Immediate Thoughts on Rogue One [no spoilers]

I saw Rogue One tonight.  Here are some immediate (non-spoiler) thoughts.  I’ll have more (spoiler-filled) ones later.

  • This film was visually stunning.  It has a clear visual style that is very unique, but also very consistent with the “lived-in” visual style that is the hallmark of Star Wars.  This also isn’t just about the CGI for space scenes.  Everything down to each set piece, planet shot, wardrobe of townsfolk, the vehicles…. everything.  Just visually stunning.
  • There were so many planets in this film.  Luckily they show (almost) all of their names so that we can keep them all straight.  There were some unique landscapes and they were all presented in very visually unique ways.
  • The plot dynamics were actually very good for a Star Wars film.  There was a pretty straight forward plot, but there were lots of twists and turns driven by the revelation of each character.  2016-10-13-22
  • Each character was unique and intriguing.  Usually with ensemble films there’s some contrived scene that introduces each one.  Rogue One, I suppose, does this, but in a way that fits the story.  The story dictates each character’s entrance and not the other way around.
  • This film does a great job of introducing some different dynamics of the notion of “good” and “bad” sides.  There’s a lot of ambiguity and the reason for this ambiguity is an important element to understanding the film.
  • I think I like Rogue One better, although differently, than The Force Awakens (they’re very different films actually; it’s not really fair to compare them).  My wife stated, and I agree, that while I love these characters in Rogue One, Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren were a lot more fun.  But again, it’s that type of film.
  • I’d say much of the shots from the Trailers weren’t in the film.  Considering this, it seems that those Re-shoots were perhaps pretty significant and dramatically impacted the film (I’ll comment on this at a later date).  If I’m correct these were all for the good as I suspect they were to introduce some important elements of the plot.  I also bet they help to move the story along more capably and use each of the characters appropriately.
  • I definitely think and feel differently about A New Hope after having watched this film. The precariousness of getting the Death Star plans and then seeing them put into R2-D2 feels more significant now. “This is our most desparate hour” seems to have more context and depth. I love that.  My hope for these Anthology spin-off films are that they help me to think and feel differently on the characters, places, and universe that we know so much about.