Just saw Rogue One, which felt like...a misfire. Besides the stunning landscapes, set design, costume design, creature design, I felt trapped in a movie that had confusing story developments, confusing characters, and confusing character changes.
the argument between Jyn and Cassian was the only moment where i felt anything about these characters.
it felt like a tony gilroy touch to hint that the rebels are just as ruthless and violent as the empire, and that soldiers like Cassian have to just take orders even if he's on the "good" side. It would have worked well if the original MC throughline of Jyn being really rebellious and difficult was maintained. She would have been a good steadfast character to show Cassian that it is vital to rebel even among the rebels. Could have been like The Insider, where russell crowe's whistleblowing allows al pacino to see he has to whistleblow on his own CBS network to get the info out.
Also, it was a cool idea that the rebels are actually a patchwork of disagreeable factions, but this was barely explored. perhaps the group that Jyn and Cassian assemble could have had more internal disagreement. the only character expressing any conflict was K2S0, but why not Chirrut and Baze?
A parallel to this - krennic's relationship to Tarkin, the disagreements among the empire; tarkin testing the death star on jedhi without any approval (vader seemed to want to cover this up). But again, the argument wasn't a slam dunk. tarkin wasn't punished for impulsively testing the death star. krennic wasn't clearly given status and power back after consulting vader. and then, tarkin decides to fire the death star again on scarif (why? to destroy their email server archive?), potentially blowing the cover on the existence of the death star yet again.
Bodhi Rook's character had a lot of potential, like an imperial soldier redemption story, maybe even better than Finn's. There was a sadness to it that was touched upon. weird styling of his stringy hair and goggle accessories; you'd think an imperial pilot would have a more regimented haircut, like Finn in TFA. I did not understand why Saw Gerrera submitted him to the mind-reading slug thing. Wasn't Bodhi well on his way to giving Saw the hologram of Galen? Why did Saw need to break Bodhi's mind? simply to punish Bodhi having been born into imperial servitude?
Also felt like the movie didn't really start for Jyn until she witnesses the hologram of Galen divulging his inner secret rebellion on the death star's architecture, but this was like 40 or 50min into it...
overall, the story feels like the product of all the reported rewrites and reshoots midway into production.
how could it have been fixed? thoughts?
p.s. Rogue One made me realize that Star Wars is at this point, fundamentally closer to something like LOTR or GoT, i.e. a kind of medieval fantasy, NOT science fiction. In science fiction, there is fundamentally an exploration of changing relationship to being human, questioning what is sacred about human nature and relationships amidst technologies that intrude on those definitions. In Rogue One, no one communicates in ways different from the 1970s - every important high-ranking character is still physically traveling to other planets to take a meeting. the "upload" of the death star plans is written like its dial up modem, but in spirit is even more like telegraphing. All of this is the charm of Star Wars, but its interesting to see how continuing to make new Star Wars films in 2016 forces the filmmakers to stick with a world and mythology rooted in 20th century relationship to communication and technology. the fuzzy hologram recordings and starships are analogies to VHS and sea-battleships more than to actual technological speculation. in sticking to a world made by lucas, star wars becomes more like a LOTR fantasy world, hermetically sealed from being science fiction. One amazing thing about star wars that almost NO science fiction film ever manages: the pluralistic cohabitation of multiple species, people, and the diversity of cultures intermixing. Rogue One REALLY excelled at this aspect of the star wars universe.