Rogue One: Setting the Standard

In today’s guest post, Craig Joseph Pisani shares his views on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:

Disney’s renaissance of the Star Wars franchise began with 2015’s The Force Awakens, a fairly entertaining film displaying tremendous special effects with a familiar storyline and the merging of two generations of characters. The film doesn’t match up to the original trilogy but isn’t as awful as the prequels which I still refuse to admit are related to the Star Wars family.

Although not part of the numeral series, last year’s standalone installment, Rogue One, was the movie true die-hard’s had been waiting for. With the newest film, The Last Jedi, set to be released next weekend, let’s take a look back at what makes the two time Academy Award nominee feel like “Star Wars” again:

1. The biggest gripe across the Star Wars universe from the prequels will always be the enormous use of CGI. Jerome St. John Blake who plays multiple costumed characters in the film, including Mas Ameda, told me that many of the scenes he filmed in The Phantom Menace were 100% actors in front of a green screen. The fans know this, we can see it, and we can feel the lack of genuine effects you achieve from real sets. Rogue One included a great mix of CGI and actual location shooting to create a feeling in tune with the consistency of A New Hope. Co-production designer Doug Chiang said, “They were designed so that if George (Lucas) were shooting both of these films (Rogue One/Episode 4) back to back it would look the same.”

2. Creating likable characters isn’t always the easiest thing to do, ask Jar Jar Binks. Swiping a page from the Lucas playbook, the creation of an outspoken droid, K-2SO, works so well. Played by funnyman Alan Tudyk, K-2 can be described as a badass C3PO coming up with sarcastic and Debbie Downer remarks throughout the film at the most opportunistic moments. None better than telling Jyn he’ll be there for her, pausing, and finishing with “Cassian said I had to.” He’s a likeable jerk but when all was said and done did all he could to protect his human counterparts down till the last circuit shorted.

3. The final few minutes of the film gave us what we always wanted to see — Lord Vader being Lord Vader. Darth Vader, a beloved and iconic character in pop culture lore, had never been able to go “nuts” before. We had only seen slow methodical movements and light saber duels in the originals. It was the moment I thought would never come. I was hoping to see it but felt it wasn’t going to happen as the movie drew to a close. To my absolute pleasure that scene did take place as Vader slaughtered Rebels using the force and his red saber. Epic success and kudos to director Gareth Edwards for giving the fans what they deserve.

4. The biggest plot hole in movie history finally resolved. Jokes have been made for decades surrounding the ability for a ginormous space station to be destroyed by a single shot. Rogue One allows that flaw a pass 40 years later and works to perfection with the Erso family storyline. The fact it was intentionally designed to explode by a “disgruntled employee” so to speak, doesn’t sound so far fetched anymore.

Craig Pisani is an avid moviegoer and aspiring screenwriter with Bachelor’s degrees in both Cinema and English.