Most won’t debate the fact that 2016 was a terrible year. By the end of the year, there had been plenty of celebrity deaths, a controversial election and plenty of other disasters. Most thought by December that a lot of what was going on was coming to a close and the bright light of 2017 seemed to be shining down the tunnel. However, December would bring us two last Star Wars tragedies. One was the death of the illustrious Carrie Fisher, known for her iconic role as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogies. Her death was untimely and devastating. The other tragedy was the newest Star Wars movie, “Rogue One” that hit theatres in December 2016. Many claimed that the first-ever stand-alone Star Wars movie was a success and that they loved it. But those people are wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, “Rogue One” definitely isn’t the worst movie that I’ve ever seen. It’s not even the worst movie that I’ve seen this year (looking at you “Suicide Squad”). But “Rogue One,” while not being an intrinsically terrible movie, was arguably the worst of the series, worse even than the legendarily terrible prequels. Thankfully for you, I’ve taken some time to out- line why this movie was so dis- appointing. But be warned, this will be rife with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t read this.
1. We didn’t need it!
This story was exactly as necessary as wearing socks while swimming. In short, it isn’t at all. The story, is that a man was forced to complete plans of the Death Star after the empire kills his wife. His daughter is sent to retrieve her father/his plans and sets off to find him. Guess what, the dad actually had a secret plan where he made it so it would be possible to destroy the Death Star! Now, let’s review how the Death Star was destroyed in “A New Hope.” The rebels find out that there is a single exhaust port that goes from the reactor to the surface of the space station. It’s an incredibly small hole and pilot Luke Skywalker shoots a missile into this hole which destroys the Death Star. Now, let’s put all of this information into a real-life sense to really explain to you how impossible this is.
1b. The math doesn’t add up
Think about any factory that you’ve seen in your daily life that is constantly doing its best to murder the environment. Think about all of the pollution that is exiting the multiple stacks on the top of that factory. Now factories are really big buildings, but you know what’s bigger? Space stations that get mistaken for small moons. A quick Google search shows that the Death Star was roughly 140 to 160 kilometers in diameter. Volume can be found using radius cubed times pi. As the radius would be about 70 km at the smallest, this means that the volume of this structure suspended in space is 1.44 x 10^6 cubic kilometers. That is much larger than any factory on Earth, not to mention the fact that it is also self-sustaining with oxygen and apparently food/water enough to fill the needs of all of the people working there. Yet, there is only one small vent, only a few feet wide to funnel everything out of the reactor? That isn’t a design flaw, that’s a legitimate miracle.
1c. Not how physics work
Now, let’s think again about this vent once more. You’ll no- tice if you re-watch “A New Hope” that Luke shot a missile into the vent while flying in a straight, horizontal line. The missile shot in a straight line, something characteristic of the X-wing fighters that Luke was flying at the time. Somehow that missile went into the reac- tor core. If you’re not yet under- standing why this is an issue, I need you to design your own vi- sual. Draw a circle. Now draw a straight line from the top of the circle to the bottom of the circle, and make a dot in the middle of that line. Now, draw a line per- pendicular to that line on the top, leaving you with what looks like a capital T.
Starting at the right side of the T, the missile entered in a straight line, then at some point took a 90 degree turn to head to the reactor of the sta- tion. The movie explains this as Luke turns off his ship lock-on mechanism and “uses the force” to guide the missile. In short, nobody except for a jedi could even possible make the shot, as it is impossible for a missile that only goes straight to turn 90 de- grees mid-flight. Again, this vent is not a design flaw or plot hole, it’s a perfect design.
Furthermore, let’s discuss the fact that you needed a jedi in order to destroy this space station. If you’ve watched the third Star Wars movie, “Attack of the Clones,” or the animated television show, you know that once Order 66 was given by the Emperor, all jedi were killed, or thought to be killed. That means, that at the time of Rogue One, there were two known force users in the galaxy: Darth Vader, a bad guy, and Emperor Palpatine, the other bad guy.
