Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it.

There's nothing like a surprise ending in a film. You're sitting there, comfortable in every sense of the word, and then bam! You get blindsided in the best possible way. You look at the person next to you like, did that just happen? and you almost want to run out of the theater to immediately talk about it.

For me, The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects are two examples of films that basically made my life...by damn near ending it. And while I'll always love an unexpected finale...

...there's something to be said for the direct opposite.

It doesn't matter what galaxy you're in, nor your proximity to it, even in space, war is Hell. In the first of likely many, many Star Wars Stories, Gareth Edward's Rogue One eschews the good times, adorable droids and cherished nostalgia of The Force Awakens [review] and shines his lightsaber on the dark underbelly of the Resistance. For those looking for a more serious Star Wars film, these are the Droids you're looking for.

Wait. That doesn't make sense, does it?

What does make sense, like, in every possible way, is the exceptionally reverse-engineered story of episode III and a half. Maybe you serious types might have some quibbles with some of the finer plot points, but from my seat in Auditorium 1, everything checked out (and stop being such a dick about everything, okay?)

Galen Erso, is a principled/handsome family man living a quiet life on a remote planet. Unfortunately for Erso and his family (but fortunately for the rest of the galaxy that enjoys being alive) he's also a badass scientist and engineer. And when he's recruited by the Empire to help build an enormous weapon, his small family is quite literally torn apart. But what looks like a sad ending...will turn out to be something worse, actually. Much worse.

While I feel like being spoiler-free is all kinds of ridiculous at this point (guys, it's been six days), it's safe to say that this mission isn't going to end well. And while we basically all saw that coming as soon as the story was announced (though my son swears that a certain beach-going couple totally survived), what may in fact surprise you, is how quickly you'll care about this rag-tag team of domestic terrorists.
Her name is Jyn Erso. Her name is Jyn Erso. Her name is Jyn Erso.
Without the magic of The Force, absent the borderline invincibility of being Jedis, Jyn Erso and her melting pot crew instead take on the Empire armed with a couple of blasters and infinite faith. Not so much a belief in a higher power, no, but instead a belief that in order to save the people and the world they love, they'll have to pay the ultimate price. While movie heroes tend to risk their lives for the cause, it's exceedingly rare we actually see them give them up altogether.

Speaking of predictably sad endings, how about we close this post with the Yays and Boos? We're not sure we can handle a yearly Star Wars film, but if they can somehow always feature Donnie Yen, well, the more the merrier.

Easily my favorite people in the universe.

