Rogue One- Disney plays it safe again

Rogue One. More like Rogue Crap, amiright?! (2/5)

For some reason I’m becoming increasingly disdainful about popular culture. It’s probably because it gives me a false sense of superiority over ‘the masses’. Actually scrap that, it most definitely is because I’ve created a smug sanctimonious cave on a hallucinogenic mountaintop where I stand and shout “Bow low for me, peasants! My tastes in film and music are much better than yours!”.

That being the case, everyone’s entitled to their opinion and I think that Rogue One was really shit.

2D/2-MANY (geddit?!) Characters

Rogue One has a lot of characters and I wasn’t led to care about any of them at all. Jyn, the main protagonist, had about as much character development than one of my weirdo heroes in my 2-page epic stories I wrote in year 6. Cassion Andor was as interesting as yesterday’s shopping list (I included Hot Cross Buns even though Easter is still ages away, take that Jesus). For some inexplicable reason a blind Hare Krishna monk and his red Space-Marine mate were thrown in. Then there were a load of other minor characters that all just stood around and murmured things at each other. Maybe the reason they were so two dimensional was because since they were all going to die at the end the film’s creators didn’t want us to become too attached? That’s my theory anyway.

Things that didn’t make much sense

There was a lot of this.  In the final act of the film, the rebels discuss how weak they are and how they’re not ready for battle. Yet they end up just doing this anyway. But even more confusing is that the rebels land with a stolen transport ship next to the Empire’s data-bank (it’s not as if the Empire would have marked that ship as stolen) with just a small number (we see around 10-15 soldiers) of rebels. Yet this small number seems to grow and shrink in size where necessary. Somehow, an entire garrison is unable to hold them off. Also, where did those shoe-horned AT-AT walkers come from? Also, how come a few ion torpedoes from A-wings can take down an entire star destroyer? Also only like five X-wings made it through the ‘gate’ and yet they caused havoc for ages (and seemed to grow in number?) even though there were endless numbers of tie fighters? Why didn’t the empire disable the transmission antenna (why was that even there?) at the top of the data-bank. Why didn’t they just station like two storm troopers up there? I know it sounds pedantic but hey, a nerd has gotta nerd.

I get that you’re supposed to suspend belief a bit, but there’s a fine line between an against the odds triumph and a battle scene that’s just beyond ridiculous.

Annoying things

CGI Tarkin- it looked awful. Why not just have a short sequence where he appears on a hologram- it would have been easier to have forged?

The cheesy Rebel-council meeting where they decided not to fight but they just went along with Cassion’s plan anyway. It was just so horrendously nauseatingly cheesy, “Hope hope hope!” bleughh.

Lack of moral ambiguity and darkness. Darkness is what makes good films great- it’s why The Empire Strikes Back is widely considered the best one. Don’t tease us with ‘oh the rebels aren’t that nice’ and then not show it! The character who I think would have been really interesting to explore, the rebel extremist Saw Gerrera, died pretty early on.  Why mention that he’s using extremist tactics but not deliver on that claim? A scene where he attacks some storm troopers but also causes large numbers of civilian deaths wouldn’t have gone amiss. Sanctimonious snobs like myself need some moral ambiguity!

Conclusion

Disney, unsurprisingly, played it safe again. We got safe characters, safe levels of violence, safe levels of darkness, safe plot twists, safe baddies and safe goodies. The plot was very safe as well. It was all packaged in a nice safe space-fantasy-romp suitable for the whole family and for the toys that they want to sell from it. Playing it safe is a disease that has infected all of the major studios, why take risks on a film when you can produce a generic action film that’s going to draw in the crowds and wow them with mediocrity. It’s an issue that is leading to an era of extremely forgettable films.