, it’s just like awwwwwww, that’s heartbreaking!
Me: Awwwww! It’s her daddy!
LS: I know!
Me: Man, yeah, I definitely got a little something in her eye first time I saw that scene in the theater. Yeah, everything about that scene was incredibly well done, just the tragedy and the pathos…
LS: Pouring rain.
Me: Pouring rain.
LS: Lights flashing. It was good.
Me: Even though I still maintain it was a bit of a stretch that the Alliance would be that obsessed with assassinating him. This was another plot point that was irritating me, because it seems like they would have figured out along with him that he’s dispensable. But, who knows, you know, maybe that wasn’t so obvious. And they didn’t know how far along the Death Star was either. In fact, it was so far along that it wouldn’t really have made any difference…
LS: Very true.
Me: In fact, he dies there, and it doesn’t make any difference, it just rolls along without him.
LS: But I think that maybe what this movie is trying to say is that even from the bigger point of view, “Oh that person died, okay, whatever he’s dispensable,” people like Jyn who lost their father will feel that. Those personal scars that are a big part of war, and a sad part… you will lose someone at some point.
Me: Right, that’s a good point. The Empire views him as dispensable.
LS: Because they don’t care.
Me: ‘Cuz they don’t care, they view everyone as dispensable.
LS: Except themselves.
Me: Well, the ones that are higher up on the ladder view the ones lower down on the ladder, on the food chain, as dispensable. And Krennic finds out he himself is very dispensable by the end.
LS: [cackling gleefully] I loved that though. He’s just like, “Nope, no one’s gonna come save you.”
Me: It’s such a fitting ending for his character, he’s looking up, and there’s the Death Star pointing right at him. And you can just see him thinking, “But, I thought… I was important…”
LS: “I was gonna get a first class jet to come pick me up!”
Me: Oh man, when Darth Vader’s walking away, he goes, “So I’m still in charge then?” Just… stop… digging. Put the shovel down.
LS: And shut your mouth, something you’re not used to doing.
Me: Oh my gosh, he’s so consumed with his own importance, he just craves that recognition. Boy oh boy, it’s harsh, but I have no sympathy for him whatsoever.
Me: Okay, so we got off on a Krennic tangent, but just to reiterate, I loved Jyn’s father, and I thought that his scenes provided some of the most potent emotional moments in the film.
So, Vox ran this headline last week that got made fun of quite a bit, it said Rogue One is the first Star Wars movie to realize it’s about war. I think that is an overstatement. You had Alderaan being demolished in the first Star Wars film, you had rebel pilots being shot down. And so I think that headline was overstated, and it kind of deserves the fun it got poked at it. But I think there’s a grain of truth to it as well, and it ties into what we’ve been talking about, some of the things that didn’t quite sit well with us about the film, like the blurring of the lines between black and white.
LS: The grey area.
Me: The grey areas. Also, I think the way the film was shot had a strong wartime feel. I’ve seen footage of the Iraq invasions and things like that, so making the one planet look like a Middle Eastern-type city, I think, was intentional.
LS: But I just had kind of a light-bulb go on here. Going back to the grey area, maybe the idea is that there are these character who have just been raised in a dark and “strongest survive” environment, and maybe that’s why they’ve been raised to think, “Hey you know what, if someone’s getting in your way, and you’re not gonna survive if you save them, kill them.” And I think that’s also maybe, maybe part of their point, like the sadness of war is that it changes people’s hearts to be kind of cruel, not like “This is who I am as a person,” but “I’ve been in this since I was a little kid, and this is how it’s done.”
Me: Yeah, but who trained him?
LS: I don’t know, whoever he was raised by. Maybe other Rebels who are sort of hardened…
Me: But that’s the point.
LS: What does it become that this person has grown up this way?
Me: The fact that he was clearly raised and trained by Rebels is still throwing the Rebels in this murky moral light.
LS: What are you teaching your children?
Me: Yeah, what kind of a rebellion trains its followers to be willing to murder their own informants? And yet, it’s like it kind of wants you to forget all that by the end, by the time they’re all jumping in and fighting together.
LS: And I did forget that actually, but coming back to it is important.
Me: Right, and there certainly are a lot of admirable characters, who… you know, we don’t see them do anything morally murky. I really liked, and this fits into the film feeling more like a war film, the scenes in the final battle reminded me very strongly of Pacific footage from WWII, with the beach and the landing ramps coming down and the soldiers running off. The way the soldiers were decked out looked like real soldiers’ gear, soldiers’ armor, and I loved that. I loved the way it made you feel like you were in the middle of an honest-to-goodness, boots-on-the-ground firefight.
Me: But again, this is partly why I think the headline was silly, because in the original Star Wars movie, that space battle was partly based on dogfights from WWII.
Me: So you definitely have that feel carried over, I think. People have also said that it resembles a war film because all our heroes die.