When “A New Hope” starts, we learn that Obi-Wan Kenobi survived, and saved the son of Anakin Skywalker, Luke Sky- walker, the movie’s protagonist, and then we learn about Yoda, another jedi later. You know who didn’t know that? Galen Erso. The guy who apparently made a “major flaw” in the Death Star to allow for it to be destroyed. What, did he think a regular guy was going to warp reality and use magic to turn a missile? The story isn’t necessary. It’s not a plot hole. This movie makes no sense.
2. So many unneeded scenes
But that point has now been beaten into the ground. Instead let’s talk a little bit about the be- ginning of the film. It’s a heart- touching moment that shows Jyn Erso, our newest protagonist, as a child as her father is being tak- en away. Her mom pulls some kind of needless shenanigan that serves only to let us watch her die so that we know Jyn has no- where else to go, and her father is taken by another space Nazi, which have come to be com- monplace in the new Star Wars films. Jyn is saved by her father’s friend, Saw Gerrera and boom, the screen reads “Star Wars.” This isn’t that bad. Granted, the story shouldn’t open so far be- fore the action starts, but that’s really just Disney’s kind of thing. The real issue with this scene is that every second of it is shown again in a flashback right away. It feels like you’re watching a tele- vision show. They had to remind you what happened “last time on this terrible movie.”
3. The characters stunk!
Now let’s talk about some of the characters. Protagonist Jyn Erso is the moody, brooding, whiny teenage girl that graces us with her presence as the main character. Natalie Portman, Carrie Fisher and Daisy Ridley did an amazing job portraying the important female characters up to this point, but when Felicity Jones steps onto the screen, you immediately want to cry. Whether it was her character or acting that rivals Hayden Christensen’s acting in the prequels, every minute of her on-screen time made me want to leave the theatre. Jyn is every bit as annoying and whiny as young Anakin Skywalker but brings a moodi- ness to these traits that left me wishing I could stick my head in the ground like an ostrich.
The best character in the film was Saw Gerrera, portrayed by Forrest Whittaker. Gerrera is a character with no more than 20 minutes of screen time. He’s a cool, intense character who looks amazing and serves as what feels like a rebel version of Darth Vader. He’s only part robot, but he’s fully incredible, and Whittaker’s acting brings it to another level. But the big- gest name on the roster of pretty poor actors is shunned from the screen and leaves you wishing that he was the main character.
Other than that, the most notable character that I was left dissatisfied with was K-2SO, a reprogramed Imperial robot. He’s quirky, he’s funny and he’s literally only in the movie to be the new C-3PO. BB8 took over R2-D2’s spot in our hearts, and they needed a new robot to take over his quippy counter- part. That’s the only purpose of this new robot. While I enjoyed watching him a little bit, his true purpose soiled the experience.
4. It’s nothing new.
Apparently, one major argu- ment for this movie is that it’s a good Star Wars movie that doesn’t follow the normal Star Wars formula. But it follows the formula exactly! We have a trio of characters on a journey to help a rebellion that at least one didn’t care about, they have to stop a Death Star and we see the Death Star use its laser to destroy something in an awesome explosion. Sounds pretty cut- and-dry Star Wars to me.
5. Some things were okay
These aren’t the only issues with this movie, but this is get- ting entirely too long. Cassian was a terrible character and kyber crystals are basically the midichlorians of this movie – they’re unneeded exposition. But, like I said, this movie isn’t the worst movie, so how about a few pros to the movie. Darth Vader did have his obligatory cameo in the end of the movie to tear apart a few of the rebel soldiers. Couple that with the fact that James Earl Jones returned to voice his iconic character again, and this was an amazing scene to have the sith lord return for. Chirrut and Baze, a couple of characters met by our annoying trio, are amazing characters. They’re incredibly interesting, funny and give us the coolest action scenes in the movie. Finally, at the end of the movie, everybody dies, and sadly, this is one of the biggest pros of the movie. Having everyone live would leave far too many loose ends and unknown characters for anybody to be okay with. Plus, it’s a nice feeling to know we’ll never have to deal with seeing Jyn or Cassian again. Overall, this movie wasn’t the worst movie I’d seen, but it was bad. Disney realized that they hadn’t capitalized on the Star Wars brand for an entire year, and thought they had to rush something out into theatres to appease the masses. Would I watch it again? Maybe. Would I pay to see it again? There is no chance that I would.