Movie 411: Star Wars, Rogue One

Directed by: 

Gareth Edwards

Screenplay by

Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy

Rated: 

PG-13

Release Date: 

December 2016

Genre: 

Sci-Fi, Action

The Hook: 

Um, because it’s Star Wars

Summary

Members of the Rebel Alliance decide to steal the building plans of the Death Star after finding out there may be a design flaw that could destroy the weapon. Intel is questioned when the source is known to be an Empire scientist who helped build the weapon.

The Review

All right. I’m just going to come out and say it. This one wasn’t on the top of my list of movies to watch in the theater. Don’t get me wrong. I respect the Star Wars franchise. I may not love it as much as others who are die-hards in this fandom (like, from the beginning beginning and not just in this past decade), but I do enjoy the movies. It just isn’t on the top of my list because there are other movies I wish to see on the big screen and this one I am good with waiting for the DVD or Netflix to pick it up.

That said, I am so glad I did watch it on the big screen because this is my favorite one yet.

The Plot . . .

I have to say that I appreciate this story line in the franchise. It’s the event that set things in motion. Though I don’t think that’s entirely accurate when you consider that it really has nothing to do with the conversion of Darth Vader and such. That part of this universe was in motion before this so allow me to rephrase. This event turned the tide for the Rebel Alliance and fills the gap between Episodes 1, 2, and 3 to Episodes 4, 5, 6. Anakin is already in Darth Vader mode, but Luke and Leia haven’t really entered the picture yet (for those of us who need to get our bearings  in this world because we aren’t die-hard Star Wars fans. And please feel free to correct me if I’m not quite getting it either). Rogue One revolves around the Rebel Alliance stealing the plans from the Empire so that Luke can blast at the Death Stars vulnerability and–ka-boom!–that is the climax of Episode 4: Star Wars. This story gap is brilliant. Who doesn’t love a good underdog-in-your-face kind of story? I mean, we all can guess what happens, but it still makes for an exciting adventure albeit a tragic one.

. . . and Presentation

I feel Garth Edwards is genius in his execution. He added his mark on this franchise and deserves all the accolades tossed his way. Weitz and Gilroy did a great job translating this story into a script Edwards brought to life. The story moved along at a steady pace and I felt the character introductions were done nicely and the plot points were well placed. Intense scenes were balanced with humor and I couldn’t help but admire the way things came together. This coming from my mind where I kind of knew what the ending would be and yet couldn’t help but watch, cheer, and get all pumped when our team accomplished its mission.

Of course, picture and story mean nothing without a cast who can carry the storyline to completion. Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso) did such a good job in this leading role. I haven’t seen her before this film so I can’t compare with past performances, but I can’t wait to see her in Inferno (which is on my list of theater-going movies because I am a huge fan of Robert Langdon, of the books–not that Tom Hanks isn’t doing a good job portraying this beloved fictional character of mine. I digress). Diego Luna (Cassian Andor) also does a good job acting Jones’ opposite. This duo did a good job leading this story and their chemistry blended well with Donnie Yen (Chirrut), Wen Jiang (Baze), and Alan Tudyk (the voice of K-2SO. And he did a great job for a robot voice. Great job meaning he brought personality to this robot voice and the comedic timing and tone on his lines were on point. So there.). Appearances by Forrest Whitaker (Saw Guerrera) and Mads Mikkelson (Galen Erso) added just the right touch to move the story along and give us fans more characters to . . . appreciate.

The Verdict

It is definitely worth the investment to add this to your library and I know that goes without saying (and not even a question) for this fandom. As I mentioned earlier, this one has to be my favorite one in this saga. It may be because I find this one the different from the rest. Unique. A divergence of the original story line (sort of). But that would be irrelevant if it weren’t for the way it was brought together so kiddos to Gareth Edwards and his production team for giving us another one to add to our library.

Coming Soon: Things I Want to Watch

Movie 411

The Accountant

Premiering October 14, 2016

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Premiering October 21, 2016

Hacksaw Ridge

Premiering November 4, 2016

TV 411

Stranger Things

On Air

I’m on the fence about this one, though. A part of me wants to watch it, but I’m hesitant regarding just how freaky/scary it may be. But I’ve gotten better since I’ve become part of the Supernatural fandom.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Premiering November 25, 2016

 

Trailers: YouTube

General Info: IMDb

Feature Image: funkyland.com

Movie 411: Gods of Egypt

Director: Alex Proyas
Screenplay: Max Sazama & Burke Sharpless
Rated: PG-13
Released: February 26, 2016
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
The Hook: Egypt mythology. That is all.

I’m a sucker for most things action-adventure and all things mythology and magic (and paranormal-but not the freaky horror kind of paranormal), but I must admit, when it comes to Egypt mythology I am limited in my knowledge of their gods. I know the main players like Ra and Horus and Isis, but even then I question myself when it comes to what they are a god of, which is why I was so excited about this movie when I saw the trailer.

