A strange feeling is felt at the output of the projection of the ROGUE ONE, the first spin-off of the Star Wars saga. All the ingredients are there, and we would truly like to adore the show. The action is impressive, as much as the visual aspect. But something is not right. One can’t help to say that ROGUE ONE is perhaps “just” a spin-off. Able to check the boxes to precise specifications, but without the availability of material sufficient to cause a real craze. A film that is far from being missed, but which we expected more.

As a reminder, the ROGUE ONE is a sort of prequel to episode IV, A New hope (1977). It tells the story of how a group of rebels managed to steal plans for the black Star to be able to destroy it. A story that could further develop the universe that is so rich of Star Wars. At this level, the director Gareth Edwards is just little and doesn’t go to the end of its possibilities. A little in the way of Godzilla, his previous film. As this last one, the ROGUE ONE is trolling hard, without rhythm, we walked around from one place to another, before offering a final sequence epic. A shame for a film of over two hours, which had this great legacy that is Star Wars.

A closer look, the flaws are many in the ROGUE ONE. On details, such as the design of the armor of Darth Vader, simply failed because it was too shiny and a little cheap. Or on elements of the ensemble, as the musical composition by Michael Giacchino , who is heading to reproduce the first notes of songs well-known of the saga, before separating completely, leaving the viewer on the diamond and annoyed to hear what looks to be a counterfeit of the works of John Williams.

Also, even if it hurts to say as one has affection for Felicity Jones and the other actors present in the film, it is necessary to admit a real problem in the direction of the actors. All, or almost all, struggle to offer a fair interpretation. It was even uncomfortable for Forest Whitaker, as we have rarely seen him play badly. His character, Saw Guerrera, is even sloppy in terms of writing. It would have been very interesting in this role of extremist who, with time, eventually becoming paranoid. A character trait that will have no real influence on the fate of our heroes, forgotten even in a handful of seconds. The fault, therefore, not the interpreters, but Gareth Edwards and his direction. If he had a real influence on the film, some rumors concerning the possibility that the screenwriter Tony Gilroy has been chosen to finish the movie after the departure of the director.

“The action is impressive, as much as the visual aspect. But something is not right with the ROGUE ONE.”

The problems of implementation, there are, therefore, alive and well in the ROGUE ONE. But after all, is there a single episode of Star Wars without default ? One remembers, for example, at the end of episode III, Revenge of The Sith (2005), of this scene of birth of Padme, or the cry of a ridiculous Darth Vader. But the movies of the saga have always managed to keep in together something wonderful. To cause a feeling of wonder from the beginning to the end, we discover worlds always varied. The feeling appairait not totally in ROGUE ONE (except in the last act to be very successful). Gareth Edwards certainly provides the illusion of going deep in the universe we are wandering around from planet to planet, but without ever going to the end of the possibilities of discovery. Using finally that very few backgrounds, and different places within each planet.

Of Yavin IV, there will be nothing new ; a hangar, Rebel, and then basta ! On other planets, Jedha and Eadu, in sum rather basic, it will have to settle successively a street corner and an enemy base in the rain in the middle of the rocks. Although there is a certain pleasure in seeing new things (including the planet Scarif and its fighting on the beach), one remains frustrated with the limits imposed by (or to) Edwards. We remember that George Lucas, with, for example, The phantom Menace (1999) showed as early as his first act a large part of the planet Naboo – with different plans in the city, in the palace, the hangar, but also outside with the plains and the city underwater Gungan. It is perhaps at this level that ROGUE ONE fishing the most. At least compared to our expectations. Because preferring to focus on dialogue to fill in the holes, and on its characters that it does not develop eventually not that much, the film never manages to make these decorations really significant. We stay away from particular places and fascinating as the City of The clouds of Bespin, the swamps of Dagobah, or the centres of cloning in Kamino.

Of course, ROGUE ONE is not missed. Visually impressive, its quality is undeniable and in line with what was proposed in The Wake of the force. The action scenes, they are a great success. Especially the last major sequence (we repeat, the third act is great), which takes us in a scene of war at three levels. It is placed side by side with soldiers of the rebellion, or in the middle of the fighting space ships (of which the trajectories leave us a dreamer), it remains throughout, with the eyes large wide open. A true spectacle concluded by Darth Vader in a remarkable manner.

It should also be noted with ROGUE ONE of the story choices are interesting. As before the Force through the belief, making it seem for the first time as a true religion, sometimes even to the limits of fanaticism. ROGUE ONE also questions the attitude of the rebel Alliance, not always impeccable. And the film even manages to move (the relationship between Jyn and his father) and fun (very good use of the droid K-2SO that is not too much), as well as to achieve a perfect transition with the episode IV. But it is perhaps precisely because of this obligation to achieve a goal that is already known, that Gareth Edwards is not able to go beyond certain limits. There is only to see how it bâcle the last scenes of its main characters, to the limit of getting rid of it, to achieve a goal that is already known. ROGUE ONE is still a blockbuster in good order, but minor in the Star Wars universe, including the episodes the main, even with all their faults, were able to enjoy a story, characters and adventures even more memorable.

Stone Siclier

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