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Old 12-16-2016, 09:40 AM
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Default This Thread Spoils "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

I can't believe the Death Star was a good guy all along.
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:08 AM
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Some initial thoughts:


1. Rogue One looks more like a traditional Star Wars movie than any SW movie outside of the original trilogy. The visual aesthetic is spot-on. The Force Awakens did more than a bit of heavy-lifting to re-associate us with the original look and feel of SW but RO goes beyond it. Part of that is necessity of course, considering the timeframe the movie takes place in. But Gareth Edwards could have skimped on some of the immersion and he didn't. In some ways, RO looks more like a SW movie than Return of the Jedi does.

2. Speaking of timeframe, I did not assume RO took place directly before A New Hope. I just assumed RO would take place in some nebulous time period that basically amounts to "a few months or weeks before A New Hope". I was not expecting that someone could take the beginning of ANH and splice it onto the end of RO and basically make a 4-hour film. That's the level of narrative continuity and I'm kind of amazed they pulled it off.

3. Violence in Star Wars movies has mostly been stylized and clean, for lack of a better term. There's very little of that here. While it isn't Saving Private Ryan, the violence in RO is much more visceral than what we're used to from a SW movie. There's quite a bit of on-screen death and destruction and it isn't entirely abstract. Remember the scene in TFA where the stormtroopers open fire on the villagers and Finn has his moral crisis? Imagine if JJ Abrams had shown that scene in detail, where we get to see the deaths on-screen. RO does that sort of thing and more.

4. When Darth Vader decides to dial it up to 11 at the end of the movie, it's a sight to behold. There is a viciousness and ruthlessness we haven't really seen before. Maybe it's the Ridley Scott Alien nod - the horror in the dark hallway - but it's easily the most terrifying version of Vader I've ever seen. In previous SW films, Vader looms large and imposing but there's a regality to his presentation. The scene at the end of RO has none of that. Instead, we see the monster, and it's glorious and chilling.

5. I appreciated the Peter Cushing necromancy but I still don't think the tech is quite there yet. Serviceable, yes, but I'm not sure I would have tried to pull it off. (The last scene with the CGI Princess Leia is more egregious; something with the eyes didn't look right at all. It's good work, sure, but, again, I wouldn't have tried to pull it off.) On the other hand, the performance is accurate to the character. Tarkin's presence feels entirely appropriate. Of course Tarkin would be on the Death Star, and the power struggle between Tarkin and Krennic is well done.

6. Speaking of Krennic, he was sorely under-utilized. Ben Mendelsohn can chew the scenery with the best of them and I wanted to see more. As a villain, Krennic comes across as fairly toothless; as a SW villain, doubly so. I understand the main villain is really the Death Star itself but it just seems like Tarkin (and even Vader) had more of an impact on the story.

7. I enjoyed the portrayal of the Alliance/Rebellion. The saga films tend to draw lines around who is good and who is bad, and I guess that makes sense as a mirror to Force, the light side and dark side. RO doesn't have to adhere to that and goes a different direction with it. Sure, we have our protagonists, but there's not a lot of shine to them. To wit, the Rebellion isn't always a shining beacon of goodness. There are consequences for waging war and doing what one has to do for notions of a greater good.

8. K-2SO: The best droid or the BEST DROID?
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
I can't believe the Death Star was a good guy all along.
I've not seen it yet, I'm going Sunday, but I popped in and saw this and only this. Fantastic opening to a thread, Bill, A+ out of 10.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:55 PM
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Default Why I Like Star Wars by Issun

This is my favorite character in Rogue One:



His name is Beardy Star Wars and I think he's who the series was named after and he looks cool because he has fur on his jacket. Also I think he shoots some stuff. Beardy Star Wars is the best.
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Old 12-16-2016, 01:07 PM
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I was a tiny bit disappointed that while they managed to replicate the look of Vader from A New Hope (red eyelenses!), he never really raises his voice much or shouted angrily at anyone as OG Vader did. I guess that while he looked like A New Hope Vader, the character was more Empire Strikes Back Vader.