LS: [mournfully] No, no…
Me: And it’s like they’re part of this doomed band of brothers, or this doomed platoon, and their purpose is to die carrying out their mission.
LS: And I think that maybe in a way… maybe not exactly, but maybe it redeems them a little bit for anything that they might have done.
Me: You might say that, yeah.
LS: Even though I kinda have realized now that some of them are like, “Okay, you’re not as great as I thought you were,” I’ve forgiven you by the time you’re dying to save others. I mean, y’know. “Love has…. man has no greater…” I’m sorry, I’m forgetting…
Me: “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Me: Right. I do like that redemption that it gives them. And then one thing I wanted to mention is that I liked just the little, quick, even though it was quick, some attention given to the kind of nameless, faceless other soldiers that Cassian brings along. Even though we don’t get to know them by name, a couple of them have nice moments. So, you know, when they have to get to the master switch, the first guy who’s like…
LS: “I’ll do it.”
Me: “I’m going,” and then immediately dies.
LS: It’s like, you were willing to go out there! Awwwww!
Me: Aww, you were willing to! And you never learn that guy’s name, but he has a moment. And I really like that, because it does a great job showing just how many different, seemingly insignificant people gave up everything. And I feel like that’s very true to war.
LS: It is.
Me: If you think about how many soldiers in war…
LS: Just die. And maybe do something very brave, but guess what, they don’t get recognition.
Me: They just die quickly, and maybe they die trying to accomplish something that they can’t do in time, or they’re willing to do something brave, but they just die trying.
LS: They were willing to do it. That’s what matters.
Me: They were willing to do it, yeah, and that’s what matters. So there were many good ways in which this reminded me of a war film as well as the cons that we’ve talked about.
[pause, in which I search through my notes and say “Doop-de-do” and Little Sis points out that this makes the second time I’ve said “Doop-de-do” while leafing through my notes before taking matters into her own hands…]
LS: Can we talk about Jyssian for a minute?
Me: Can we talk about Jyssian? [giggling] Oh, of course! Yes, we can talk about Jyssian. What would you like to say about Jyssian?
LS: I ship them so hard.
Me: I know. Well, I feel like we didn’t get enough Jyssian.
LS: No, we didn’t! But from the moment they met, I was just like “Yep, yep.”
Me: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we had two meaningful glances, plus a hug.
LS: Maybe three if you count a really short one.
Me: Three meaningful looks and a hug.
LS: A hug. A HUG! I’m sorry.
Me: I’m sorry.
LS: I mean, I think I kind of understand a little bit where they’re coming from. They’re like, “Hmmmm, well, we don’t want to put anything too sexual in there.” They can kiss, I’m sorry. This is a PG-13 movie, we can get at least one cute kiss WHILE THEY’RE DY-ING!
Me: While they’re DY-ING for crying out loud. Come on.
LS: A hug. I mean, I’m sorry, that’s just so… you’re not even trying by that time.
Me: I know, and with such a beautiful music score for that moment, I thought, too. I mean, you’ve got everything else coming together at that moment. You’ve got this gorgeous shot, I think, the cinematography…
LS: Of death, by the way.
Me: Of death, the water, this nuclear blast coming across the water, beautifully shot, incredibly emotional music in the background, one of Giacchino’s best scoring moments in the film. And… they hug each other. Come on. I was robbed. I was so robbed.
LS: Just give some of those proud fangirls, like, okay, okay, like me, *clears throat*, out in the audience, something to “Squee” about for a few months. Give us a smooch, peo-ple.
Me: Please, please. Something. And, I mean, maybe the idea is supposed to be, “Well we didn’t want them to die as… a couple, we want them to die as friends.”
LS: How about friends who are, uh, one step up from friends, who are maybe realizing, “Hey, this is the last chance I’m ever gonna have to kiss you, ‘cuz guess what, we’re dying.”
Me: Oh, and by the way, a sharp-eyed reviewer caught some sloppy editing in that moment.
LS: You caught it too.
Me: Well no, the only reason I noticed it was because I was watching for it after this reviewer mentioned it. But it’s that in that moment…
LS: He looks over her shoulder!
Me: His eyes flick up and over her shoulder, and there is literally nothing there for him to be looking at.
LS: Like you said, the director probably yelled “Cut!”
Me: Probably the moment when the director yelled “Cut.”
LS: No! You’re supposed to be standing over her in some protective…way, I don’t know.
Me: Or having your eyes closed, or something, anything but looking like you’re glancing at the director. And so, yeah, I think that’s an example of something that wasn’t cleaned up in the hastiness of the rush to re-shoot stuff. The ending, among other things, had to be re-shot, so maybe that was one of those scenes. But man, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Sloppy cutting.
