Hey, guys. This is Dash Jordan, I would just like to say a few things before I begin this review. We all know how much of a cultural impact the Star Wars franchise was and still is. So, of course, it comes as an utter shock to know that the world has lost one of its greatest heroes. Carrie Fisher was more than just the woman who played Princess Leia Organa in ‘Star Wars’, she was one of the most beloved and important figures in film history. When people try to complain that there are more male heroes and action stars than there are female heroes, I would usually try to bring up Carrie Fisher as well as a few other names, and then proclaim, “Quality over Quantity”. An even greater shock was finding out her mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds had passed away just a day later. We’ve lost a lot of amazing performers and icons this year, but I think it’s safe to admit that this was one of the most tragic, if not the most tragic losses of life we’ve seen. So, I would like to take this time to say that my heart goes out to their family, friends, as well as any actors and filmmakers who may have had the privilege of working with these women. In honor of two of cinema’s greatest on-screen and off-screen heroes, I will not only be dedicating this review to the late, great Carrie Fisher, but I’ll also be dedicating this review to her late mother Debbie Reynolds, as they are both home and can never be separated again. Carrie, you may have been a Princess in a galaxy far, far away…but here on Earth, you were the Queen. We will miss you, Carrie Fisher. Rest in peace.
Hey, everyone! It’s the Dash-Man, this has been one hectic year, hasn’t it? Have no fear, we’re just counting down the hours where we can all collectively tell 2016 to go straight to Hell. That’s right, it’s almost time to ring in the new year. Before we end things here in 2016, I got one more thing I’d like to give you all. Think of this as both a late Christmas gift and as a way of putting up with me this year. I’ll tell you guys this much…the Force may very well be strong with this one.
…I got a good feeling about this.
‘Rogue One’ is the 2016 sci-fi action/war flick directed by Gareth Edwards. Instead of following the main plot of the Star Wars franchise, this film focuses on a crucial subplot that helps set the events of ‘Episode IV: A New Hope’; making this film both a prequel to the Original Trilogy and a sequel to the Prequel Trilogy. ‘Rogue One’ is currently #1 at the box office; making over $680 Million worldwide and receiving critical praise from both critics and fans. The one disturbance I feel in the Force, however…is that some people consider this movie to be better than ‘The Force Awakens’. Yeah, umm…
Now, before you guys go nuts and kill me like I was George Lucas after the prequels, let me explain. This movie is not bad. It’s not even average, it was friggin’ amazing. From an aesthetic point of view, it was just a stunning film to look at. The sheer attention to detail was spot on, in my opinion. Nearly every set piece and prop in this film felt like it belongs with ‘A New Hope’. The amount of dedication put into such an ambitious film like this is something that I truly admire and I commend the people in charge of set design, as well as the people in charge of cinematography and editing. Oh yeah, it was more than just the sets and props. Certain parts of this film included a couple of deleted scenes from the original film, which may have looked odd years ago. But, with today’s technology, the filmmakers were able to clear up the look and grain of those clips so that they fit better with the cinematography of this film. You have to look REALLY hard to tell the difference between the old and the new.
Okay, maybe not that hard. Anyway, I’ve talked about how impressive this movie is from an aesthetic point of view, but what about the story itself? First off, I will admit that making a film like this and still call it ‘Star Wars’ was pretty ballsy when you think about it. What do I mean? I mean, very little of the lightsaber battles and mysticism that had become synonymous with the franchise. Instead, focusing more on the actual war and a little more of the human element of the franchise. Not to say that ‘Star Wars’ never had that human element because it does, but this was different. We’re not following the Jedi and the Sith like we did in all the other films. This time, we get a deeper look into the soldiers of the Rebel Alliance who steal the plans of the Death Star from the Galactic Empire; which sets up one of the major plot points of ‘A New Hope’. Much like any good war film, there’s more to it than just a darker tone and cool-looking action scenes. The best thing about this whole movie is the characters because you grow to like them all. You fall in love with them, you identify with their flaws, and you hate to see them go. Trust me, with a story like this, I’m really not spoiling much. Sorry, River.
Speaking of the characters, I already talked about how well they’re written. But, just because they’re written well doesn’t necessarily mean the acting was good. Thankfully, the film graced us with some truly great actors. Including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Forest Whitaker as Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, and Saw Gerrera, respectively. It was especially interesting to see Saw Gerrera featured in this movie as the character was previously featured in the ‘Clone Wars’ TV series, which also helps the film’s universe feel even bigger. As far as my absolute favorite characters from this movie…first, let’s start with martial arts star Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe.
