In a fantasy far, far away, this movie does not exist. A part of me wishes I could live there. Another part of me foolishly enjoys bits and pieces of this short, feverish dream where a band of ROGUE assassins, pilots, jedi temple protectors, sassy robots, and wannabees with daddy issues come together to find the one floppy disc to rule them all! Well, to destroy the death star at least. You know, what episode IV is for? I have heard a lot of mixed reviews. Some love it, some hate it, and to be frank… I’m somewhere in between. I have heard a lot of “Well, you can’t be a REAL FAN if you hated it…” But come on. That’s bull. I’ve heard the same about episodes I-III, and let me tell you about that crap of a trilogy segment….Actually, no. That’s a whole other rant I don’t have time for. So let’s get to the meat. The good and the bad of all this and why I, personally, find this film to fall short of expectations.
THE OVERWHELMING CGI:
I just…can’t. I can’t get over it. At first, when Grand Moff Tarkin was introduced, I did take a step back and thought, “you know, I’m pretty sure that dude is dead…” Then, in one swift second, the illusion was shattered. For a moment he moves in a way that is not exactly human, and immediately – “oh I see what you did there…” And if they had left it at that, I would have been fine. It was a really great looking CGI. Problem is? They didn’t.
They were so confident in their CGI that they included close ups. Like super I-can-see-your-fake-makeup-on-fake-face closeups. It was mortifying and slightly insulting to my intelligence. His spoopy face lingered far too long than what was comfortable, and just when I thought things were okay or that I could deal with this fake man’s dead face, Princess Leia shows up to the party. Now, I have stared at that woman many times as a child, and I feel like even a five year old version of me would cringe at the sight of this dysmorphic creature. Once again, insulted. A young, beautiful Carrie Fisher (pre-drugs) is something to gawk at. This new CGI fail? A whole new reason to gawk.
Sure, I understand their reasoning for all the CGI. I do. And if you can do it slightly right (like Grand Tarkin), fine, go ahead. Just don’t get cocky with the closeups. However, if you are going to completely wreck someone’s face (like Princess Leia), then why? Why ruin a film that is otherwise visually stunning? That’s like tossing a pile of shit on the best ice cream sundae in the world. It’s tasteless and disrespectful.
Such. A. LET DOWN!!! I was looking forward to having a forward thinking, strong woman who just kicks ass for an entire film (ex. Princess Leia or Rey). Someone strong and bold and true to the Star Wars femme fatales…but what is this? What do I get instead? A girl with HUGE daddy issues who doesn’t want to do anything that doesn’t involve her father in some way. So all I get is a girl searching for a man’s approval? Now, I’m not the overly feminist type, but stereotypes like these do bother me. I was looking for more depth, more exploration of her psychi. Instead, I get a hollow storyline. What was she even doing before this part of the story started? Yeah, I get she’s in jail but what else? What else is there to her? Why does she not have more drive in the beginning? Her mother was killed by Orson Krennic’s men! Isn’t that enough to light a fire under her? Or does she need more people to die?
And then what is this awkward and slightly romantic tension between her and Cassian Andor? Did she forget that he was going to kill her father??? Her precious father she will do anything for? Or does it not matter because he’s like 1% cute? Sure, sure, he had this long formidable explanation… but I’m sorry. If someone I barely knew was going to kill my dad but stopped and decided not to…and then I found out about it…it would take a LOT MORE TIME for me to get over it. I’m pretty sure I would die in that explosion far, far away from him. Maybe I’m just being harsh…
Unfortunately, amidst all the rumors and speculations for this film, I came across the one that was right. The plot. I had this ruined for me about a month before the film’s release. Typically, I don’t pay these rumors any mind. However, this time I did because it made total sense. “They are going to explain why the death star has a giant flaw in IV.” Simple. Just like the film. Simple. Which for me, is a problem. For me, that tells me that I just spent three hours of my life watching people die over a fucking floppy disc. I feel like they could have literally just mentioned this in another movie. I did not need two hours and thirteen minutes to have this explained to me. I feel like they could have literally brought it up in VIII and I would have been fine. I’ll set the scene. Its towards the end of VIII, we are all still wiping our tears over Han Solo dying, and some extras are on the scene:
Remember when a bunch of people died getting plans to blow up something just like this?
Yeah, I’m glad I didn’t waste two hours and thirteen minutes of my life watching that happen!
And then they high five. End scene.
It’s not all bad, I promise. Here are some things I DID like…
SASSY ROBOT MAN K2-SO:
Alan Tudyk stole my heart in Firefly, and he did it again with this sassy masterpiece. Best. Robot. Ever. You got C3PO. Weak. Whiny. Rambles on and on and on… You got R2D2. Sassy, yes, but has got C3PO as translator… Then there’s BB8. Cute, tiny, rolls a lot… not much to say either. But K2-SO. Now. He’s got it all. With the smooth vocal stylings of Alan Tudyk, a new robot is brought to this vibrant story! He’s got everything you want and I cried the most over his death. What else can I say about this stunning assortment of metal?
This is the one thing I cannot get over. In a positive way, this time. So, so many beautiful shots that I could not google image into this post. A shame. Many instant classics adorned this scene (many of which I can recall being in the beginning and ending scenes). Wide angles, crisp backdrop and stunning focus… A true beauty. I would not be surprised if it snuck its way into the Oscars for some of their work… but NOT THE CGI!
Yes, I put something similar to this on the negative side. Maybe I’m just that low on positives for this movie… But the reveal! The idea that the main flaw in IV was on purpose. The idea itself is a sweet little nod to IV, and yes, it does help lead into the chaos of IV’s beginning scenes. In that respect, yes, thank you, that was kind… (Still didn’t need a whole movie on it, but whatever…)
All in all, it’s a pretty film to look at and I really did enjoy watching it and tearing it apart with my father over some lovely pancakes. He was the one who had introduced me to the series when I was still in diapers (something I promise I grew out of), and he is the one who laid into me over and over again about how I’m not a true fan for not liking it… So, I would say that if you are looking for more than just nostalgia – if you are looking for that hopeful, inspiring Star Wars film that stirs inside you something primal, this fails to meet expectations. BUT – if you are looking to just have some fun with friends or family who sat alongside you when you were young, viewing the originals in VHS format, go ahead and enjoy the nostalgia.