Then again, I really loved his big awe-inspiring lava fortress, and the grandiose entrance he gets there. It really felt like the movie makers going "okay everyone, here he comes!"
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Old 12-16-2016, 01:56 PM
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I like the sassy robot
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:17 PM
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I like that Anakin lives on Mustafar and has toadies. It's an excellent bitter addition to his tragedy.

I dislike that the characters were shallow and vaguely motivated, but I like that it was constructed in a manner that minimized the need for depth and clarity.

I like the CGI heads.
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Old 12-16-2016, 06:41 PM
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I loved Donnie Yen.
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Old 12-16-2016, 06:47 PM
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I'll cross-post my late-night immediate impression dump in here:

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Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story impressions, hot off the presses:

Star Wars is eight for eight. It's possible Rogue One is a mess in ways that haven't occurred to me yet, and it's possible that it's brilliant in ways that I didn't notice the first time. I'm content labeling it a thrilling thriller.

Rogue One makes a good case for why they're keeping the anthology movies separate from the main episodes. It's the first Star War that isn't trying to be like Star Wars - the director plays to his own strengths rather than trying to play to George Lucas'. It's not just the style that's different (though ironically Edwards' photographic sensibilities are a lot closer to Lucas' than Abrams' were), but the entire concept.

Like, sure, okay, there was no opening title crawl, the score was a cubist reconstruction of John Williams, the space object flyby from the beginning is actually stationary and it's the camera that's moving, the characters are transparent and unconnected, there was no lightsaber duel, etc. But what's really different is that this story doesn't seem to have much to say about society. It's "a statement, not a manifesto."

The Death Star of A New Hope is hegemony, control, terror; it is the visual symbol of everything Imperial in that universe and the real one. The Death Star of Rogue One, on the other hand, is nukes, and the Empire is cruel men who are polite and clean.

Which isn't a bad thing. I only mean that the film looks worse when you make direct comparisons to Lucas. This is why it's good that it's doing its own thing! You try to fit it into the round hole of a Star Wars Episode and you're going to end up with a badly damaged square peg. If you focus too much on, say, the abandonment of the symbolic connection between spheres and the power of violence (hell, the grenades were cylinders this time out, not spheres, even though grenades and Death Stars end up serving parallel narrative purposes of being explosions that you just can't fucking do anything about (the last time a grenade showed up in Star Wars, it was also used for the same strategic purpose as a Death Star, but at that time it was a sphere)), you will overlook the sheer looming physical dread of the object, which was just extraordinary.

The most Lucasian part of the movie was the simultaneous A, B, and C plots of the climax - the infiltration of the data center, the land battle, and the space battle. It's not as tightly constructed as the masterfully paced equivalents from The Phantom Menace or even Return of the Jedi, but I doubt I'd have noticed if it weren't so similar to them.

It's the anti-prequel. It's a crowd-pleaser in a way no Star War has been since A New Hope. Pure movie magic, with cool heroes and vile villains and more derring-do than you can shake a stick at. You can see why George Lucas, once he was in the enviable position of making only movies he wanted to make instead of ones other people wanted made, didn't feel it necessary to tell the story of the Great Death Star Plans Heist, rad though it was. But, hell, I'm in a crowd, I like to be pleased.

Another prominent Lucasism was the use of cutting-edge special effects, not only employing them but using them specifically to do difficult things, often precisely because they are difficult. I wish to add my voice to the buzz around the maturation of the CGI facial simulation technology that they first started experimenting with in Tron: Legacy. Leia didn't need to show up at all, and Tarkin didn't need to have a big role, but they took that risk and it paid off big. Considering the cameos of members of Red and Gold Squadrons, I'm surprised they didn't have anybody from the Death Star boardroom show up.

If digital reconstruction-aided impressions of dead actors and much younger versions of live ones were to become a thing, I would not be in the least disappointed. It was a huge surprise to me that I liked Guy Henry playing Peter Cushing better than I liked James Earl Jones reprising his biggest role, and not because Jones didn't crush it like it was some idiot's trachea. Virtual cameos alongside the natural ones of Jimmy Smits and Anthony Daniels and the classic lookalike performances of your Genevieve O'Reillys and Ewan MacGregors. I confess to a slight disappointment that Ian McDiarmid didn't show up.