Well, guys…it looks like we finally got what we’ve always wanted. Donnie Yen in a major blockbuster. FINALLY! Donnie Yen has been an international sensation for years. In this movie, he proves that there’s more to him than just his martial arts prowess. Not to say that his fighting scenes weren’t awesome…they were. Chirrut Îmwe is your classic blind swordsman. Not much is known about him, all we know is that he believes that he has a strong connection with the Force; despite the fact that he’s neither a Jedi or a Sith. Is he a Force-sensitive? Or is he just a crazy and gifted old man? That’s up for the audience to decide, as there’s plenty of mystery and charm to the character to keep you guessing. As far as my other favorite character…that’s easy, K-2SO(played by Alan Tudyk)
With a film as dark as this one, it was great to know that there’s still a bit of comedy. Thanks largely to Alan Tudyk’s delivery as the reprogrammed Imperial droid who fights with the Rebellion. From ‘Firefly’ to ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’, Tudyk has always left an impression. Every time he’s on screen, I’m laughing hysterically. Great job, Tudyk…as always.
Hm, somebody’s happy. What made truly happy though was the music. Remember my argument about John Williams’ music in ‘The Force Awakens’? Don’t get me wrong, the music was still beautiful, just not memorable. ‘Rogue One’ on the other hand, has a score that’s both beautiful and memorable, in my opinion. Primarily due to the job of film composer being handed to fellow Jersey boy, Michael Giacchino. The man has made such amazing music over the past couple of years and has already become one of my favorite composers. Much like his work in ‘Star Trek’, ‘The Incredibles’, ‘Jurassic World’ & ‘Inside Out’, Giacchino does not disappoint as he offers a listening experience that adds brand new elements as well as paying tribute to John Williams legendary score.
Now, there is one more thing I must talk about. That being the controversy surrounding the CGI used for Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia. I could understand why people are upset about having another actor doing a Peter Cushing impersonation while his face is digitized to look like the late actor. Even though the actor who did the voice did do a pretty good job, I can admit that there were some parts of the movie that may have exposed him a little too much. This minor nitpick would’ve been a major problem if it wasn’t for two things. One, the filmmakers did ask Peter Cushing’s estate permission to use his likeness and they gave them the okay. Two, this movie takes place just before the events of ‘A New Hope’ even start, so it makes sense to include Tarkin to help stick with the film’s canon. I can see why it may be a problem for some people, but it’s definitely not enough to take me away from the film itself.
As for the young Princess Leia featured…I don’t understand the complaints made. This movie was finished before Carrie Fisher’s passing, so it’s nowhere near as tasteless as some people say it is. Personally, I thought it was a great introduction to the opening scene of ‘A New Hope’, as well as a very special and emotional moment given Fisher’s death. Amist the tragedy and darkness, the film still manages to leave you with just a small glimmer of hope. Just how every great ‘Star Wars’ film should end.
Now, why do I feel like I’m forgetting something? Seriously, it’s really bumming me out. I just can’t quite put my finger on it…oh yeah.
IT’S VADER TIIIIIIIIIME!!!!!!!!!!!! Call me childish, but I never forgave ‘Episode III’ for when I saw what they did to Darth Vader. But screw that movie! I’m erasing that memory, and THIS is officially the first time I got to see Vader on screen. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very, very, VERY long time. No nitpicks, no complaints, no nothing. Nothing but sheer awesomeness! This was truly a great moment for all of the fans, especially with the legendary James Earl Jones returning once again to do the voice of the iconic villain. This is Darth Vader at his best.
The film’s great story and acting are what truly what drives this film, but I still wouldn’t consider it better than ‘The Force Awakens’. However, I will consider this film and ‘The Force Awakens’ to be equals. Reason being, because I choose to ignore its minor flaws and bask in the glory of this film’s amazing score, effects, action, and set designs. Personally, this was a great surprise and a great way to introduce the new trend of annual ‘Star Wars’ films for the future. Highly recommend this epic, you won’t regret it.
Well, time is running out for 2026. It’s about damn time, too. Hope you guys will stay tuned for some more awesomeness. Until then…may the Dashforce be with you.
Written by Shane Moose
Special thanks to the three big F’s in my life(Friends, Family & Fans) for helping me get this far, pushing me to go even further and for putting up with me when I try going further than that. To hell with my limitations!
Videos & Photos:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story(owned by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures & Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith(owned by Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox & Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Trailer Park Boys(owned by Sunnyvale Productions, Swearnet Pictures & Entertainment One)
Doctor Who(owned by BBC)
Suburgatory(owned by Warner Bros. Television Distribution, Warner Bros. Television & Piece of Pie Productions)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope(owned by 20th Century Fox & Lucasfilm Ltd.)