Monday, December 19, 2016

Rogue One: Initial Thoughts, Part Three



* Today is all about the bad guys.

* Orson Krennic. Walking out of the theater, he was the most underwhelming part of Rogue One for me. (The character, not the performance. Ben Mendelsohn is exquisitely evil as Krennic. "Oh, it's beautiful..." is the line reading of the movie for me.) I just felt like there wasn't much to him besides a great performance and a wicked cape.

I've warmed up to Krennic a good deal. I like where his character ends up. Like Jyn and company, he becomes another soldier forgotten to history. The fact that he dies usurped and alone, destroyed by his own creation is riveting stuff. And like our heroes, he looks his death square on, powerless to change it.

Think how fascinating his death would be if we knew more about him. We hear the Death Star is behind schedule. Is it his fault? Is that why he's slowly losing power over it? Or is he just another hardworking, screwed-over middle manager whose boss hogs all the glory?

What drives him? The power? The work? That sweet Imperial grant money?

A little more clarity could've turned Krennic into an all-time great villain. I'm willing to admit there's something I missed during my first viewing that would explain away my frustrations. We'll see.

* Death troopers, man. Those assholes can aim.

* What else is there to say about Tarkin? He's in the movie for a good reason, even if he gets too much screentime. Right now, I'm ambivalent about Peter Cushing's digital resurrection. I prefer the idea of this technology being used to age/de-age living actors, who are involved with the production. I'm pleased to hear Peter Cushing's family gave their blessing, but it still raises a lot of questions for the future.

At this time, the technology isn't photo-realistic. It's impressive...but fake. Since it is an obvious artificial performance, I'm not sure how this differs from his likeness being used in a Star Wars comic or on Rebels.

Again, there are questions for the future - if the technology ever progresses past the uncanny valley. I'm not sure it ever will, though. The tech here is a big step forward from Jeff Bridges' de-aging in Tron: Legacy. It's not perfect and a little distracting - especially the one shot of "young" Carrie Fisher. But here's the thing: recasting, makeup, or digital augmentation - they're all going to spoil the illusion to some degree. It's gonna happen and it's not that big a deal. I was willing to step back and go along with the idea that Tarkin - not Peter Cushing - was alive again on the big screen.

Though if Christoper Lee were still alive, I bet he'd be Hayao Miyazaki-levels of mortified by all this.

* Darth Vader. One bad pun and a lot of badass moments. James Earl Jones still has it. I've always been of the opinion that Vader can be a whiny bastard and the baddest villain of all time. That being said, it's nice to leave the whiny bastard behind and get the character back to where we met him in A New Hope.

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