The biggest (by no means the only) thing Rogue One did better than The Force Awakens was the set design - amplified, fantastic environments, with an extreme vertical alignment. Getting that sort of thing requires a gregarious attitude to effects - using digital and practical together for the best outcome, not being preoccupied with the superiority of puppets or whatever. I rather think that the superabundance of planets was driven by a desire to include some more interesting geography and architecture than last year's astrobellum.

It left no loose ends, which is also different from Star Wars. They even came up with a diegetic reason why the rebellion was so dinky in A New Hope compared to its two successors: two-thirds of the Alliance had recently fucked off because they expected they were in checkmate, and it would obviously be a while before they fucked back on, and the remaining third got itself two-thirds destroyed in a desperate spontaneous clusterfuck of a Pyrrhic victory. I didn't expect it to take place literal hours before A New Hope, either.

In conclusion, the best part was that some guys in Saw Gerrera's hideout were playing the physical version of the holo-monster-chess game on the Millennium Falcon.
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:05 PM
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I walked out of the theater underwhelmed, despite knowing that I just saw a pretty good movie. But as the climax ratcheted up the action, I couldn't shake the thought that this brave rebel band were martyring themselves for nothing and that their story was inconsequential, because what ultimately destroys the Death Star is not just the knowledge of its weakness, but the divinely guided missile of the attuned boy-savior, like Apollo guiding Paris' arrow to kill Achilles or some other analogue from myth.

Because of that, I guess I just couldn't immerse myself fully into the drama. Not a big deal, I still enjoyed much of the film (Tarkin, the reused pilots from ANH [oh come on, no Porkins???], the general design work, Krennic, to name a few). But for me, someone who highly values Star Wars' mythical underpinnings, the Skywalker-shaped void was too big to ignore, even if that's a completely intended consequence of it being a sidestory.

Doesn't mean I'm not going to see it again tomorrow, though.
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Issun View Post
This is my favorite character in Rogue One:

That's no Luna, that's a space pirate!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
I like that Anakin lives on Mustafar and has toadies. It's an excellent bitter addition to his tragedy.
I want to think the Royal Guard is there as much to protect Vader while he's Suspended as they're there to keep tabs on him for the Emperor.

First couple of acts I was okay with the film, and it was a perfectly efficient, effective action film set in the SW universe. But from the moment the third act started, the movie soared. It became what is now easily my second favorite SW film, if not the. And holy shit whoever wrote the speech at the Rebel Council must be a time-traveler, it was so spectacularly on-the-nose for our exact sociopolitical circumstance right now (and Trump's "law and order" kept echoing whenever the Empire brought up the same sentiment. It's uncanny and frightening.)

Diego Luna, already a huge star in Mexico, is gonna explode now. If I were him, I'd send a big Christmas basket to his agent, wrapped in a nice, big, red Christmas car.

The only questions I'm left with are what the hell was Leia doing in an emergency Rebel incursion with high probability of failure (especially when her dad was just about to send her to fetch Obi Wan), and whether R2 and Threepio were summoned to the corvette after they watched the fighter fleet take off for battle.

Kay was best droid ;_;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eirikr View Post
But for me, someone who highly values Star Wars' mythical underpinnings, the Skywalker-shaped void was too big to ignore, even if that's a completely intended consequence of it being a sidestory.
And there's your explanation. R1 is more about the nameless, faceless soldiers for whom the Force is just a spiritual concept and to whom the Jedi have become as mythical as to be useless to their day to day reality. They're not larger-than-life Chosen Ones nor did they have the fate of the galaxy thrust upon them by the powers that be; they're normies who chose to take on that burden because they understand their role as part of something much greater than themselves. They don't know the Dark Side of the Force from the dark side of the Moon, but they compromise morally and ethically and do bad things for what they believe is good --the ultimate example being Saw Gerrera's borderline (if not outright) terrorists.

