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Rogue One Analysis and Reflection

Beauty in Destruction

That's not a moon!

Rogue One has become one of the most popular films of 2016 and I’ve now seen Rogue One twice in the cinema and both times I enjoyed seeing this new take on a Star Wars story.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the film was the special effects, with the beautiful spectacle created by the Death Star destroying planets in total chaos a highlight. The Death Star looming over its next victim piercing through clouds and blocking out the sun in a forced eclipse was truly breathtaking. I found the special effects to be very grounded and believable, giving each world a different character and allowing my suspension of disbelief, instead of being pulled out of the story by CGI and green screen. For me, seeing new characters created and seeing old characters fleshed out through CGI freed up the storytelling, allowing the sense of anything being possible throughout the film. I feel this is badly needed in modern blockbusters that can be to often predictable and stale.

For example, more screen time with Grand Moff Tarkin showed what a ruthless and powerful influence he was for the Empire. I also enjoyed seeing Darth Vader’s castle and the breathtaking scene where he takes out a room of Rebel soldiers was a stand out. Both times I saw the film this scene gave me chills and made my hair stand up on the back of my neck. To see this Jedi who has fallen so far, his true power of death and destruction shown through using the dark side, beautifully highlighted what an unstoppable force of evil he has become.

My one big worry about going in to see this film was that the filmmakers wouldn’t follow through on the inevitable outcome and these new characters would survive the end of the film. It was a relief and deeply effecting to see these very grounded and real characters come to a tragic end. I found it gave a real power and weight to the ending as well as setting up A New Hope. I also liked how the main character wasn’t a Jedi or a Skywalker. Instead Jyn is a lost soul with a tragic past who is given a believable motivation to want to fight with the rebels.

I think Force Awakens can take a lot from Rogue One as I found J.J.Abrams' film entertaining but flawed. I found it to have slightly rushed editing and too many plot holes and elements recycled from the original series of films, especially A New Hope. However I did enjoy the new characters in The Force Awakens and this gives me great hope for Star Wars Episode VIII, as I hope there’s an even greater focus on Rey and Finn in the next installment. I also want more new characters being introduced to show more of this wild and wacky galaxy far far away.

My Rogue One analysis would bring up the following problems and narrative flaws. I was disappointed that some of the scenes were left out from the trailer, with a few great lines and moments not included that looked like they could have benefited the final film. I also feel that the flashbacks of Jyn’s earlier life could have been left out as I don’t think they added much and this information is conveyed throughout the film, like her father being kidnapped and forced to work on the Death Star. I think more time with the adult Jyn Erso would have benefited her character more. The beginning part of the film was also very jumpy, cutting across many planets to introduce lots of characters. This could have been slowed down to let the film and audience breath more.

A great example of new Star Wars characters and stories is the Legacy comic series. It follows Cade Skywalker, a descendant of the Skywalker family, who has given up his Jedi heritage to pursue a life as a bounty hunter. For me it gave free reign for the story, due to it being set many years after the original films and allowed the introduction of new characters as well as using running themes of family. Maybe leaning more heavily on the Expanded Universe could be the future of Star Wars. This has already happened with Grand Admiral Thrawn being used in Star Wars Rebels.

I hope Rogue One has raised the quality bar for the next Star Wars movies. In conclusion, I would say Rogue One is the Star Wars movie we not necessarily asked for but the Star Wars movie that we needed.

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