Summary

Set has killed his brother, maimed and banished his nephew, and taken over Egypt. Chaos ensues, naturally. Caught in the middle of all this is Bek and the love of his life, Zaya. Zaya worships Horus and she convinces Bek to steal the Eye of Horus and give it back to him so he can challenge his uncle and restore peace in the land. After some reluctance, Bek agrees and the adventure begins.

The Elements

I love this story. I love that it answers the question “So, what happened between the time of Osiris’ murder and Horus’ reign?” They zero in on the murder of Osiris and follow Horus’ journey to avenge his father’s death. And, of course, he can’t do it alone. It takes a mortal to get him out of self-pity and into the game. Egypt is in chaos and someone needs to put Set in check. With the focus based on the power struggle It’s a such a strong concept. I have to venture on to say that this is the first movie I’ve seen on the big screen dealing solely on Egyptian gods. I mean, there are other movies that have an Egyptian god in the story, but this is the first I’ve seen done on the gods themselves. It was fun to watch.

Since the characters are based on gods, you have your characters pretty much laid out. Set (Gerard Butler) and Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) are strong characters in lore so it was down to their portrayals. Butler and Coster-Waldau did a great job with that. They played to the tension between uncle and nephew and the each played their role as, well, gods.

Mostly, though, I enjoyed the unseen factor–Bek (Brenton Thwaites). Bek added the human element to this story line. There is always that struggle between mortal and god, in that gods are superior and they let you know it. That may very well be the case, however, they do need people to worship them, you know? Bek challenges Horus in the way that needs to be done. I love that he’s a skeptic and/or he believes that the gods are good-for-nothing, that he takes care of himself. And I love his other half, Zaya (Courtney Ethan).

While Bek challenges Horus, Zaya challenges Bek. She’s the one who believes that some gods are good and some gods are worth believing in, and that includes Horus. So she pushes Bek to help, if only to please her but mainly because someone has to challenge Set. In my brief studies of Egypt in World History, Egypt always had strong women and even though they aren’t in the lime light, their influence is undeniable. Ethan does a good job with Zaya. Her innocence. Her compassion. Her determination. 

The timeline also flows well. The opening scene shows a celebration of sorts and then zeros in on Bek. We follow him through the market and into Zaya’s home (I assume it’s “their” home, but I’m playing it safe). From that introduction we understand what the big deal is and where Bek and she fits into the story. If unfolds from there and flows nicely until you fade to black and roll credits.

The Presentation

The scenes were awesome! Cinematography was done well with the blending of CG. Continuity is felt throughout the movie and you can connect the dots. Scenes are what tells the story and I enjoyed the way it was presented. And I have to say, opening up with Bek then introducing the gods seemed to really stick out at me. I love how that played out. With story told mainly from Bek’s perspective, it makes the story easier to relate to. We all cheer for the human, in case you didn’t know that.

In Conclusion

If you didn’t already know, I enjoyed it. For those who love action and adventure, this one’s for you. For those who love mythology, this one’s for you. There is humor, there is romance, there is kinship, and there are lessons learned. It’s PG-13 so swearing and violence is kept at a minimal. In fact, I can’t remember any significant swear words, but that could just be my internal auto-correct.  I was excited about it and I wasn’t disappointed. I’d add it to my library for sure.

 

 

Movie Info: IMDb

Sneak Peeks: Movie 411s (July 2016) updated

I’m sitting out in the yard this fine Wednesday morning, preparing myself to do some posting, when I realized I have already reviewed two of the three Sneak Peeks I mentioned in Sneak Peeks: Movie 411s (July 2016) (smh, I was using my Movies Watched – 2016 list and I hadn’t updated it yet)! So, here’s an updated Sneak Peek :

Last Knights

A fallen warrior rises against a corrupt and sadistic ruler to avenge his dishonored master.

This one kind of flew under the radar. I didn’t hear about it until the moment I watched it. And you know what? Look for the review :).

The 5th Wave

Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother.

No matter how many times I’ve declared that I’m not really a fan of sci-fi, it seems I’m drawn to their story lines. Perhaps I should just concede and accept the fact that I do love some (coughs most) story lines. And this one isn’t an exception.

Sneak Peeks: Movie 411s (July 2016)

Since I put out a Sneak Peek for books I felt it necessary to follow-up with Movies and Television. So here it goes.

Gods of Egypt

Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.

When I saw this trailer, I knew I wouldn’t be able to pass this up. This has got to be the first movie I’ve seen based on Egyptian mythology in . . . well, ever. Skipping a review on this one would just be bad manners.

