From the director of the surprise hit ‘STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE’ (2016) comes what looks to be an intriguing post-apocalyptic film exploring the human drama amidst a horrific conflict between humans and robots.
I have to credit a large part of my nerdiness to my Dad. I remember my sister and I going over on weekends and he’d have comic books all around the house and a movie collection that could rival no other. Of course he gave us a proper education by having us watch the cult action favorites, new releases, and gems from his ever-growing collection of flicks.
I have to credit a large part of my nerdiness to my Dad. I remember my sister and I going over on weekends and he’d have comic books all around the house and a movie collection that could rival no other. Of course he gave us a proper education by having us watch the cult action favorites, new releases, and gems from his ever-growing collection of flicks. I was in elementary school during the time when word had started to circulate that the Star Wars movies were going to get a digital remastering. Mom (the other half of my nerd genes) wanted to make a big event out of it, we were going to go to the Uptown down in Northwest DC to go see it. Dad, upon hearing about this, sat my sister and I down, pulled out the VHS Box set of Episodes 4-6, and we marathoned the three the weekend before seeing it redone at the theater..
Flash forward to today. A brand new trilogy has begun (we don’t talk about the prequels), something I was hoping for as soon as I learned that at some point way back when, George Lucas had laid out a blueprint for 9 episodes in total. The EU in the books has been replaced by primarily the Disney XD Clone Wars and Rebels shows, and J.J. Abrams has rekindled my hope in a franchise that in the end isn’t ever going to fully let me down. Thus, director Gareth Edwards’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came along as the first example of this new EU moving forward onto the silver screen, early reviews were coming out, cosplay friends got into early screenings and I heard murmurs that the film was on par with The Empire Strikes Back as a favorite. I went and saw it, hell I was going to see it even if the early reviews crucified it.
At face value we don’t have much new as far as the pitch, the story isn’t anything too different from two other movies that came out in 2016. A ragtag group of rebels lead by uncooperative rogue Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and a special operative type Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) unwittingly find out that they have the ability to reveal a purposefully built flaw made into the Death Star in order to blow it up. Mads Mikkelsen plays Jyn’s father Galen who was forced to design the Death Star against his will. I really appreciate how this movie shuts up all the fan boys going “Why would the Death Star have such a critical weakness?? blah-blah-blah?…”. What it boils down to is that classic ‘People on a mission’ Seven Samurai-style plot with flavor in the casting provided by Alan Tudyk and Donnie Yen and a brief appearance by Forest Whitaker.
What primarily drew me to this film was the story of a person in the universe who isn’t a Jedi and has no inkling to be one. The movies have been a long episode of “Keeping up with the Skywalkers” until this moment. When you’ve got people that can shoot lightning from their hands, having a protagonist in Jyn Erso armed with only wit, a blaster and some useful Kali skills, otherwise creates a sense of vulnerability the audience can relate to. Her character naturally draws from what we loved about Han Solo and while that took her character far, either Jones’s portrayal or the script she had to work with didn’t do much create a character that felt believable beyond that. I found myself questioning her motivations when she was giving a big “rally the troops” type speech near the Act 2 to 3 transition.
When you look at it as a standalone film outside of the support of the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One was entertaining, but wasn’t much to rave about. I felt like the writing from the end of the first act until the middle of the second was a bit chunky, and character motivations across the board were murky. We have all these characters joining forces, but aside from getting stuck in a cell with each other for a sequence why are they motivated to go on a suicide mission? When compared to another ‘Men on a Mission’ movie that came out back in August of last year, Suicide Squad, we have Amanda Waller providing the group with clear motivations and stakes to cooperate against their better judgement. In the end the writing trudges along enough to keep our story flowing, and despite the darker nature of this story, moments of comedy pop up between the characters to help bring up the mood. Outside of the writing I had slight nitpicks. There wasn’t the iconic scrawling text opener at the beginning of the movie and they utilized CG to animate the figures of Grand Moff Tarkin (the late Peter Cushing) and a younger Princess Leia. I found that decision rather unsettling (especially now with Carrie Fisher’s recent death) and a bit surprising considering Abrams’s decision to stick to practical effects, film stock, and puppetry for The Force Awakens. We could have had a replacement for Tarkin and a double with creative angles for Leia and I think the audience would have been fine with it. We also have the lack of a John Williams-composed soundtrack which to my understanding has bothered fans across the board, but perhaps we could chalk that up to Mister Williams being busy composing Episode VIII. That’s really the best reason not to have him on Rogue One.
