First Star Wars standalone movie: Rogue One


#762

Thanks, Mark. I think I’ll catch something else and just finish this one when it hits rental, then.


#763

THE ORGANA DOCTRINE

Most historians now see the Stardust/DS-class superweapons as relatively minor parts of the Empire’s war machine (The Imperial-class Star Destroyer remained the primary engine of its force-projection capabilities), but Organa demonstrated the importance of stymieing these and similar efforts through her landmark analysis of the Empire’s ideology and political economy. Later published as The Head of Clay: Elitism, Warlordism and Weakness in the Galactic Empire, her papers proved that as competition for political prestige motivated the Empire’s factions, they would necessarily centralize power, organizing capital in progressively less efficient “superprojects:” initiatives a clique could explain to the Emperor and his inner circle in simple, direct terms, and control through a centralized command structure. Superprojects caught the eye of the inner circle, while more complex proposals (such as Holonet infrastructure improvements) and those requiring cross-clique cooperation (such as maintaining Clone Wars era advanced military technologies) fell by the wayside.

The superprojects trend began during the Palpatinian Republic (and possibly earlier, if GAOR clone forces could be considered one of them), reaching an early peak in Stardust/DS-1 itself, a massive undertaking that consumed 1% of GaDP over nearly two decades. Alliance attacks on superprojects inflicted devastating economic damage and often led to the death and capture of key Imperial influencers, who preferred to personally supervise their work in case a competitor attempted to sabotage or seize control of it. Each attack made the Empire more reliant on successor superprojects to recoup losses and keep systems dependent on its common economy, but each failure prompted peripheral worlds to secede and escape the fallout. Although it would later become famous as a verse in Interstellar People’s War, Organa first explained her doctrine’s essence to Wilhuf Tarkin himself: “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” Yet the Empire remained locked into the cycle, to the point where the Emperor personally commanded a successor to Stardust/DS-1 in the hope that this economic necessity would at least create a viable terror weapon.

The Organa Doctrine is widely believed to have won the Galactic Civil War. According to Admiral Gial Ackbar (Ret.):

“It was impossible to defeat the massed Imperial Starfleet, so the question was always one of choosing the most effective targets. The Sienar and Kuat combines possessed redundant facilities to the extent that we could barely put a dent in ship production. The Organa Doctrine identified the Empire’s critical weakness and through rigorous materialist analysis, showed us where to hit the hardest, and hurt them the most. And as one faction fell with its project, another took its place, eager to please the Emperor with some new, grand mission. It was their trap – inescapable, embedded within their political praxis.”


#764

I thought this was fantastic. Vastly better than the prequel trilogy, and better than Force Awakens. Certainly the first Star Wars movie since Return of the Jedi that I’ve been excited at the prospect of re-watching.

A friend from work who, prior to release, wished that this movie wasn’t even being made, came out of the theater absolutely thrilled with it.

Now if only LucasArts would make a new X-Wing game…


#765

@tbaldree shared this on Twitter the other day:

It made me angry and sad at the same time.


#766

This is nice.


#767

That’s pretty darn awesome.


#768

That is awesome! Thanks for posting that, Clay. As a card-carrying Rogue One detractor, I gotta give it huge props for how few white people are in it.

-Tom


#769

I watched it yesterday and liked it pretty much!

