Sunday, December 18, 2016

I Saw Rogue One Last Night, And Wish I Hadn’t. (A Spoiler-Free, Cautionary Review)



It’s my policy to only share things positive here, or hopeful, or helpful, maybe beautiful, or all of the above. But with all of my social media currently being flooded by people insisting everyone “GO SEE ROGUE ONE NOW!" I feel I should issue a warning to people like me.

If you’re like me, then this season is a little (or a lot) stressful, a little (or a lot) sad, and if you’re able to carve out a few hours to go to the movies, you want that time to be rewarded. You want to get out from under the weight of presents and parties and obligations, and leave the theater feeling better than before you went in.

I freely admit I went into Rogue One in a bad place emotionally. I was stressed and sad and feeling guilty and desperately in need of a lift. Thanks to an exceedingly polite internet community, I had no spoilers, no warning, no idea of what was coming. I wish I had. I wish someone had written the review I’m about to write, for me.

I won’t spoil anything for you, either, because that’s not polite.  But again, if you’re like me, then maybe wait to see Rogue One. Or at least read this review first, so you’re more prepared than I was.


Let’s start with The Good:

- It’s Star Wars, down to the bones. It has the familiarity and nostalgia of the original films, without feeling like a copycat the way Force Awakens sometimes did. This is new. New characters, ships, creatures – but all with that unmistakable Star Wars feel.

- Everyone’s talking about the Easter Eggs, and while I’m sure I only caught the most obvious ones, they’re still a delight. Nothing too overt or campy, just sweet little nods to the other films sprinkled throughout.

- The story works. I love that this fills in a gap in Star Wars knowledge, and perfectly explains how the Death Star came to have such a glaring weakness.


 - And finally, THIS is how you write a female lead. No one so much as mentions that Jyn is a girl, much less treats her any differently because of it.  She dresses like a fighter, not a sexy fighter, and there is ZERO simpering or batting of eyelashes or dewy-eyed melt-downs.

The Bad:

- Much as I admired Jyn, I didn’t care about her. Not the way I did Rey and Finn. Jyn’s too flat, too one-dimensional. Even her back story fails to flesh her out into a real person. She’s a hero, but so closed off and hardened that it’s impossible to feel like you know her, much less relate to her.

- That goes for all the characters, really; even my favorite, the monk, is lost in a sea of too many people with too little dimension. I’m still not sure why Forest Whitaker in his Mad Max suit was even there.

- It’s heavy. The only laughs are provided by Alan Tudyk’s wise-cracking robot, and are so infrequent that our audience almost didn’t know what to do with them: like, "oh, is it ok to laugh now?" There are no happy, joy-filled moments, just action and intrigue and epic battle scenes, all soaked in the darkness of a hopeless war.


- It’s more violent by far than TFA, which I understand now is/was necessary for the story, to lead up to A New Hope. Rogue One puts the WAR in Star Wars, with gut-wrenching battles raining death and destruction, often placed in settings that feel uncomfortably down-to-earth. I don’t think it’s a spoiler, given this is a prequel to A New Hope, to say the bad guys win most of the time.

- The end scene with Vader is getting all the rave reviews, but I'll be honest, it turned my stomach. After nearly two hours of heaviness, this final scene was too much. Again, I see why they did it, and I can appreciate having this incredible back story leading up to the very second New Hope begins, but it’s not something I enjoyed watching.

I didn’t cry - and I'm the one who cries at everything! No, it's not that Rogue One is unbearably sad. Ironically, it's that it feels more hopeless than sad. And that's the last thing I want to feel this season.


So there you have it, guys: my exceedingly unpopular take on Rogue One. Take it with a huge grain of salt, of course, and feel free to call me too sensitive, because I know I am.  But if this helps even one or two fellow “sensitives” avoid feeling this way at the movies this season, then hey, worth it.

76 comments:

  1. I think I get it. It was heavy, without the hope and light of the others. I loved it, though. I was glad for a film without romance or sex, frankly. Anyways, no hate here, we all have opinions others don't agree with. The important thing is we love and support each other here even though we're all different.

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  2. It's an excellent point- it is not the movie to see when you're in a bad place. That said, I really loved it. And I was informed that the mad max looking character was from the clone wars. Didn't make sense to me either.

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  3. I am so glad for this review. Everyone was pushing me to see it and I just can't handle that kind of thing right now. I'd like to be festive, and hopelessness just seems counterintuitive during a difficult season. Thanks for the honesty!!
    We re-watched the new Ghostbusters instead! =)

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  4. I was disappointed in the movie, too. I was bored, waiting for the action to happen, and then when it did, I was still bored. I agree: the film was sadly lacking in character depth. The robot had the most personality. I just couldn't care about the characters enough to care about the story.