It's a different kind of myth, one that speaks more to the footsoldier than to the classical Hero.
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:43 PM
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I liked a lot of stuff about it but I felt like it kind of lost the thread about halfway through and it ultimately felt totally unnecessary. The scene in the rain after they crashed was scattered and unfocused. They all just kind of split up and do whatever for a while until the movie decides to get back on track. The vader pun hit me as extremely cheesy, and while it's interesting to show the rebellion in shades of grey, it was a weird fit for a Star Wars movie. Like the prequels and TFA, it had a few too many callbacks. They didn't need to run into the two dudes from the cantina. It was nice to see what's up with Vader and Jimmy Smitts before ANH, but it feels like it was adding more without really telling us anything new.

Still, in a lot of ways it was very well executed and it was mostly a lot of fun to watch. I need to let it sink in a bit.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zef View Post
That's no Luna, that's a space pirate!
I haven't seen the movie yet. No regrets. Beardy Star Wars 4 lyfe.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:54 PM
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The Vader pun came close to cheese but I think they pulled it off. As I've mentioned before, there's character consistency there. ("Apology accepted, Admiral Needa.") Perhaps the delivery could have been a tad better - more menace, less amusement - but it's not as if dark humor is beyond Vader.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:20 AM
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I was prepared for The Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare, and even Kelly's Heroes. What surprised me, and really blew my socks off, was Apocalypse Now and Black Hawk Down.

None of this is dismissive. I thought R1 was fantastic. Though I am curious to know what they trimmed after the "hey Gareth, lighten up" reshoots.

Thoughts:

The Star Wars are getting more explicit about their ethics as time goes by.

Saw is explicitly bin Laden, and his war ends once his peoples' desert home is looted of its last resources, then bombarded to satisfy a managerial dispute. We are the Empire.

Terrified, diverse, marginalized people, unified by their vulnerability, have to decide whether they will fight and die or live on the run. We are the Rebellion.

Memento mori, viewer. It isn't until the nameless trooper realizes nothing is going to save him from the Reaper that he has the presence of mind to hand the recording through the gap, into the hands of the equally doomed trooper who will move it along in his own turn. You are not the Hero, but you can be part of the greater work.

Eirikr: You're misreading Luke's actions and how the Rogue One rebels mirror them. Luke trusts the Force to guide his aim, just as the rebels choose to trust the Force to guide their martyrdom. It's like poetry. It rhymes.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by four-so View Post
The Vader pun came close to cheese but I think they pulled it off. As I've mentioned before, there's character consistency there. ("Apology accepted, Admiral Needa.") Perhaps the delivery could have been a tad better - more menace, less amusement - but it's not as if dark humor is beyond Vader.
If Ani comes across as a little childish here, it makes sense: He's yet to meet his son.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:28 AM
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I really enjoyed Rogue One: Suicide Squad and it's probably the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back for me.

Oh my god. Some actual cinematography. Handheld camerawork! Out-of-focus shots! Naturalistic scenery! Dim lighting! Perhaps a bit too dim. Someone needed to brighten it up a bit. But still! I can't think of another SW movie (besides ESB and some parts of RotJ) that is as visually great as this one.

The story was not too fantastic but it managed to be refreshingly different from the rest of the series and I liked its moral complexity.

The one thing I didn't like is that we had to have a scene with a CGI Leia (to go with our weird CGI Tarkin and Darth Vader) to connect all the dots because we apparently can't do that on our own and this has to lead up right into A New Hope instead of ending it with the death of Jyn and Cassian.

