Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Film Review

I am one with force, the force is with me.

I would argue there are only a few things you’d never expect many Star wars fan to say. Chief among them being “The prequels were good”.  Well this was one hell of a amazing prequel.

Writers: Chris WeitzTony GilroyJohn Knoll & Gary Whitta (story). Director: Gareth Edwards. Runtime: 2h 13min.

I’m a firm believer in not seeing trailers for films I REALLY want to see. I’m glad I did that here. Everything about this film was great from start to finish. It’s easy to make comparisons to the format of this film. It does follow a format of the “Hero’s Journey”. It also could be argued that there’s some level of it being political. Though I feel the later stems from our own fears of each other rather than having real merit to the claim. But that feeling of it being one remains. With all that said I still loved everything about this film. I loved that it had all these different ways of receiving the motion picture. I think as far as films go this year, that are in the nerd/geek culture, it was the best of the year. I loved that we got to finally see a world were most if not all the hope was gone, where everyone felt like this could very well be the last day alive and in many ways, it was. People are willing to do almost anything to stop a tyrant. Throughout a bulk of the film the feeling of any optimism is lost. Nothing about the first half of the film feels hopeful. Which is fitting since the sequel to Rogue is called A New Hope. The highlight to this film is Vader.

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Vader is who he is. But if you’re strictly a fan of the “Original Saga”(OS)  then this was the film you have always wanted to see. In the OS, Vader was badass, but he never fought like one. Just kinda did stiff fencing moves. He was a Villain of the times and technology. But that’s also part of his charm in those films. I do think its safe to say that this movie got the one thing every Star Wars fan hoped for, right. A Vader worthy of his name’s reputation of why he is, and will always be, the greatest villain of all time. When He came on screen the 8 year old me was overjoyed. Every. Single. Time!

There is a lot of conceptual material for these Star Wars films generate that don’t get used as part of the overall narrative. Sometimes they show up in later mediums like shows, novels or comics. This film builds on that truth. SPOILER. That unnamed planet is indeed Mustafar. There’s a lot that film makers can build upon from what I’ve seen and read. However, that is for another day.

This film is refreshing for every aspect of what makes up a movie. They took our modern day look of tech and mixed it well with that old desperate look of the OS. The film achieved a happy cohesion between the actual Prequel Saga and the OS. Shout out to the production coordinator.

 

The few issues I have with this film were the timeline of events. For Instance the two trouble makers in A New Hope show up on an ill fated planet. Though this was annoying I did appreciate it as a fan. but as a critic and film buff it really just through me off. Additionally, I wanted more Vader. But what good thing hasn’t been the victim of someones greed?
I feel as though everyone was well casted minus Forrest W. He is a fine actor, but I feel like his contribution to the story was rather pointless. like that weird squid thing that he used on the rogue pilot… only to have him have NO effects of it later felt like a giant waste of about 30 mins. Definitely the most under developed in the film. I feel since he’s in both the rebels and Clone war cartoons, they used him hoping people knew about him. but I feel like that was a mistake on their part.

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With the recent passing of Carrie Fisher, the final 20 mins of the film felt like such a great way to send her off as. In no way was it meant to be that way, but it felt nice knowing and seeing her in the manner we do in the end. Her face brought this feeling of hope that she will forever be known for in this series.

Leia has to be the strongest of all the Skywalkers.When you think about all she’s had to endure and how she’s remained so full of hope, its hard to not picture her as the strongest considering everyone including her kid has lost their way to some extent at least once… chief example of this being her Father, Anakin.

Bottom line:
To see this movie is love it. It’s dark, its fun, and K-2SO is by far the best droid since R2-D2. if ever you wanted to see the other side of Star Wars out side of the Skywalker Saga, wanted to see the most bad ass Vader scene of all time. Wanted to feel the desolate feeling that part of the galaxy experienced during the Empires reign, Then look no further. It will surely leave you feeling hopeful at the end like you don’t already know how this ends.