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  5. **Semi spolierish comment ahead**I think this is a good thing to put up there. Yes it's Star Wars and if you love Star Wars you should see it, but you don't have to see it in theaters. I personally am glad I didn't KNOW how it would end, although I had a feeling especially as certain events unfolded, because I think that would have made me not want to watch it. My first reaction after the end was I didn't ever want to see it again, once was enough, and I was sobbing terribly by the ending which is never fun.That's not quite how I feel now as there was a TINY bit of hope included but it's still far from my favorite. It is way darker then the others and I'm personally thinking they could have done some things differently (I'm not a fan of war movies) but other people say it's the best since Empire. It's all down to taste, but people do need to hear that other people have had problems coping with this particular story so they can make an informed decision and you wrote this very well. I know it's going to help someone.

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  6. You've helped me immensely then. And I thank you. I'm recovering from pacemaker/defibrillator surgery for a serious heart condition and have been feeling incredibly depressed and anxious about not only not being able to support and care for my family and worried about providing a decent Christmas for my amazingly patient and helpful 14 yr old son. A family member has offered a movie night for us and we'd been trying to decide what to see. Between the election results and my health issues I've been avoiding anything too dark and without hope. So I will wait for a time when I'm in a "better place". Thank you.

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    1. You hang in there Metzdarling and may your recovery be speedy and complete. And may your Christmas be lovely!

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  7. I agree with you. I would have still seen it, but I would have prepared myself and my nine-year-old. He has Asperger's and so doesn't get that attached to characters, so he was fine anyway. My husband raved about it, but while I liked it, I wasn't thrilled with it like I was with the Force Awakens. I too needed a lift (I was husband was laid off a few months ago) and didn't get one.

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  8. Sounds a bit like the mistake I made seeing Tim Burton's Big Fish a month after my father died.

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    1. Omg. Beautiful movie, but not at that time. I'm so sorry.

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  9. First I'm gonna say that you're INCREDIBLY WONDERFULLY brave to write and post this review. Fans can get so caught up in the excitement that is new content and go kinda crazy on other fans who differ in their feelings on how the new content turned out, especially when it's on the net where anonymity can make someone forget that there's a real person getting the comments and they're not just shouting into the void. So just like I always think when you share personal experiences and unpopular opinions (though rarely say because I never know what to say) you are one of the bravest people I know of.

    Second I'm gonna say a massive THANK YOU. This review was desperately needed. I know SO MANY people who have seen Rogue One and praised it and glee'd over it and keep saying 'You should totally go see it! Do it!' but refusing to tell me anything even about the feel of the movie for fear of 'spoiling' me.

    I'm definitely one of those sensitive people who would be deeply affected by an overall feeling of hopelessness in a movie. Sometimes that's okay and what I want out of a movie but this time of year in particular I can't handle it so your review just saved me from a serious spiral and will help others. So yeah, thank you thank you thank you Lady Jen (I hope you don't mind me calling you Lady Jen, I feel weird just calling people by first name only unless I've been personal friends with them for a few years) for the heads up. I'll save Rogue One for when I'm in the right place for it and watch Trolls for the umpteenth time cuz for me Trolls is a shot of pure sunshine.

    All the love and sparkles to you <3

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  10. It made the stakes real. I suspected where the movie was going from the first trailer, so I warned my sister to not let my young nieces watch until I could give them a review. This is the living embodiment of Han Shot first.

    I'm going to rewatch 7 to lift my spirits.

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  11. If you want an "upper" movie, go see Moana. I saw it yesterday -- reasonable plot, good animation, good singing, upbeat message. It's no Zootopia, but not bad.

    Lynn

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  12. Believe it or not, I've read a few things since having seen it, and it looks as though they did reshoots, and completely changed quite a bit of the last third of the movie, if compared to the trailers we got. But I understand completely where you're coming from Jen. It wasn't the type of movie that people like us should go into without warning.

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  13. My daughter and I loved it, but my roommate found it a bit flat. I will say that it does give some idea about what was going on before A New Hope.

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  14. Thanks for this bit of sense in a sea of hype. I have to admit I haven't seen all the SW movies so I would probably be lost in where this fits into the whole scheme. I have to agree with you - when I go to the movies it is to be entertained, rejuvenated and have a chance to escape from the all-too-real world. Not leave depressed or even worse - disappointed.

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  15. Thank for your review. I found it very intenese. DH and I debated taking our 8 year old when we took the rest of the kids. We ended up taking her and she did well but she did curl up next to me and hid a few times but the discussions were good.

