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Creation Date: March 1st, 2010 07:15 PM
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Musings of a Knight of the Imperium.
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In Moot Member Blogs Rogue One thoughts Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #572 New June 28th, 2019 11:13 AM
So, I saw Rogue One in the theatres like a lot of other people. I didn't think too much of it, but neither did I dislike it. I suppose my one observation of it is that it was very dark in tone, and it felt like the same people who wrote the Blade Runner sequel also wrote Disney's new Star Wars' film. That is to say the graphic novel feel and story structure (lots of self referencing and odd quirky moments that don't belong) were apparent in Rogue One. So was a lack of spontaneity and exploratory magic that is associated with artists who create worlds for us to explore.

Rogue One lacked Lucas's touch, and as such felt like a "what if" Frank Miler or Stan Lee had written a Star Wars' screenplay. And so it was that I shrugged my shoulders at it. I mean after I saw it I chagrinned, thought to myself if the first original Star Wars' movie was truly a children's film (and no, it wasn't in spite of the labeling by the artist as such … recall all of the pop culture for adults that had Star Wars' themes at the time, including the infamous Holiday Special that featured old school Hollywood actors in spinoff of an independent film), and hen drove home and forgo about the while thing.

I don't know what it is. Even when I saw the Star Wars "prequels" telling Vader's back story, I really got a sense of wonder as an adult seeing the marvelous imagery on screen. I didn't like the story. In fact I thought the story was hokey. I didn't have any feelings regarding Jake Lloyd, but did think that his role as a would be potential jedi protégé seemed odd. I mean, if someone has that kind of "command of the force", wouldn't the academy put him in a reserve corps or something just to make sure he didn't fly off the handle as he eventually did? But I digress. Rogue One, as I left the theatre that night, felt like a film for the die hard Star Wars' fan who watches the films repeatedly, and buys all the paraphilia and what not. But as spectacular as it was technically and visually, I couldn't help but get the sense that it should have been a film that appealed to everyone, and this movie didn't strike me as that.

The cynical (and probably correct) side of me says that this is Disney establishing itself as the new monarch of the Star Wars' kingdom. Do away with whatever other backstories were created by authors who had been allowed to contribute to Star Wars in the past, and just stomp on their art and stories so the Mouse can rule the roost. No more Timothy Zahn novels (no, I never ready any of them), no more Kyle Katarn from the Dark Forces series, no more Cindel and her time on Endor with Wicket, and all that other stuff. And yet they still sell all of the books, comics and everything else created in the last 40 years or so.

Esther Williams, an actress who did a lot of water follies themed films for Hollywood, rode water skis, dove (dived?) into swimming pools on stages, and did all kinds of antics that by today's standards seemed kampy or kitschy. Spectacular but also silly for the sake of spectacle. And that's how I view Rogue One, and to some extent the Blade Runner sequel. You have these massive productions that put on the pretense of being something other than what they are, when in fact they are simply visuals to tell a story. But with Rogue One I really got a sense of … er … not milking the franchise, but creating something that was so-so, and really didn't need to be--kind of like George Lucas's SW prequels. They were interesting for what they were, but unless you were really into Star Wars, and bought into the whole spiritual message, or liked the soap opera aspect of the Skywalker family and how their lineage dictated the course of galactic society, then I really don't see a need to explain Vader and his issues with the galaxy.

I didn't dislike the prequels, but again, I thought of them as I thought of Rogue One--interesting, but on the whole not really compelling. And any dislike I had for the prequels was by the fact that the original Star Wars' films were geared towards everyone. Truly General Audience (or PG) films that all ages could enjoy. And by all ages I mean all ages, because typically "all ages" means "kiddies" in commercial product vernacular. But not this time, or at least not for the first films. But the prequels were truly geared towards the kiddies of the 90s, and not aimed at all of American and International society. That did bug me. And it bugged me because it meant more sociological manipulation … and I can only guess at why that was, but will refrain because I don't want to get too PO'd here.

So, back to Rogue One. Interesting but unnecessary. And, to be honest, a possible cash grab for the Mouse as more action figures, comics and whatever other spinoff products were created in the film's wake.

So, I didn't get a sense of wonder. The film wasn't that compelling. It crushed all the other "origins' stories" for all the other characters and aspects of the SW-verse, and, to add insult to injury, the film opens up with shaky cam shots. That alone should have warranted a thumbs down from me, but again this is Disney's Star Wars, not Lucas's nor Fox's, so .. whatever.

That, and the film's tone is dark, desperate, and tragic at the end.

I guess the best way to encapsulate this log entry is that I didn't get a sense that this film was made for me and others. This film was made for, dare I say it, the loyal die hard fans and for Disney itself. If I understand correctly Walter Disney could be a bit of an a$$hole at times in spite of his good natured on screen presence and otherwise affable nature. Eh, okay, fine, who doesn't have a bitter side to themselves? But Rogue One strikes me as the kind of thing that … I think Walter Disney might have approved of, but perhaps with a gentler and kinder hand as he brought Lucas's creation into the Magic Kingdom. I can't help but think of how he contended with the authoress of Mary Poppins and some of the other works that Disney bought over its decades of existence. And how he "Disneyfied" the properties, but didn't "stamp" the Disney name on the property for the sake of showing how it was his and his companies property. And yet Rogue One has that "Disney stamp because this is ours' now" domineering aspect to it.

I don't know. I guess in the end it doesn't matter. But it sure does feel like as more fiction gets put onto the mediasphere for consumption, that the more it gets manipulated from the author's intent for the sake of appeal and establishing legal dominance.

But, like I say, the film wasn't made for me, and I guess that's my best summation.
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