  • When the Death Troopers initially arrive at the Erso compound, my son absolutely read my mind as he leaned over and whispered, they parked far away, huh?
  • Ah, speaking of, whatever the Hell that sound coming out of the aforementioned Death Troopers was, put me down for Yes, please.
  • K-2SO, despite being a droid, can totally smell what The Rock is cooking, dropping one a Hell of a choke slam.
  • Dude, double hi-five for Ponda Baba making an appearance. And at this point? He could still give you one.
  • The Empire has tanks? Why was I not notified ahead of time. I would have brought more pants.
  • Galen's level of commitment is impossibly honorable. I can barely muster up the energy to go to work to do a job that I wholeheartedly believe in, while Papa Erso fully commits to something he doesn't. Well...sort of.
  • Is it bad that I thought the first exploding planet was kind of....beautiful?
  • It doesn't matter how old I get, I will never ever tire of dogfights in space. Ever.
  • Also on the list of things I can never see too much of? Darth Vader. Doing, well, anything (but especially force choking cocky a-holes, naturally). Oh, Ani!
  • Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang, looking like a more-refined Dog the Bounty Hunter) is a Hell of a shot. 
  • I wanted to stand up and cheer for those guys that listened to Jyn's speech and silently nodded along. These dudes get zero glory but kick infinite ass.
  • The streak is alive! Every movie! Well done, you two. Well done.
  • I hope, one day, to be as happy as that one X-Wing pilot guy after they took down an AT-AT.
  • Extracting data never looked so cool. 
  • So, the next-first thing I want to tattoo above my junk? Two words: Hammerhead Corvette.
  • Speaking of, I'm a huge fan of the fact that in Rogue One, the best way to destroy something is by using another one of the things you're trying to destroy: see also, Stormtrooper, Star Destroyer.
  • Everyone walking the planet who has seen this movie knows exactly what I mean when I say The Hallway Scene. Two minutes of pure heaven, right there.
  • And finally, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe. There have been many blind men in films. There have been many badass men in films. Hell, there have been many blind, badass men in films. But what Yen brings to Imwe, is something that needs to be seen to be believed. You know what, you don't even need to see it, really. Just believing will do...
Yep. It doesn't get much cooler than this.
(well, unless you can hear them 'talking', then it's much cooler)
  • Mrs. Erso, please! Stay out of this!
  • People might tell you this is a dark film, and they're right. Literally.
  • Okay, so Grand Marf Tarkin kinda creeped me out. A lot. Bonus jeers, for the fact that I didn't even realize what I was seeing at first (I thought, Damn...that guy looks just like him!)
  • What the Hell was with that Thought Feeling Monster? I think Newt Scamander is looking for that ugly bastard.
  • I know that we needed a little levity, sure, but honestly, I thought K-2SO was kind of a douche.
  • Preemptive Boos! Wait, what?
    • Thanks a lot, Tom Cruise. That trailer for The Mummy terrified my son. Damn splitting pupils...
    • Opening night had a pretty high super-nerd ratio (and this is coming from the guy taking notes...in a Captain Phasma notebook...). The guy behind us, all forty-nine years of him, was dressed in a fairly lame X-Wing Fighter Pilot...uh, costume? Ticket Guy had to tell him, You can't wear your space helmet in the theater. Like, one adult had to say that to another. And mean it.
  • Anyway, where were we? Oh, right. Even in the gritty Saving Private Erso, we're still treated to Stormtroopers whose aim is infinitely worse than a blind guy's.
  • Jyn's speech wasn't exactly rah-rah, you know? More like ruh-roh, when you think about it.
  • There's a pretty high number of dramatic lever pulls that tightropes unintentional hilarity near the end.
  • And finally, the lady in white. I thought for a second it was just going to be her back, and I think I was going to be okay with that. Nope. They totally went for it. Yes friends, this is the first time in my life where I desperately wished they hadn't gone full-frontal. Those eyes!
Even if you already know exactly how something's going to end, sometimes the journey alone makes it worth it. Take this post for example. You know it's going to end with some lame joke that desperately attempts to tie it all together, right? Of course. But even though that joke won't be funny, and the connection basically incomprehensible, you're still unbelievably psyched that you read everything else, you know?

Or, more likely...you're feeling the direct opposite.


  1. "What the Hell was with that Thought Feeling Monster? I think Newt Scamander is looking for that ugly bastard." - LOL omg that line is amazing.

    I had so much fun with this. Not as much as TFA, but I want to see it again already. Even if it was soooooo depressing.

    1. That thing was terrifying. I'd rather be violated by those giant monsters from The Force Awakens than whatever the Hell this was.

      I'm with you. I liked it. A lot. But TFA was sooooo much fun! This was like...the best funeral ever.

  2. I am so sad we didn't get to spend more time with those Death Troopers, they are BAD ASS. I'm with Brit on wanting to see it again, especially because of how depressing it was. But when I do see it again (Boxing Day - yay!) I'm taking your Yays and Boos with me, because I genuinely laughed out loud for most of them!

    1. Right? Those Death Troopers were the best. I steal squeal when I think of how frickin' cool they were. Definitely need more of them. Maybe in Rogue Two? Please?

      Hahahaha...I can't wait to see it again either. I'm excited because I won't have to take my stupid notebook....that's a big Yay right there!

      Happy, er, Boxing Day? (is that what people say?)

  3. I just want to see a blockbuster where Mads doesn't die. What the hell, Hollywood?

    1. I'm pretty sure it's federal law here in the states, Mads getting killed in the end. But it seems with this one, it didn't really matter who you were or what country you were from. In Rogue One, you're f--ked.