I have to be honest about one thing: I fell asleep during the scene where I think Krennic got his ass whooped by Vader for some reason. It was late, I was in a recliner and I was drifting in and out at times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
Though I am curious to know what they trimmed after the "hey Gareth, lighten up" reshoots.
I was definitely sensing this throughout, especially toward the end where we had to see Darth Vader slay a bunch of motherfuckers that reeked of fan service. (We know he can do this. He has killed and he will kill again.) I hope there is an uncut version in the near future.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:39 AM
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Saw Gerrera was first introduced in the Clone Wars cartoon. As I recall, Anakin works with him to invent terrorism and escalate a proxy war. You were saying something about Afghanistan, Ample?
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
Memento mori, viewer. It isn't until the nameless trooper realizes nothing is going to save him from the Reaper that he has the presence of mind to hand the recording through the gap, into the hands of the equally doomed trooper who will move it along in his own turn. You are not the Hero, but you can be part of the greater work.
Darth Vader/The Empire/The Death Star/The Dark Side is powerful and terrifying, but in the end, he cannot stop the Rebels from completing their mission, although they must do it through heavy sacrifice. The Dark Side isn't stronger than "The Force of Others". I love how that scene sums up the whole movie.
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Old 12-17-2016, 11:08 AM
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In honor of Rogue One I've changed my name to the best Star Wars character.
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
Saw Gerrera was first introduced in the Clone Wars cartoon. As I recall, Anakin works with him to invent terrorism and escalate a proxy war. You were saying something about Afghanistan, Ample?
Feels like some of this was cut. I like that he was all on resperator and cyborgy. We know what Star Wars thinks of that.

Anyhoo. This movie is gorgeous and the final act was pretty rad. But! Jyn's 180 seemed missing a few steps and the characters are all cool, but in a vacuum. Only Jyn and Luna seemed to mesh at all. Donnie Yen's bud calls her little sister at some point... but did they interact?

It has the exact opposite issues of TFA i think.
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:18 PM
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To hell with the episodes; if they can keep making standalone anthology films of this quality, I'll be happy.
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Old 12-17-2016, 02:23 PM
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It bugs me a little bit that with all the references, there wasn't one to Poggle the Lesser.
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Old 12-17-2016, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chud_666 View Post
Feels like some of this was cut. I like that he was all on resperator and cyborgy. We know what Star Wars thinks of that.

Anyhoo. This movie is gorgeous and the final act was pretty rad. But! Jyn's 180 seemed missing a few steps and the characters are all cool, but in a vacuum. Only Jyn and Luna seemed to mesh at all. Donnie Yen's bud calls her little sister at some point... but did they interact?

It has the exact opposite issues of TFA i think.
I scanned a couple articles and it looks like there were a lot of character bits trimmed at some point. Certain characters even had their motivations completely changed in editing - Donnie Yen's was one of them. The finished film suggests the streamlining was for the best, but the seams are still visible.

I suggested to my wife that this was the first Star Wars of the Trump era, but she countered that the film seemed much more informed by the Arab Winter and Syrian Civil War. Upon reflection, it's my cultural chauvinism that kept me from including those in the current authoritarian renaissance.
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Old 12-17-2016, 03:51 PM
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What motivations were changed? Donnie Yen sorta had none.
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Old 12-17-2016, 03:59 PM
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Donnie Yen was just following the will of the Force. That's all the motivation he needed.
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Old 12-17-2016, 04:38 PM
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It seems likely that in a recent earlier draft, Jyn was a current, willing member of Gerrera's faction.
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Old 12-17-2016, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
It seems likely that in a recent earlier draft, Jyn was a current, willing member of Gerrera's faction.
"This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel."
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Old 12-17-2016, 05:02 PM
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Saw it, enjoyed it. If the rest of the side-stories keep this level of quality, bring them on.

Agreed that this has the opposite problems of TFA. Rei and Finn are instantly likeable and relatable, but the cast this time around is hard-bitten and hard to love (except K2, of course). A few more quick scenes selling some of the relationships between the characters would have gone a long way, I think (Jyn and Donnie Yen come to mind).

Other than that, though, this is probably my favorite Star Wars movie since the original trilogy.

Calling it: The next stand-alone movie will explain how those two assholes from the cantina escaped the nuclear holocaust, and will focus on their zany misadventures foightin' 'round the galaxy.
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Old 12-17-2016, 05:11 PM
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The next movie is about Han Solo. It will feature him going it alone: Solo Solo - A Star Wars Story.
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