I’ve seen it twice now so I’ve been able to fully embrace the film and make up my mind on what I’ve seen. Not sure if this is the right page to leave a review but I couldn’t find an official review post so here it goes:
The Actual Narrative:
After my first viewing, I left the theater quite disappointed, I actually fell asleep during the first act of the movie which was the first bad sign, I was extremely let down by Saw Gerrara’s character who I had low hopes for anyway but in the final cut of the film I could tell that he had been butchered by a poor performance, being heavily edited down, heavily re-written, and almost 100% re-shot. Saw Gerrara was easily the #1 weak point in the film yet the first hour almost completely revolved around him, his character was obviously supposed to play a major role in the film and most likely be in several flashback sequences where you get to know his relationship with Jynn and the role that he played in developing her as an independent and “rogue” individual. Jynn’s backstory with Saw should have been left in the movie just to develop both of the characters and show how many hardships Jynn went through growing up because of Saw’s extremist beliefs. It’s also worth noting that the most poorly shot parts of the film were the re-shot Saw Gerrara scenes which didn’t help at all. Having almost 100% of the dialogue during the first act revolve around Saw Gerrara was a bad move for a character that ended up being re-shot and chopped out, how do the filmmakers expect us to be involved in the story and the characters if they aren’t?
As for the second act, it also needs some work but was definitely better than the first but still needs some improvement, we see the protagonists all banded together and it really starts to feel exciting, we see the death of Saw which makes no sense, but more on that later. We also see the death of Jynn’s father which is kind of underwhelming but it works. But most importantly, we get some nice action scenes and cool special effects.
The third act was awesome, the space battles IMO were the best since ESB’s asteroid chase. The ground battles indoor fights were really well shot and intense! Killing every character was a nice ballsy move which I wasn’t expecting and the main story had a nice resolution. None of the climax felt fake or convenient, all of the action and emotional scenes were well executed save for a few confusing shots.
I’m going to have to say I wish there wasn’t any of the ham-fisted fan-service in there even though some of it was pretty cool and/or well done, I don’t think that it was the director’s original vision.
Having Cornelius Evazan’s (who looked fucking awful) and Ponda Baba’s cameo in there hurt my soul, I don’t know who thought that was a good idea but I was very unpleased by their appearance and so was everyone in the theater both times.
C3PO’s and R2D2’s cameo was so jarring and unfunny, his line “they never tell me anything” felt like it was written by a child and was unfunny even for the PT’s standards. It was also a pathetically dumb decision to put their cameo right in the middle of a dramatic action scene, this got a few reactions from the audience but they weren’t necessarily good reactions, more of an “oh?” was echoed rather than an applause.
Bail Organa was a nice touch but was overall disappointing. He had absolutely no effect on the final film and his only dialogue was both a reference to Obi-Wan and Leia so he completely felt the same as in ROTS where he just says all the fan-servicey things at the end. I also felt that both times he had no presence in the room during the meetings, it felt like he might’ve been added in after reshoots maybe? In a few of the wide shots of the rebel base he was nowhere to be seen, he was only in the close-ups. I wish they had given him a scene to shine in, maybe give him a speech or a few inspiring lines like the final cutscene from the force unleashed.
CGI Tarkin and CGI Leia were meh. I think Tarkin should’ve looked better because they nailed his facial structure and texture but his mannerisms were off and his facial muscles moved more than Peter Cushing’s did, in ANH, he sits completely still and only moves his mouth very sternly but keeps the rest of his face locked in place, it makes Tarkin a very harsh and intimidating authority which I don’t think the actor who performed the character was able to capture. Leia, on the other hand looked spot on until she changed her facial expression and then she was distractingly off-putting as well. Both of the characters’ voices, however, were spot-on.
The other subtle easter eggs were a nice touch, I noticed the blue milk and other little things which didn’t bother me at all. The references to “hope” were pretty on-the-nose though.
Darth Vader was debatably not needed in the film at all. Both of his scenes were good, I liked hearing James Earl Jones’ voice again and I loved that they replicated the original suit with the red lenses and everything. I feel like Darth Vader was in there so little for one of two reasons: one is that Gareth Edwards really wanted a lot of Darth Vader but Disney and the Producers pushed to have him cut down or that Gareth Edwards wanted little to no Darth Vader but Disney and the Producers pushed to have him added into the film to please mass audiences. Either way, I was satisfied with what we got but I’d like to see if there’s any more footage of him for this movie out there.
Why didn’t Darth Vader get sucked into space when he was standing in the open airlock? He might’ve been protected by the suit but he would’ve at least been pulled or floated out. Also, why would K2SO be the one to say “I have a bad feeling about this”? I’m not even going to explain why that was dumb.
Ideas to improve the film:
Cut Cassian’s first scene as well as all parts where he’s being questionably evil. He has no ark yet somehow goes from good to bad, it would be better to keep him good from the start or flesh out his character development.
Add in all of Saw Gerrara’s lost footage, we needed that badly
Add more flashbacks of Jynn’s father so that we feel more involved in that relationship and refer to “stardust” more often than once at the very beginning
Push the reveal of the death star to later in the film. During the trailers we hear dialogue of a “weapon’s test” but that doesn’t show up in the film. It would be cool to refer to a big weapon being built but then reveal it fully built and have an emotional impact to the words “death star” halfway through. How I would do this is when Jynn goes to see Saw, they’re immediately ambushed by the empire because they accidentally led spies to Saw’s base so Saw is injured and is unable to give Jynn any information so he gives her the location of her father right before he dies. When Jynn eventually finds her dying father, he reveals everything to her before dying himself, this would add much more depth to the whole plot and explain Saw’s death way better than him deciding to stay in his base for no reason.
The score had me worried knowing that they fired their original composer a month before the film’s release but the final soundtrack was actually pretty damn good, it was very heavy-handed but dare I say it topped TFA’s and AOTC’s. Overall the movie was enjoyable but needed to be edited better and tampered with less, I’d love to see the original shooting script to see exactly what they changed but overall I think the movie was still pretty good.
This film gets a 7.5/10 from me