Now that, I’ve seen the movie three times, I feel well-versed enough to do an in-depth analysis. This in-depth analysis is the Spoiler edition, for those of you who have seen the movie. If you have not yet seen the movie, here is the link to the NO spoilers edition.
The characters were masterfully done. The biggest complaint I have heard about Rogue One is that the character development is lacking. I COMPLETELY disagree (especially given that the characters of Rogue One only have one movie to develop as opposed to the usually three movies for most Star Wars characters), and here is why for some of the characters:
Jyn Erso- This was my favorite character by a wide margin. Disney inserted their typical female lead without going full-on feminism (like they did with Rey by giving her ALL of the abilities required in the Star Wars universe). She is HIGHLY relate-able because she really grows through her relationships in the movie, particularly her relationship with her father. When he gets taken from her as a young child, she loses her direction in life. That’s why she starts the movie as a criminal. She is also asked by Saw Gerrera, “You can stand to see the Imperial flag reign over the galaxy?” Her response is simply, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t look up.” That is the ultimate statement of ignorance and indifference that could easily be developed by a lost child, who grows up without a father figure to guide her. When she goes with Cassian Andor to Eadu, she goes simply to find her father. However, when she holds her dying father in her arms, he tells her to stop the Death Star. That is when she gains focus and joins the rebellion. This newfound purpose is so strong within her that she sacrifices herself for the rebellion. The story of Jyn Erso in itself develops the character so well, but when you add in the performance of the character by Felicity Jones, which was EASILY the BEST and MOST PASSIONATE acting performance I have EVER seen in a Star Wars movie, I would argue that Jyn Erso is the most well-developed character in the entire Star Wars universe.
Cassian Andor- The character of Cassian is almost entirely developed by Jyn Erso. While Cassian holds the rank of ‘Captain’, at the beginning of the movie, he is entirely a soldier. In his first appearance, he meets up with a man who informs him of the defection of an Imperial Pilot. When Stormtroopers interrupt the meeting, Cassian shoots them and his informant to avoid any witnesses ‘For the Rebellion’. When he teams up with Jyn’s caring character, he learns that sometimes, orders shouldn’t be followed because they are the wrong thing to do. Doing the wrong things for the ‘right reason’ is what makes him a soldier. His shift in perspective begins when he opts not to shoot Jyn’s father, and is completed when he completely disregards the Rebel Council’s decision in favor of trusting Jyn, and accompanying her to Scarif to retrieve the Death Star plans. I particularly like Cassian’s character because he highlights the dark side of the Rebellion. While the Rebellion may be the ‘good guys’, they are still committing acts of war against the Empire. War leads to many dirty deeds committed by all sides of the conflict, and it was nice to see that highlighted even amongst the ‘good guys’. It really begs the question: Is is acceptable to do wrong things for the right reason?
Bodhi Rook- Bodhi was the defecting Imperial Cargo Pilot. His character was also well-developed. He actually reminds me a little bit of Finn from The Force Awakens. When the movie begins we are told that Bodhi has defected, much like TFA opens with Finn’s realization that he is on the wrong side of the war. When Bodhi’s character actually shows up on-screen, he is scared and confused about what he is doing as he is trying to deliver Galen Erso’s message to Saw Gerrera, as if he still is conflicted about which side of the war he should really be on. However, when he is united with Jyn and Cassian and sees what they are doing, he realizes that he made the right choice after all, and becomes more confident about what he is doing. This is exemplified in two particular instances: the first being when he shoots at and kills several Stormtroopers during the departure from Eadu, and the second being when he runs through the firefight on the landing pad on Scarif to get to the shuttle and relay a message to the Rebel fleet.
All of the main characters in the movie compliment each other well. In addition to the connections between the three characters I’ve mentioned above, the other three characters which are ‘main’ characters in the story also add a very important aspect to the story:
K-2SO- Is the reprogrammed Imperial droid. Not only does he provide the necessary role of being able to plug into information terminals (like R2-D2 is able to), but he also provided comic relief and showed extreme loyalty. He follows Cassian almost everywhere, including following him into Jedha City to protect him, despite being told otherwise. He also sacrifices himself to allow Jyn and Cassian to complete their mission on Scarif.
Chirrut Imwe- Is the blind Kyber temple guardian. The character of Chirrut kept Rogue One grounded in the Star Wars universe. While there are not Jedi in this movie, he reminds everyone that the power of the force still flows through ALL living things. Few characters symbolize the Star Wars story as well as Chirrut Imwe.
