Rants and raves about software art & design, artsy fartsy style.
Rogue One hit theaters this week. It's damn good from this gamer's perspective.
I'm a weird Star Wars fan. By the time I was born and old enough to care, I just kind of missed the hype. My interest really only started in the 90s but that didn't stop the franchise from being a huge influence. However, most of my Star Wars knowledge and love was developed from the video games. As a little kid, I was like a sponge soaking in the lore from games like Super Star Wars (SNES), Dark Forces (PC), Shadows of the Empire (N64), and Jedi Knight (PC)...really the list goes on (FUCKIN REPUBLIC COMMANDO!). The first time I really remember seeing Star Wars was on the THX remastered VHS trilogy.
In highschool, Phantom Menace hit, and I saw it in the theater at least 6 times, a few of those were visiting my older brother while he was off to college, and the rest were with my fellow 9th grade friends. Despite what some might think, there was a huge build up for people my age. Star Wars was like this huge mystical universe that felt real as it had permeated our culture, it was everywhere, especially games. It was finally being realized on the screen in theaters!
Fast forward to 2015, I saw Force Awakens on day one in the theater. I had high hopes for it. I even held a small 6-movie long marathon on a projector for friends and family the week leading up to the release. It was finally time. The Force has awakened.
Upon leaving that movie, I felt... numb. It was just okay. It felt like Hollywood took the reigns and overlooked important details and tried to please everyone. It was a decent movie, but not a great Star Wars film. I was slightly jaded about the franchise. To me, the movies weren't living up to the games. They felt...uninspired.
I was really interested when Rogue One was announced. A side story that wasn't beholden to being a main entry. It looked gritty, dark, and outside of the norm for the franchise. The trailer was great, but then I reminded myself of how good the Force Awakens trailer was (that I watched about 15 times). I watched every trailer and nothing bothered me. Could this be it? Could this be the Star Wars movie my mind has built up in my head?
Short answer: Yes.
To elaborate, this movie captured a true feeling of struggle, war, and desparation. It felt like we were following the B-team, the team many of us can identify with. It felt like the odds were not in our favor, but WE succeeded. The atmosphere ditched the light-hearted, cleaner appeal of the main movies and went with an off-beat grimy tone. I ate it up. It felt right.
This is a spoiler free review, so I'll just cut to the chase now and tell you what was right. The editing and filming was edgy, more artistic. The humor was dark and dry. The characters were full of personality and banter; something out of a Predator movie. The Empire military felt real. The lasers felt like they had impact. The sounds felt geniune. The fight scenes felt visceral. The atmosphere felt thick. The struggle felt real. The sets felt real. The Force seemed everywhere but nowhere. The enemies felt menacing. And last, but not least (very minor spoiler), the Sith were given a short time to show force, and that time felt so appropriate.
Go see this movie. It's the best Star Wars movie, possibly ever.