(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
Doug (vo): It's the first official Star Wars spin-off movie...well, okay, we've had a couple before, but... (Posters of the television films, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle of Endor, are shown) ...the first one to be shown on the big screen... (The poster for Star Wars: The Clone Wars is shown) ...okay, maybe this isn't as big a deal as I thought...but it's the first live-action one to be shown on the big screen. Star Wars: Rogue One focuses on the mission to get the secret plans that blow up the Death Star. Oh, thank God. I'm finally gonna see what a Bothan looks like. What? It's the first one? (Groans) Oh! I wanna see a Bothan!
Doug (vo): Okay, so, the story, as best as I can tell, because it is very difficult to tell because it jumps around a lot, a young girl's family is killed by the Empire. Years later, she grows up, gets captured by the Empire, but then gets saved by the Rebellion, and they offer her to join. Why? Because her father, it turns out, is the one who's designing the Death Star. While her focus is more to get him back alive, the Rebellion's focus is more to get the plans that show how the Death Star is made and how to destroy it. Being joined by a colorful band of characters...by characters, I mean one...okay, one-and-a-half...they set out to retrieve the plans, save her father, and, of course, die because you know exactly how this is gonna turn out.
Doug (vo): But that's okay. If they make the characters enjoyable and likeable, it'll be all the more tragic, and, uh...yeah, not really. Well, let me put it this way. The characters aren't unlikeable in any way. I mean, there's nobody that came onscreen and I just said, "Oh, God! Not this person!" It's just, well, they're all kind of boring...or...even just weird.
(Scenes focusing on Saw Gerrara, played by Forest Whitaker, are shown, as well as clips of several characters arriving at several planets)
Doug (vo): The person who raised our main character, I think raised her, anyway...again, not all that clear...not only has a very strange voice, but has a very odd scene with this squid monster that can read minds, and it never seems to go anywhere. There's a lot of scenes kind of like that, where people will kind of be flying from planet to planet, doing weird thing after weird thing, and it never seems to amount to much, mostly because while the characters' motivations are clear, there's not really that much charm to them.
(Footage focusing on three supporting characters, K-2SO, portrayed by Alan Tudyk, Chirrut Imwe, played by Donnie Yen, and Baze, played by Jiang Wen, is shown)
Doug (vo): The only two, like I said before, I actually do kind of remember are the robot, who, again, is snarky and comedic...I'm kind of getting sick of these robots. How about a robot villain? Didn't they do that in one of the LucasArts games? Anyway...and the other's this blind guy, who puts all his faith in the Force. Literally, all his faith. He lets it guide him, he lets him know where Stormtroopers are so he can whack them with a big stick...I guess the Ewoks could do it, why not him? (An image of the Ewoks fighting Stormtroopers in Return of the Jedi is shown) Big sticks! Watch out, Empire! And I almost threw his friend on there, too, who's always trying to look after him, but he really doesn't have much of a character either. His only likeable personality trait is that he knows this guy, and he's with him. I don't really know that much about them outside of that.
(Scenes focusing on the film's villain, Orson Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn, are shown, as well as footage of one of the villains from the original trilogy, Grand Moff Tarkin)
Doug (vo): To make things even worse, the villain is boring. You really feel like you could have given, like, this really creepy, disturbing kind of Empire villain, but...they just resurrect another one to do that. For some reason at the time, if you said the CG looked awkward, everybody just thumped on you, they couldn't believe that you thought that, but...guys, really look at this. It's already starting to become dated. Don't get me wrong. It's good, but there's still that uncanny valley there, particularly around the lips. Like a lot of people, I would've liked it more if you just saw his reflection in the glass, but if they want to do this all the way, okay. I guess it's kind of cool to see Van Helsing back from the dead, the more I think about it.
(Footage focusing on the film's cinematography and style is shown)
Doug (vo): But, okay, those are my problems with the movie, and, granted, they are big problems, but let's talk about the good stuff. This is the first Star Wars movie where I really felt like I was there. Something about the way they shoot it, something about the pacing, something about the way it really lets you kind of sit in these environments, it's not always shot really showy, it's shot kind of matter-of-fact. There's a really great shot when they see a Star Destroyer in the air, and it kind of tilts up, and you just really feel like you're looking at it from a great distance.
(Several of the film's action sequences are shown, mostly focusing on the film's climax)
Doug (vo): The action sequences are also legitimately good, especially at the end. These may be some of the best space battles that have ever been in Star Wars. Honestly, I think a lot of people's enjoyment of this movie is the final act, because the action is not only so good, but it's aggressive, and it feels real, it feels like an actual war movie. It is called "Star Wars", it's nice that it finally feels like an actual war. Also, I've gone on and on about how phenomenal this last two minutes of Darth Vader is. If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil a thing, just check it out. It's really awesome.
(Various clips resume showing)
Doug (vo): When this movie came out, audiences were kind of split, though not really die-hard. The people who disliked it didn't hate it, they just thought it was kind of generic. The people who liked it, though, loved the hell out of it. I sort of sat around wondering why that could be, and I think it finally hit me. Because the characters are not unlikeable or annoying or a pain in the ass like in some other Star Wars movies, and the fact that it's shot in such a realistic, war-like environment, I think people feel like they're putting themselves in those roles. They're left just blank-slate-ish enough that they can feel like they're really in the action, and the action is gritty and real. I think both Star Wars fans and action movie fans want to feel like they're a fly on the wall, either listening to this conversation by the Empire or feeling like they're one of the people running on the beach getting an adrenaline rush as things are firing at you. I guess it's kind of the Saving Private Ryan of Star Wars films, if you want to put it that way. And honestly, I'm totally down for that. I love those elements about this movie. I just wish that the characters were a lot more interesting.
(Footage focusing on the two main leads, Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, are shown)
Doug (vo): I wanted to want what they want, I wanted to fear what they fear, I wanted their passion, but it just doesn't look like they had any passion either. The acting is always so stilted and dry, and the dialogue is always very straightforward. I can go on and on about the personality of the original Star Wars characters, but these guys? Not so much.
Final thought Edit
Doug (vo): Still, I am kind of a sucker for really good environments and nice action, and, yeah, when the characters from other Star Wars movies do come in, it is kind of cool. It feels like it captures their voice pretty well. I like the idea of a darker, harsher Star Wars story, I just wanted it done more with people that you can connect with. And maybe that's why so many changes were made to the movie, as a lot of articles say. Maybe the characters were too likeable, maybe we did enjoy them too much. You know they're gonna die, and you want people to come back to this movie, so you shouldn't make them too interesting, just enough to feel sad, but satisfied enough to come back and see it again. But I don't know. I have no idea what went into making this movie. All I can comment on is the final product. And what we got is okay. The cool scenes are really frigging cool, you just got to wait through a lot of "OK" stuff to get to it. But I know a lot of people who love this movie, so maybe you'll be one of them. There's only one way to know for sure. Fly on in and check it out.
(One scene in the climax, showing Baze running away from a rampaging AT-AT, is shown)