Despite all the flack Vox‘s review got for saying it was “the first Star Wars movie to acknowledge the whole franchise is about war” I’d say they are right. This entire time we’ve followed the Generals, the special ops, droids and masked clones in armor who have blown up, or gotten limbs cut off that instantly cauterized, but we never see much suffering, all sparks and oil, no blood. Until now our heroes can easily block lasers with lightsabers. In Rogue One even the one force-sensitive individual is not able to stop blaster fire. Sure Disney made Gareth Edwards reshoot a large chunk of the film for being too dark to get a PG-13 rating, but I think the one message Rogue One nailed over any of the other movies is that war is an ugly kind of hell. Characters are vulnerable. The action seems more real and visceral than we’ve ever seen before. We see Rebel troops actually look like they’re clearing rooms and move as a unit because they know they have to rely on each other to get home. The stuntwork for Rogue One was phenomenal. The portrayal of the larger action sequence during Act 3 felt more like they were battling on the beaches of Normandy than on a fictional planet. Director of Photography Greig Fisher really inserts us into an alien world that feels all too familiar with his work. He makes us feel in danger when we should and settles the mood visually when the audience needs to take a breath.
Overall the movie is worth a watch. Do I put it up there with The Empire Strikes Back? No, most definitely not, but I believe it was a solid popcorn flick to check out. I knitpick primarily about the writing because I hope that my one tiny voice echoing across the internet can help let Abrams know that he’s taking this franchise in the right direction, but he’s still gotta crank up the craftsmanship a bit and jump away from formula before he can leave his mark on the universe.
Welp, fact is that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is pretty much selling itself much like any other event title I usually taper off from. How? Well you needn’t look further than the reports citing the need for “waiting rooms” with Fandango and Movietickets boasting their biggest first day sales ever, beating out Deadpool and Suicide Squad.
So there. Love is in the air aplenty for Gareth Edwards whose diversely cast spin-off from the Star Wars canon featuring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen is now on track to open with $130 millon dollars. This probably doesn’t say much about the other films in tow, save for the fact that fans will be waiting with baited breath to see Episode VIII as well as the forthcoming Han Solo spin-off with Alden Ehrenrich, Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke.
Thus, it still apparently brings to mind whatever possibilities there may be for a Rogue One sequel, in which case, leave that to Edwarda along with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy quickly putting that fire out before it happens, according to Empire via Slashfilm. Edwards himself even goes on to say that any sequels will be directed by George Lucas, further hinting at Rogue One’s place in the timeline way after episode three and just before the first film, A New Hope.
It makes sense though. I admit there are some films that I would like to see made that others find ridiculous, but with Disney invested in its current plans for the big screen and the fear of franchise fatigue setting in from time to time, keeping Rogue One where it is now only seems fitting.
I swear though, if Disney even so much as pulls a rabbit out of a hat big enough to suprise everyone with a sequel out of this, someone should tell the folks over at Trigger that a second season for Kill La Kill is in order. I mean it’s only fair, right?
Yes, I just HAD to turn this into a discussion about anime. Sue me.
Following the foundation of the Galactic Empire, a wayward band of Rebel fighters comes together to carry out a desperate mission: to steal the plans for the Death Star before it can be used to enforce the Emperor’s rule.
The film opens on December 16, leaving at least another year before the next canon follow-up, Star Wars VIII opens theatrically and testing the economic might of the movie going public. We’ll see how this one does though, as good as it looks so far with respect to its place in the saga and overall vision in general; The attention to detail with specific characters, costumes, lensing, set pieces and performances really lend a richness in the tone thusfar, so my own expectations are pretty positive here.
Star Wars fandom continues to take full effect even after the events in Anaheim, especially while there’s plenty of time between now and this December’s eventful release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That film is expected to begin a new canon beyond the previous six films with several memorable character to join the fresh faces of the galaxy, but equally as important, other faces will be attached to this new universe as well.
Specifically speaking, it will be Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards‘s film, Star Wars: Rebel One that will first bridge the gap between episodes three and four as the first of several anthology films to come, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta with a script by Chris Weitz. Actress Felicity Jones and actor Ben Mendelsohn are set to star in the film which will forsee a tales of resistance fighters plot a mission to steal the Death Star. The Wrap is reporting that Snow White And The Huntsman co-star actor Sam Clafin is eyed to star while Nightcrawler co-star, actor Riz Ahmed is currently in talks for a role while details for either have been made public on which characters they will play.
