I know that not proclaiming love—nay—adoration for Star Wars will upset people reading this review. People are alarmingly reverential about Star Wars, and critiquing it will net you surprising levels of hostility. Glancing at the front-page user review that greeted me on IMDb:
“I feel like the void left in my heart by episode VII has been filled now. 14 December 2016 | by dorteel (Aalborg)”
Wow—“void left my heart.” I wouldn’t say that I have a “void” so much as I feel something missing. I fill it with work, relationships, people, and reading, but this guy chooses Star Wars. So, is Star Wars really that good?
No, no, no. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a muddled and lengthy special effects show filled with a thin plot and even thinner attempts at characterization. Riz Ahmed’s character wears a pair of goggles strapped to his forehead for the entirety of the movie (even after he leaves the desert where he’s first introduced). He’s a character with no personality, so they try to conceal this by giving him a costume. It’s like that goateed, fedora-wearing guy you sometimes see at comic book shops. He thinks wearing something weird on his head somehow gives him personality. He thinks he should be a “character,” not a person. He also wonders why, deep down, things from childhood don’t really make him happy now like they used to.
The whole production is lifeless, bland, boring, and borrowed. There are multiple pull-away shots of busy hangers featuring people reloading ships and the like. I’ve seen sequences like these done much better in Pacific Rim (a movie I recommend over this one) There are also multiple scenes of the players walking through crowded market streets, but all I see during these moments are actors in masks and baggy costumes. The “troll market” scene from Hellboy 2 did this better as well.
I keep scratching my head, wondering about Star Wars’ appeal, and the answer is depressing. This generation has been infantilized. George Lucas, creator of Star Wars himself, has stated that Star Wars is for children: he’s very right. What’s scary is that media created for children—like superheroes and Star Wars—is enjoyed mostly by grown men. Go on, ask a Star Wars fan anything about the SW universe and they’ll surprise you with names, dates, locations, and enough information to flesh out an entire wiki. Then ask them why Ahab can be considered a hero, how Hamlet can be considered a villain, the capitals of different countries, the root of the Ukraine Crisis, or how a telephone works, and they’ll fall completely silent. What’s even scarier is that both Star Wars and Marvel are owned by a single corporation. Disney. Is a slave a slave if he doesn’t know he’s a slave?