X-Men: Apocalypse

After the re-emergence of the world’s first mutant, world-destroyer Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

I have been a fan of most things X-Men since the 90s cartoon. When the trailer was released I was so curious to see how they’d continue this franchise. And I can’t wait to supply some details.

Scents and Sensibility

Two sisters find that they have to make their own way in the world after their father is jailed. Elinor is a cleaner in a spa. Marianne works for a marketing company but she also makes scented lotions, which turn out to be a real winner.

This is one of the Austin books I have yet to read. I’ve tried it, but just couldn’t make it past chapter one. However, I do love the stories I’ve read from her and watching movie renditions is always fun. So this one is also on the horizon.

Movie Junkie 411: John Wick

Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Screenplay by: Derek Kolstad
Rated: R
Release Date: October 24, 2014

I didn’t know whether or not I wanted to watch this one, truthfully. I knew it starred Keanu Reeves, who is one of my favorites (and I’m not quite sure why, so don’t ask), and I knew it was like an action flick. But that’s about it. But since I’m a movie lover and an action flick junkie, I said “why not?”

Plot: John is mourning the loss of his wife, who he loved very much. One day, he stops to put gas in his car when a bunch of obnoxious guys pull up at the pump next to him. They’re checking out his car because 1) they’re guys and 2) it was a really nice ride. One of them approaches John, asks some questions about the car (typical guy-like questions: “what year?” and … some engine mumbo jumbo), and offers to buy the car. Of course, the car isn’t for sale and John tells him that. The guy gets all offended and mouths off, in which John mouths back, and that ticks off Gas Station guy because “no one talks to me like that.” This starts off a chain of events and, well, as you can imagine it’s not at all what they guy expected. Gas station guy ends up breaking into John’s house with his gang of “tough guys,” banged him up pretty good including knocking him unconscious, killed his dog, and steal his car. The fun begins when the Gas Station gang tries to take the car into a chop shop. The chop shop owner immediately asks where they got the car from and then basically tells them to “get that [*bleeping*] car” out of his shop. He even slaps the kid across the face. And now you know for sure John’s an interesting person.

It’s your typical “do you even know who you’re messing with?” plot line, but I like it. Seriously, bad guys don’t ever seem to ask questions. I mean, Gas Station gang pulls up speaking Russian. They’re all speaking Russian. Gas Station idiot talks to John in English, but when their conversation turns heated, John replies in Russian. And none of them, none of them, thought it weird? I know I’d be like, “Ok, who is this guy? He was listening to us, understood us enough to reply in Russian.” And maybe it’s just me, but a warning flag would start waving. Despite the usual plot line, dialogue and delivery is what made this a pretty good movie in my book. Action sequences weren’t that bad either.

Acting was pretty good too. Of course, you have Keanu Reeves as John Wick. And I don’t know about that tagline on the picture “Best since Matrix” because I thought Reeves did a pretty good job in 47 Ronin. Michael Nyqvist playing the opposition, Russian mobster Viggo Tarasov. Gas station guy, Iosef Tarasov who is Viggo’s son, was played by Alfie Allen and first thing that popped into my mind was “Hey, Game of Thrones guy. Not bad landing the role.” Allen’s has a smallish role, but it was good to see him on the big screen. I’m not a huge GoT fan, yet, but I’ve seen a few episodes that he was in and I like seeing a TV actor upgrade every now and then. And John Leguizamo is Aurelio, Mr. Chop Shop guy. Smallish role as well, but he’s in one of my favorite scenes.

Viggo (Nyqvist), phone call to Aurelio: “Aurelio, I heard you struck my son.”

Aurelio: “Yes, sir I did.”

Viggo: “May I ask why?”

Aurelio: “Because he stole John Wick’s car and killed his […] dog.”

Viggo: “Oh.” *hangs up phone*

Because when a Russian mobster can only say “oh” to a chop shop guy slapping his son, you know chop shop guy was well within reason to do so, which only makes you wonder who in the world is John Wick? So awesome. You also had other big stars like William Dafoe (Marcus) and Ian McShane (Winston). It was a pretty good cast and they did an awesome job.

Action scenes are your typical shoot ’em up, slash ’em, blow things up sequences. Done well and stayed true to the typical action genre. Camera shots and sequences didn’t take away or distract from the movie and while they didn’t really enhance the movie, I don’t think that was the point. It was meant to be a straight shot and that’s what we got. No need to be super fancy if you’ve got a pretty good plot and lots of action.

If you’re one to shy away from violence, then I’d skip this movie. If you’re one to shy away from vulgarity, then, yeah, stay away from this movie as well. If you love action, don’t mind blood, and can auto-correct the swearing to *bleeps* in your mind than I’d check this movie out. All in all, I probably would watch this movie again, on Netflix or something. I didn’t find it interesting enough to add to my collection, but I did enjoy the movie. I’d probably buy it if it was on special or something.

Photo credits: themoviedb.org