Star Wars: Rebel One is expected to arrive on December 16 next year, nearly a year after Star Wars: The Force Awakens and less than a year before Star Wars: Episode VIII in May of 2017. Stay tuned for more info.
The latest production of Star Wars VII has already undergone a significant challenge due to the current recovery of principle franchise cast member, actor Harrison Ford since breaking his leg last week on set, leaving him to take two months off from filming. Nonetheless, filming continues with director J.J. Abrams at the helm for the film’s expected December 18, 2015 release date, and with at least two spin-offs on the way, the word is now that Looper helmer Rian Johnson is said to be in talks and will begin working on episode VIII, in addition to episode IX which is still possibly seeking a director.
Franchise auteur George Lucas is an acting consultant on the new trilogy moving forward from the first six films with VII directed by none other a cast that joins Ford with Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie. Lawrence Kasdan wrote the script with Abrams who is producing Kathleen Kennedy and Bryan Burk are producing. Composer John Williams is scoring the soundtrack.
Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards is currently tapped to direct one of two Star Wars spin-offs before heading off to work on Godzilla 2; The second spin-off will be handled by Fantastic Four reboot and Chronicle helmer Josh Trank.
Star Wars VIII and XI will release respectively sometime in 2017 and 2019.
Following the success of his new blockbuster entry into the summer with Godzilla, director Gareth Edwards has been confirmed to direct a forthcoming Star Wars spin-off film. The news comes just as Edwards, whose own take on the classic Toho property broke opening weekend records at the box-office since its release a week ago.
Edwards‘ participation also arrives in time as Lucasfilm and Disney have already begun principal photography for the upcoming seventh installment being helmed by director J.J. Abrams who co-wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan, who in turn, will also scribe Edwards‘ spin-off with X-Men: Days Of Future Past scribe Simon Kinberg. Details on what the plot of Edwards‘ film will be are currently unknown, except it is one of three spin-offs that were announced earlier this month, with at least one poised for a December 2016 release.
Edwards is also currently tapped to direct a second and third installment to Godzilla; Star Wars: Episode VII releases on December 18, 2015.
Stick around for more details!
From L to R: Director Gareth Edwards with actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson on the set of Godzilla (2014). Photo: Warner Bros.
Godzilla continues to reign supreme scoring some major high marks with $103M worldwide at the box office and rising, making it the single largest opening weekend of the year. While some may have been, and continue to be doubtful of director Gareth Edwards‘ newest monster thriller reboot, in large part, all positive opinions outweigh any negative critiques that may be out there. Point in fact, our own Darren Bailey screened the film earlier this month and glossed over it in his latest review, callng it “the single greatest creature movie since Jurassic Park.”
I saw it in 3D in a late night showing on Friday, and I might see it again. However, if you have not seen it yet, all signs point to it as a must-see, if not merely a preamble to the sequel. Yes, Warner Bros has made it official and are now on board with Legendary Pictures to develop a second offering attributed as a true, visionary love letter to the 1954 thriller from Toho, with Edwards tapped once again to helm.
Personally, I’m happy this film won’t flop. It’s a great Hollywood reboot of classic franchise and does away with Roland Emmerich’s huge mistake of a film 1998. It’s also one of those proud moments in life where Hollywood finally gets it right. So, needless to say, there’s reason to rejoice, with more monster battles ahead and a great director that knows how to tap into the source material for a modern audience.
Good job, Gareth!
From the opening credits of the film, where vintage footage of nuclear bomb “tests” are shown, we are immediately engaged in this world. We see glimpses of Godzilla’s scaly back right from the get-go. The surprise isn’t that there is a giant, God-like lizard monster living underwater. We already know that, which is great. Now we can focus on the lives of the humans in this story, one where there just happens to be an epic creature living in the Pacific.
With a forthcoming mobile video game and prequel comic book on the way this month by Legendary Comics, Godzilla fans have all the reason in the world to stay excited as the King Of Monsters himself prepares to dominate the box office on May 16. In light of this, we have some clips for the film which you can check out below, courtesy of IGN.
Check out the clips and make sure to get your tickets ASAP, and CLICK HERE to purchase your copy of Godzilla: Awakening and other Godzilla-related swag.
An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Gareth Edwards directs “Godzilla,” which stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Kick-Ass”), Oscar® nominee Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai,” “Inception”), Elizabeth Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”), Oscar® winner Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient,” “Cosmopolis”), and Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”), with Oscar® nominee David Strathairn (“Good Night, and Good Luck.,” “The Bourne Legacy”) and Bryan Cranston (“Argo,” TV’s “Breaking Bad”).