Baze Malbus- Is another Kyber temple guardian. His character is similar to Jyn’s in that he has lost his way. Chirrut says of Baze at one point that, “He was once the most dedicated guardian of us all.” When the Imperials started raiding the Kyber temple, Baze had nothing left to guard and therefore, he lost his dedication to anything. As he makes friends with Chirrut, Jyn, and Cassian, he finds a new dedication in being the guardian of the people around him.
Least Favorite Things
Now that I’ve gushed about the perfection of the characters, it’s time to be critical. Here were the things I didn’t like about Rogue One, in no particular order:
- Darth Vader’s pun. Are you ****ing kidding me!? This is STAR WARS!!!! There aren’t supposed to be puns in STAR WARS!!!!!! ESPECIALLY coming from a SITH LORD such as Darth Vader!!!!!!!! “Don’t choke on your ambitions.” Was Vader REALLY referring to Director Krennic, or was he talking about Disney? You better check yourself Disney! That was an even worse mistake in the Star Wars franchise than Hayden Christensen’s acting! Yeah, it was THAT bad.
- The music. This definitely wasn’t the worst of the bad things in Rogue One. Don’t get me wrong, Michael Giacchino is a phenomenal composer, but he’s no John Williams. The good news is that he is the only composer who is even remotely close to John Williams’ league. But why couldn’t the title of Rogue One be accompanied by the traditional Star Wars main theme. It may be a standalone movie, but it still isn’t special enough to be worthy of its own theme song.
- Galen Erso. I didn’t like this character at all. It’s not that the concept for the character was bad, necessarily, but Mads Mikkelsen just couldn’t pull it off. It was actually sad to see arguably the biggest name actor in the movie struggling so much with a background role. His performance just wasn’t passionate AT ALL. The words he was spewing to Jyn when he was telling her about how he thought of her were not accompanied by the emotional depth that should have been there. Essentially, his words felt empty. Mikkelsen is definitely better at playing the villains in movies.
- The side-effects of Borgalik. I probably butchered the name, but I’m referring to the caged creature that Saw Gerrera uses as a lie detector on Bodhi. Saw says that, “Borgalik will know the truth,” and that, “an unfortunate side effect is…one tends to lose one’s mind.” Shortly after this, when Cassian, Chirrut, and Baze first meet Bodhi, he actually does seem to have lost his mind, as he is generally unresponsive when they speak to him. However, 30 minutes later (in real time), he’s back to having all of his pilot skills and he remembers all of the details about how the Empire works. If you’re going to include the line about the side effects, you’d better show the side effect. However, in this case, the entire scene with Borgalik probably could’ve been cut out. It wasn’t really useful for any reason in the grand scheme of things.
- Saw Gerrera’s oxygen mask. I was repeatedly distracted by the fact that it kept moving randomly up and down Saw’s torso every time the camera cut to and from him during the same scene. I know this is kind of a ridiculous complaint, but it was a minor continuity error.
- The cameos. This movie was allowed to have its own story, but it still couldn’t resist tying itself to the other Star Wars stories. I was fine with the Darth Vader, Bail Organa, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Princess Leia cameos, but there were still three that bothered me: the blue milk (which was in the Erso’s house at the very beginning of the movie even though they weren’t even on Tatooine!), the cantina patrons (Jyn bumped into them on the street in Jedha City and they were the same ones that Luke got into a fight with in the cantina in A New Hope. They must have been headed to the spaceport when they bumped into Jyn because that is about the only way they could’ve made it off-planet before the Death Star destroyed Jedha City), and C-3P0+R2-D2 (They were totally unnecessary. Though, I suppose Disney wanted to continue the trend of those two being in every Star Wars movie. The question is: Did they really deserve a place in Rogue One OVER the Star Wars main theme?).
The Darth Vader ending scene. That scene made me SO excited because we finally got to see the full extent of the dark side in him. That is the ONLY time in the franchise that we get to see him mercilessly slaughter a group of people, as a Sith Lord should. He never does that in the original trilogy (probably in an effort to keep the ratings down) and, while it is stated that he slaughters many Jedi and younglings in Revenge of the Sith, that never really gets any screen time. It was refreshing to finally see the truly evil, dark side of Darth Vader. My favorite part was when he forced one of the rebel soldiers to the ceiling and sliced through the soldier while he was still forced to the ceiling. He did that with such ease! The lightsaber ignition lighting up his shadowy form was a nice beginning to that scene as well.
That’s all for the in-depth analysis and TheHaysWay now. I might add some more when I find more to talk about in future viewings. As always, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, along with a much-appreciated like. Become a follower to avoid Darth Vader’s wrath. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.