Sunday, December 11, 2016

Reactions to 'Rogue One' from critics and stars

I called for a vote at the end of 'Suicide Squad' leads Grammy nominations in music for visual media followed by 'Stranger Things'.
Should I blog about the opening weekend of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," the speculative fiction nominees for the Writers Guild of America Awards, or the politics and crime nominees for the Critics' Choice Awards?
I got one vote on Facebook for the Writers Guild Awards and another at yesterday's entry for "Rogue One," so I cast the tie-breaker for "Rogue One."  I did so even though it's not really the opening weekend; that starts this Friday.  However, the movie did have its Hollywood premiere last night, as Wochit Entertainment reports in What Are The First Reactions To Rogue One?

Stars and fans who were lucky enough to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story took to Twitter right after the premiere let out in Hollywood on Saturday night to share their thoughts. I can't wait… — Dane Cook (@DaneCook) December 11, 2016 So much cheering during the movie. Audience loved it — Aaron Couch (@AaronCouch) December 11, 2016 ROGUE ONE WAS AMAZING #StarWarsRogueOne — Veronica Merrell (@veronicamerrell) December 11, 2016 I FREAKIN LOVE STAR WARS OMG ROGUE ONE WAS AMAZING — Vanessa Merrell (@VanessaMerrell) December 11, 2016 ROGUE ONE = excellent.
That's from the audience.  For a more critical reaction, pun intended, Wochit passed along Reuters' judgment that Rogue One Ushers In Gritty Star Wars Era.

With a new band of rebels and a high-stakes journey, "Star Wars" ushered in a new chapter on Saturday by bringing a galaxy far, far away to the heart of Hollywood for the "Rogue One" premiere. Directed by Gareth Edwards, "Rogue One" is the first standalone film in Disney's "Star Wars" reboot. But for the sake of 'Star Wars', I was prepared to do it," she said. The movie explores the journey preceding the events that launched George Lucas' intergalactic saga with 1977's "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope". The diverse cast boasts Mexican actor Luna, British-Pakistani actor Ahmed, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen and Chinese actors Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang.
USA Today had more on the grittiness of the film.
[Director Gareth] Edwards says the biggest risk he took was creating realistic battle scenes that took the audience right into the trenches as the Rebels and Imperial forces tussle, whether in the streets of Jedha City or the tropical shores of the planet Scarif.

The result is a more brutal and grittier Star Wars movie than seen before, says Ben Mendelsohn, who stars as the villainous Imperial officer Director Orson Krennic. “It really is a muscular, tough film.”

When developing Rogue One, Edwards took old World War II photography and Photoshopped Rebel helmets on soldiers’ heads. When passersby would check out the artwork in the Lucasfilm offices, their reactions were all the same, Edwards says: “That looks amazing. I want to see that film.”

So he threw his actors right into battle, including filming in extreme heat in the Maldives for one of the Rebellion's more epic showdowns with the Empire.
I'm looking forward to seeing the movie later this month even more.

Speaking of looking forward, Wochit has more good news in Disney CEO: There Will Be Star Wars Movies Past Episode 9.

When The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm back in October 2012, it was quick to announce not one, but two series of Star Wars films: The expected sequel trilogy, consisting of Episode VII: The Force Awakens and two follow-ups, and the unexpected “anthology” films, of which this month’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first. That means audiences will be getting one new movie a year up until 2020. Or, at least, it would’ve meant that, if director Josh Trank hadn’t been fired and his proposed spinoff, a Boba Fett anthology story, hadn’t been shelved.
This is exactly what I hoped and expected would happen, given how Disney puts out at least one Marvel film a year.

I'll cover the box office for the movie's actual opening weekend next week.  Stay tuned.


  1. Looks like they'll have another success on their hands. Making it a stand-alone film was a good idea. The extended storyline of the main series of movies is getting a bit strained and tortuous. This one at least is more free to go in its own direction.

    1. I fully expect "Rogue One" to have one of the three biggest opening weekends of the year, right up there with "Captain America: Civil War" and "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice." I also expect it to finish in the top five movies of the year. In fact, if it brings in only half the gross of "The Force Awakens," it would still be the second highest grossing movie released this year, right behind "Finding Dory." I think it might just barely come in first with $600M.

      As for it having more freedom, yes and no. The result was described in the opening crawl of "Star Wars: A New Hope" 39 years ago. The freedom is in how and who survives. We only see one character, Darth Vader, in a movie set after "Rogue One." The fates of the rest are completely unknown, unless the female lead becomes Rei's mom.

      Speaking of which, the main series also has a completely open future, although I expect Episode 8 will have elements of "The Empire Strikes Back." J.J. Abrams works that way. It's also going to be the continuing story of the Skywalkers, especially if Rei ends up being a Skywalker. I still think she's Luke's daughter.