Liked it a lot -- more than "The Force Awakens", actually, which felt like, "everything you have seen so far was futile, we are back at the start of "A New Hope"." Endless recursions are fine when you are fighting a Time War and cannot ever get rid of the Daleks, but WTH is wrong with the Star Wars universe to get into exactly the same mess barely 30 years later? Couldn't it be a slightly different mess? Everything that movie did well was tainted by the basic futility of all that had happened before.
Not so with "Rogue One". It fit in perfectly, and while at the end the situation seemed more desperate than before (as in "The Empire Strikes Back", but without a Lando figure for a just-in-time double-double-cross) everyone knew that nothing had been in vain (until Episode 7, that is). Also, it was original and beautiful, a good action film with gripping action scenes, not suffering from the camera getting too close to see, visual effects which served the story instead of vice-versa, brilliant scenery and prop designs (best since LotR, IMO), reasonably convincing characters, acceptable dialogue, and a feeling of depth of place and time that "A New Hope" faked so well and which, after 40 years, has actually become real. Plus, amazing new visuals. "That is no moon!" -- yes, Obi-Wan. But it can cause a solar eclipse, and hang a pale three-quarters in the sky...
Yes, there were clicheés (can't do without them), there was weak dialogue (Jyn trying to convince Cassian that his orders were immoral when he had just disobeyed them), there was a zombie Peter Cushing who was even scarier than appropriate for the role, and Darth Vader moved a bit too springy.
But those are minor criticisms, especially compared to the underlying best thing ever: It tied up a moral problem and an about two by two metres plot hole with one neat ribbon. Someone must have thought about that exchange in "Clerks", with " All those innocent contractors hired to do a job were killed [on the second Death Star]!" What can you do if hostage taking or economic necessity or something in between forces you to build a Death Star, of all things? Build it not very well... Actually, sabotage by forced labour explains a lot about the buggy imperial tech. I wonder who made those storm trooper blaster targeting systems. But on a less light note, it also quite to the point in that while there might be excellent reasons to take a job with the Evil Empire, those reasons never make it a moral act to become, as bellatrys (on lj) put it a long time ago, "a janitor on the Death Star".
But no one in the movie is young or innocent anymore (except Jyn in the prologue), so everyone has had their reasons to take morally questionable actions (and quite a few are taken on-screen). And still it's not a Crapsack World. Because the actions might still count. Even if everyone dies at the end.
I also noticed that I did not have many opportunities to hear English spoken this year. It took me about five minutes before I could understand what everyone was saying.
Fred Clark of Slacktivist thinks about contract workers on the Death Star here without having seen the movie yet.
Something fun: Leaked photos from the Rogue One sequel (Mainly Speculation - Possible Spoilers)
Discussion on Making Light (Spoilers). It includes the mind-boggling line: "yet I hear people screaming to boycott the movie because suddenly it has an anti-Nazi bias.".
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