Rogue One [3D]
Rogue One was essentially an extended prologue for the original Star Wars - now with the subtitle A New Hope. And by golly! Disney and director Gareth Edwards sure ain't gonna let you forget that. And that was just one of the many problems plaguing this film.
Rogue One was also a space-set, heist film, but one without the thrills and the excitements. There never really was any risks of failure to make us care or worry about the heroes. However, most importantly, in a heist film, the core characters also absolutely lacked chemistry. There was close to zero emotional weight to the characters and it all felt highly impersonalised.
For a film that we already knew the ending, they sure took a long time (133 minutes) to get there. And that journey spanned many, many quick scenes that did not allow the story to breathe. It felt as though Edwards just wanted to rush through all the (character, emotional and narrative) build up to get to the big climatic battle. Which then was upstaged eventually by the final, shorter one at the end.
Edwards and co-writers Chris Weltz and Tony Gilroy delivered another fan-service film to the Stars Wars franchise that dug deep into the pre-existing mythology. But unlike J.J. Abrams' Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, where we at least cared and were curious about the journeys of Rey, Poe, and - to a lesser extent - Finn, Rouge One failed to even connect the audience with its lead: Felicity Jones' Jyn.
Jones' dismal, perpetual-pout acting and general lacked of expressions was a terrifyingly stark contrast to her strong, Oscar-nominated performance in 2014's The Theory of Everything. The absolute of chemistry with Diego Luna definitely did not help too.
Speaking of Luna, perhaps he is just more comfortable acting in his native tongue.
Alan Tudyk's android was the rare bright spark; Riz Ahmed was under-utilised but his character was written so lazily and messily it wasn't much of a shame.
Poor Mads Mikkelsen gets stucked in another thankless role in a big franchise after Doctor Strange.
Only perhaps Ben Mendelsohn looked like he was enjoying himself hamming it up.
And there was so much cultural misappropriation throughout this film. Frankly, it was rather insulting. Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen were clearly there to appeal to the Chinese market, serving no purpose other than to sprout oblique wise words. And provide humour. And poorly shot/choreographed kung fu.
Then we have the worst culprit of having the rebel extremists dressed up looking a lot like Middle Eastern terrorists shooting and blowing things up. Sure, we are in a desert, but we are also in another planet, do they have to look like that?!?! Jones even had her scarf up around her head in one scene. Carrie Mathison anyone?
Lastly, we have Michael Giacchino's overbearing score. Unfortunately, this might be one of his worst composition. The music was just too much. It seemed to want to force you to feel only in a certain way.
3D was definitely not necessarily.
Let's hope the next standalone will be better.