Finally, I think we’ll make this the last question, but it’s been debated whether we needed Rogue One or not. And it certainly ties up some loose ends for A New Hope, but we could argue it creates some too. So, what’s your verdict? Did we need Rogue One?
LS: Well, technically, we didn’t NEED Force Awakens, but I’m freaking out about VIII, okay?
Me: Haha! Fair enough.
LS: I mean, technically, they could have said “All right, you know what, we had the originals, we had the prequels,” which, by the way, do not exist. But we got that, and we loved it. I think that it’s also not fair to us Star Wars fans, if they hadn’t made this, we’d have had to wait until next Christmas, NEXT CHRISTMAS for Episode VIII! They’re trying to fill in the gap, they’re trying to keep us interested. And you know, they’re trying to be like, “Hey, come on, we’re gonna give you some more. Now, don’t you want to give us some more money for Episode VIII?” (I will, by the way. I will.) But, you know…
Me: Yeah, and I feel like this was a story that deserved to be told, for sure.
LS: Yeah, and I think it’s about that, because it’s a war movie, it’s about giving recognition to those people who died. I realize these are fictional characters, but you know, just giving that little piece of, like “These people died to get the plans for the Death Star,” and I think that we hadn’t really discussed that before. I mean of course, what’s-her-name was like, “Many Bothans died to bring us this information,” but it’s like, “Okay, one sentence!” That’s their epitaph.
Me: Yeah, exactly. Now, of course, that’s for the Return of the Jedi thing. But right, this really, it makes the sacrifice concrete. And it’s an exciting story. It’s a really good, good story. I’m just surprised that it wasn’t done any sooner. So, yeah, I think I agree with you. Did we need Rogue One? No, of course we didn’t need Rogue One, just like we didn’t need Force Awakens. But I sure am glad…
LS: I mean technically, and I know Star Wars fans are not gonna be happy, but George Lucas didn’t NEED to come up with the idea for Star Wars. I mean, we would have lived our lives…
LS: …But there would have been an aching hole in our hearts that is now filled.
Me: A Star Wars-shaped hole in our hearts.
LS: An X-Wing-shaped hole.
Me: An X-Wing-shaped hole! [laughing] Oh I love that, that’s a good line. So yeah, I don’t think I need to argue that Rogue One was necessary in order to say that it’s a bloody good show, old chap.
LS: Yeah, actually. I like that!
Me: It’s awfully, awfully good. It’s a great adventure, it’s a poignant war movie.
LS: But the way they handled it, it was a hopeful war movie. And that’s the point. It’s like they died, but guess what, because of them other people lived. And they lived free. I mean, that’s the point, they died for the rebellion. That’s what they did. That’s great.
Me: Yeah. Now, oh yeah, we didn’t really talk about the CGI Leia at the end.
LS: Uggggh. That was terrible.
Me: I feel like that wasn’t really necessary.
LS: It’s funny, I didn’t even notice, specifically, the CGI Tarkin. I mean, I was just sort of like, “Okay…” I didn’t even know the actor was dead, by the way. But the CGI Leia, I saw it right away. Her face isn’t even the same shape! Did you notice? Her face was longer, and I’m like, “No, no! That’s not… that’s not Carrie Fisher!”
Me: Yeah, I know, a human face is really, really hard. I think that scene would have been just as powerful if you’d just shot her from behind.
LS: And she could say the cool line, from behind.
Me: She could even say the cool line!
LS: She could be, like, looking out the window or something.
Me: Do another reflection. The reflections were cool. I liked what they were doing with Grand Moff Tarkin’s reflection earlier. Just do that for Leia.
LS: Well, just make sure the reflection isn’t terrible.
Me: Well okay, yeah that’s true, they would still have to do something like that, but it wouldn’t be as overt.
LS: Maybe you could kind of… show a little bit more of her buns. Like she could kind of look up from the card, and we could like, see some hair, I don’t know, but she could kind of look up and be like, “They sent us hope,” or something, and that would have worked great actually.
Me: Yeah, I agree.
So, I think the final verdict is Rogue One: Not needed but…
Me: Not needed but appreciated. We’re glad to have it.
LS: Oh, and we didn’t take a selfie in front of the really big display.
Me: That’s okay. We didn’t need to take a selfie.
[Here I showed her still shots from a “first look” at the “sequel,” aka A New Hope, and she totally bought it for a few moments.]
Okay, well thanks so much for going to see this in the theater with me… We’ll certainly be doing this for Episode VIII.
LS: Of COURSE.
Me: So stay tuned, everyone.
LS: A whole ‘nother year.
Me: A whole ‘nother year! Ugh!
LS: That’s too sad! Oh, what am I gonna do all that time?
Me: But you know what, I can make it.
LS: Yeah, it’ll be worth it.
Me: It sure will. All right, thank you.
LS: You’re welcome.
Thanks for reading!