Which is a great relief, I also had read positive impressions, but after the disappointment that was TFA, I didn’t trust shit anymore of what I read on Internet related to Star wars.
This is much better than TFA, in character arcs (Rey and Finn seem good characters too, but they lack a proper character arc, they have left it for VIII and XIX I suppose), in action and in many other things. I liked the Empire in the sacred city, it had the tone of occupied city by the nazis, which is totally fine by me as SW has always taken stuff from WW2 movies. I liked the more complex, divided, conflicted rebel alliance, while they still maintain the message of “hope” they show how it isn’t as straightforward as ‘these are the good guys’. And of course the third Act is great, reminiscing of my favorite part of SW, the battle of Endor, combining the ground and the space battles, with the thrill of impossible odds in battle, their almost success, the arrival fo the rebel fleet, and the slow trickling death count as things turn harder and harder.
I also liked the secondary characters in their small roles (robot, blind jedi, retired guardian), they were a likable bunch. Photography was pretty good, with some powerful scenes. Darth Vader is used so effectively, the film isn’t about him so they don’t abuse using him too much, but the pair of times he appears he’s fearsome and spectacular, you feel those are special moments.
Even the Death Star is more fearsome than the Planet Buster of TFA, in TFA the one-upmanship felt silly (now it destroys not one planet, but 3 or 4 at the same time!), but the fact the Death Star only destroys here small parts of a planet means we can be witness of the incredible destruction they are capable, as we see what happens in first person at surface level.


#770

The only thing I didn’t like in Rogue One, besides CG Tarkin, was the lack of character in the leads. Cassian is supposed to be this conflicted spy/agent in the rebellion, but it’s inconsistent as heck. He’s shooting a guy in the back one minute just to make his escape, then he’s inexplicably torn about assassinating the person he’s been told is the lynch pin to the Empire’s new superweapon. Jyn is introduced as the streetwise grizzled mercenary orphan who does not care about the galactic conflict, and within a span of 40 minutes is giving a stirring speech about the rebel cause and doing what’s right.

Throughout it all, they both seemed bland as oatmeal. I never really got a sense of what they were about, their backstories, or why I should care about them other than the presentation of being the lead characters.

In contrast, Rey’s intro of scavenging, looking wistfully at a ship in the sky, seeing herself as the old woman, settling in for the night, and marking time on her hovel’s wall told me more about her character than all of Rogue One told me about Erso. Hell, Finn’s stumbling, largely silent, shocked stormtrooper antics in the initial village assault did more as well. I grant that Rey and Finn didn’t emotionally change much throughout The Force Awakens, but I found them much more satisfying as characters.


#771

This forum needs a like button.


#772

It’s funny but that’s how I felt about Rey and Finn. Never really knew them, didn’t much care about them, and didn’t understand why they cared about each other.


#773

Well, I’m not about to argue that you should care. If that’s how you felt, so be it.

My argument is that The Force Awakens established their lead characters and kept them consistently depicted throughout its run-time a heck of a lot better than Rogue One’s dimly sketched dirty duo. Other than wanting to get to her father, nothing in Rogue One told me why Jyn gave a shit about the rebellion. (I assume much of that was on the cutting room floor with Saw Gerrera footage.) She just suddenly takes charge of the rogue mission, cajoling the rebels to act, right after we had a scene of her blaming Cassian and the rebels for killing her father with their air strike.


#774

[quote=“Telefrog, post:770, topic:76559”]
The only thing I didn’t like in Rogue One, besides CG Tarkin, was the lack of character in the leads. Cassian is supposed to be this conflicted spy/agent in the rebellion, but it’s inconsistent as heck. He’s shooting a guy in the back one minute just to make his escape, then he’s inexplicably torn about assassinating the person he’s been told is the lynch pin to the Empire’s new superweapon.[/quote]

I’ll do a quick counter-argument for each of these, though I will grant that you have to do a lot of work (more than your should in an action movie) to get where I’m pointing.

Cassian is a spy and an assassin. He’s done all sorts of shitty things (like killing the wounded guy so he wouldn’t be caught by the Storm Troopers), and he’s pretty damned tired of it. He’s always rationalized that doing this stuff in the service of a good cause was necessary, just as it was important to keep the dirty details of that work hidden away from the idealistic nobles leading the Rebellion. Jyn’s faith that her father is a good man, shining through all of her other cynicism, is finally enough for Cassian to recognize that he’s become a monster, and that made him want to redeem himself.

This bugged me too, through much of the movie. Jyn is shown to be a loner on the run from everyone and caring only about herself and reuniting with her father. When she’s rescued from the Empire, she immediately attacks the rebels helping her to try and make her own escape, indicating that she cares not a whit for their cause.