  • Overall rating of the movie: 9 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 8 out of 10,
  • Editing: 10 out of 10,
  • Audio: 9 out of 10,
  • Acting: 9 out of 10,

Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? DEFINITELY see it in theatres… Then at home. No need for Imax. It is better on a bigger screen.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: the “LEW System”

 

Dr. Strange:Film Review

Dr. Strange.
It’s officially the best time to be a comic book, movie loving, nerd. Of all the secondary, second tier, silver/bronze age heroes from comics… we got the best of the mystical controlling characters of the said mediums on the silver screen.

Director:Scott Derrickson, Writers:Scott DerricksonJon SpaihtsC. Robert Cargill, The cast Run Time:1h55m

Dr. Steven strange was reportedly created to reach the mass few who delved into the psychedelic, paranormal mind altering activities or the few who got there from vice favoured substances. Over the years he’s had books launch and cancelled and has even switched roles for a time. He even served as an ‘Avenger’ as recent as B.M.Bendis’ run on the aforementioned comic title.

Whatever your reason for liking Dr. Strange as a character, he has always been more of a lurking in the background character. Which works to his benefit as seen in this film.

Director Dickerson, Cumberbatch and Co, treated him and his story in what felt like two halves. It felt as dark and gritty as the Netflix stuff with his origin/ first 40 or so minutes and then more like the Marvel films, dubbed MCU, has been known to have.

This may or may not be a spoiler but I thought it very interesting how on the surface they kept everything, namely his injured hands, in the foreground. I thought they would’ve had that healed up by the half mark. But for the dramatic effect of his character it was one of his core challenges. (Side note: has Cumberbatch always had a lisp?) Cumberbatch did a great job from being a dude with his head up his ass to learning some humility. Its reminiscent of the first Iron Man & Thor film. Though as fun as the jokes were. I just feel it could have done with less but that’s just my strict personal opinion. After seeing the trailer above you’d think there would’ve been a darker tone to entire film. For me it takes me out of the dire need to save the day if you’re constantly laughing.  In no way is it a comedy, but there’s just a few too many on the nose jokes for My liking. Let serious moments be sometimes.

I think its cool how even though he could have ended up like Johnathan Prangborn in the film, he was so amazed by this new world, that he gave up the life style he had in NYC to become something more.

Chiwetel, I feel, out acted Cumberbatch and arguably everyone else. But not  in a better or for worse way; Just in more sincerity to convince me/the audience on his take of his character, MordoMads Mikkelsen’s Kaecilius was very under developed though. He has his moment of explaining his plan to Strange, and he begins to cry, and for the life of me I couldn’t fathom why. I get his mind has been opened, but I did not care. the best core acting scene was between McAdams and Cumberbatch in the “I don’t need your pity scene”. Additionally I felt like Christine was poorly developed as well. I think this movie could have used an extra 30 minutes.

A shame the film was shot in the manner it was as they opted for a more thrilling ride than arguably stronger shots. I think they should have pushed for some pop shots and to tease us with some other parallel known universe, from the comics, when he was traversing time and space.

His transformation from pretty boy doctor, to desperate man, to sorcery supreme was very well crafted by the hair makeup and wardrobe/costume departments. Every characters look in the film felt authentic and probable for the universe and the individual franchise. The amount of colour that came from each frame of film, especially during the astral planes of existence. It’s arguably 2nd for all time colour film of the mcu*. The production value for what we got was pretty great. Only wished less green screen was used for more of the films simpler things.

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Bottom line:
It’s a good film but the character development was missing either in the edit suite or the actual script. There could have been some great moments but I feel as though the powers behind these films are pulling too much of the strings to give us great films. I’m happy they made this movie as it helps pave the way for more riskier characters to be given the light of day. I just hope the next one gives characters like Mordo, Wong & Christine more to do.

  • Overall rating of the movie: 7.3 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 7 out of 10,
  • Editing: 7.5 out of 10,
  • Audio: 5 out of 10,
  • Acting: 8 out of 10,

Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? fun in Imax especially with the Dormammu stuff. it will be a worthy add to any collection of the MCU once its hit home viewing.

*(Avengers for 1 and a tie for 2nd between GotG and Dr. Strange for most colourful)