Sunday, March 12, 2017

Rogue One

I belatedly saw the film and didn't enjoy it as much as The Force Awakens. It was really slow and ponderous in the beginning. Plus it seemed to have a lot of nonsensical moments, like Saw Gerrera tossing the pilot in with that weird creature who was supposed to read his mind and/or turn him crazy. I mean, what was even the point of that, other than be gross? And why bother making it look like Saw was maybe crazy and not a good guy? His reunion with Jyn was initially tense, then began to warm up after seeing the holograph message, then Saw just decides to stay behind after the Death Star strike. So he'd prefer to die than join Jyn on her new mission? So incomprehensible.

SPOILERS BELOW, though probably everyone else has seen the movie already:

A lot of times, I didn't know half the characters names, because we didn't get them introducing themselves properly. They just showed up and joined randomly, such as the blind Asian guy and his companion Baze. I'm really annoyed to read that the Asian actor actually wanted the character to be blind. Why the fuck revive that stupid trope about the mysterious blind Asian monk that's awesome at fighting? I'm tired of that shit in the Kung fu genre and even the recent Marco Polo show. To entertain myself, I imagined that Chirrut and his friend Baze were more than friends, so that their death scenes meant more to me, like Baze didn't want to live without him. (I went into the movie knowing that everyone dies, so I knew that the ending was going to be a sad, noble sacrifice for the cause.)

The CGI Peter Cushing was eerie to me, and I'm still ambivalent about it. Plus, in light of Carrie Fisher's death, it makes me wary that they'll try to do that with Princess Leia in the next film after the last one she shot. They didn't even need CGI Leia in Rogue One. They could have shot the character on the periphery, over her shoulder, with her costume and her voice enough to suggest her identity. There was no need for the close up of her face, for a Star Wars fan to recognize her.

When the action finally picked up, the movie got a little better, and the Darth Vader scenes were nice. I enjoyed the attempts to have a diverse crew, but I was really annoyed by the Smurfette syndrome. Jyn was the only major female character, and all the other women roles were basically cameos. Even in the moment when a bunch of people volunteer for the suicide mission to Scarif, the entire crowd of a dozen nameless volunteers are all men. Not one woman volunteered? Fuck that shit. Sure, later on, there were a couple of nameless female fighter pilots, but that was it. This film was suffocatingly male, and again, I never heard the name of the woman wearing white at the Rebel Alliance meeting because apparently these details are unimportant.

Sure, The Force Awakens had Rey as the female lead, but with Leia in more scenes, and Lupita Nyongo's character (whose name I've forgotten) the world didn't feel like Rey was the only strong woman who existed. Rogue One was a total step backwards in isolating Jyn Erso as a special snowflake daughter, not one in a universe of other competent resistance women. In short, I was rather disappointed and dissatisfied with this Star Wars spinoff.

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