It’s only later, talking to Forest Whitaker, that we learn that she is a veteran Rebel herself who spent a large chunk of her life fighting against the Empire with Gerrara’s band… up until the point when he unceremoniously ditched her. She DID care about the conflict at one point, it’s just her fear of abandonment that made her distrustful of everyone. After getting pulled back in by Cassian & Co., she quickly finds herself getting swept back up into the Rebellion that she’d been avoiding for so long.

Yeah, Jyn’s arc is weak and confusing. But I thought that Cassian was pretty well-drawn, especially when you consider how little he’s actually needed to propel the plot forward.


#775

I agree, up to a point. Like I said, I’m pretty sure a lot of Jyn’s backstory was edited out with the changes and whatever happened with the re-shoots. We know for a fact there’s more to the Jyn/Saw relationship because the trailers have that footage of the younger Saw saying things that never got said in the movie. I’m curious if we’ll ever see those scenes.

Even assuming the best for that missing footage, the rest of Jyn’s motivation doesn’t add up. She literally berates Cassian for getting her father killed with the air strike, then flies back to Yavin IV and rallies the rebel troops to help her snag the secret data. It’s a stunning and puzzling reversal for someone that (in the film’s presentation) was moments before accusing the group of murder.

As for Cassian, I don’t buy it at all. Tired of killing he may be, but the film shows us that he’s willing to plug someone in the back to complete his mission, then it tries to make us sympathize with him by showing us he can’t bring himself to kill Jyn’s dad - the guy he’s explicitly told will increase the Empire’s power dramatically if he’s allowed to live. Come on, man. I can only accept so much inconsistency.

Oh, and just to be clear, I liked the movie a lot. I just think it had some really weak character building.


#776

Pretty cool interview with the 3 editors of Rogue One

Yahoo Movies: How much of the film’s final third changed?John Gilroy:
It changed quite a bit. The third act has a lot going on. You have like
seven different action venues, the mechanics of the act changed quite a
bit in terms of the characters, and I don’t want to go into too much
detail about what had been there before, but it was different.We moved some of the things that our heroes did, they were different in the original then they were as it was conceived.Because
you needed to figure that out, and everything else changes. Everything
was connected to everything so doing something to one venue would change
all the other venues, so really we had to… we were working on that
until the last minute, because we working closely with ILM, they were
giving us temporary shots and we’d put them in, we’d work them, we’d
reconceive again.


#777

I don’t think the movie plays this very well, but I will say that Diego Luna’s character is told, just before the assassination attempt, that Jyn’s father is the only direct source of evidence for the Death Star plans. His hesitance may be more self-motivated than comes across, since the best outcome for the Rebellion may be to capture him alive and get the plans from him.


#778

That never really bothered me, because I feel like the first instance was clearly different. It was an informer, obviously not a close ally or friend, and someone he probably thought was about to sell him out to the Storm Troopers. It was a hard choice in a hard situation. In the latter case, it was someone he had reason to suspect was a rebel sympathizer and had an indirect personal connection to through Jyn. He also had been given an obviously sketchy order after all the talk of extraction, and one he suspects commanders above Halleck may not have approved of. I think he really called this out later with the speech before departing Yavin about all the volunteers having done bad things they wish they could forget.


#779

Well, it just goes to show that different people can interpret the same scenes differently. I disagree that Cassian’s motivations are clear. He just seems to function as a script hook for showing the rebellion is prepared to do morally gray things, but conveniently turns “to the light” just in time for the climatic battle.

Hey, but can we talk about the tentacle thing Saw used on Bodhi? Because seriously, that looked terrible.


#780

Oh yeah I forgot to comment about Tarkin. WTH they were thinking… it would have been much better to just use a similar actor, then use traditional face prosthetics/makeup, maybe some digital touch up in post process.


#781

They sort of did that. They used a real actor, then used “digital makeup” to make him look like Tarkin.

(I still think it looked worse the more they used it.)