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  16. I am so, so, so glad that you posted this. My partner and I were planning to go see Rogue One soon and now I think we'll take Anon's advice and see Moana instead -- neither of us is in a good place for that kind of heaviness right now, I think.

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  17. Thank you. I wanted to see it, but now i will wait. I prefer seeing happy movies. Im just not ready for much else right now.

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  18. THANK YOU for posting this review. I've been undecided about seeing it, and, like you, the last thing I want to feel right now is hopeless. I really appreciate someone addressing the overall feel of the movie rather than *only* the characters' depth (or lack thereof) and plot.

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  19. I'm not normally a person who would be affected by a movie in this way - normally.

    Lately I've noticed I'm not quite in the right headspace - I feel down and off for some reason I can't quite put my fingers on. Extra lonely, unfulfilled, and like a failure. After reading your review I know this is the wrong time to go watch this. I really want to see it but I'll wait til I can figure what's got me feeling so blue.

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  20. I feel for you. It's hard, and kind of sad, sometimes, but some of us connect a bit too easily and strongly with the fictional. A couple of days ago my dad and I watched Interstellar at home and don't get me wrong; it's a great movie. But I'm barely able to deal with my own mundane levels of loneliness, and this is several orders of magnitude beyond that. It took a couple of hours of stupid YouTube videos to feel ready to go to bed after that.

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  21. Thanks very much for the review/warning. I had a hunch it was basically a war movie, so had no intention of seeing it. I'm glad to have that confirmed.

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  22. Thank you! I appreciate this so much.

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  23. thanks for the warning. I am too sensitive to hopelessness. I won't see it at all.

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  24. THANK YOU. Very inclusive, detailed review without giving away spoilers. I really appreciate you giving us the heads up Jen.
    Maureen S

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  25. I agree with your review completely, Jen. I wasn't invested in the characters because of the eventuallity of their future. That, combined with a very dark projector made the whole experience a great disappointment. What I missed most was the wonderful music by John Williams. The whole experience just felt off.

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    1. I knew going in that John Williams didn't score it, and I definitely miss it. I can see why he didn't though; it would be far too taxing for him to score a movie every year. As much as I could tell the difference, I'm really glad he's sticking to the "main" story line.

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  26. Poop! I hadn't read anything about Rogue One, so I didn't realize it was supposed to be another prequel. I totally thought it was going to continue the story of TFA, which I saw in 3-D where I was the only person in a big theater (such a cool experience) and really enjoyed. I was looking forward to seeing Rey, Finn, BB-8 and the old gang again. I mean, why look for Skywalker if you weren't going to do anything with him? ;)

    I haven't seen any of George Lucas' prequels, but perhaps I should do so before I see this one. Any thoughts from other EPBOT fans?

    I agree that this is not the holiday season I was looking for...
    I can't even find many of my favorite old holiday movies on TV this year.

    Hang in there, everyone!
    -Zippy

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    1. Since TFA is Episode 7, then any sequel to it would be labled with episode 8, 9, etc. When they announced the sequel trilogy, they did say they were going to come out every other year, with a different Star Wars story in the off year.

      And you really don't need to watch the prequels to get this one, they really aren't that connected to this movie. This a very close in timeline prequel of events that were touched upon in ANH.

      And don't worry, you'll see more of Rey, Finn and the gang in Decmeber 2017 when Episode 8 comes out.

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  27. Well said. I agree with everything you said. Except. I did love it. I like war movies and I think I really enjoyed seeing the War that is glossed over by the heroics of the minority in all the other movies. That being said. I won't let my kids see it. I would advise againt it to anyone who doesn't like war. I told my sister not to see it. Also I was disapointed that I didn't feel any real or lasting connection to the main characters. I wish I could come out saying I was sad at the end...

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  28. I did enjoy it, but I agree with all of your points. The characters didn't have much development, and it was a lot more violent than I was expecting. I thought it had an almost Viet Nam-esque air to it, if that makes any sense, with the little girl crying in the road, the phrase "welcome home" and even the rebel uniforms. Maybe I'm reading too much into things.

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  29. ***POSSIBLY SPOILERISH*** This is an important and valid review of the movie. I REALLY enjoyed it, but I also kid of knew what to expect going in. As Mon Mothma said in "A New Hope", "Many Bothans died to bring us these plans." "Rogue One" is the story of getting those plans, and therefore the story of all those deaths. Still a great movie, but not one that everyone else will necessarily enjoy as much as I did, which is fine. Star Wars fans should see it, because it adds flesh to the mythos. Just understand, it is a story of death, war, and espionage.

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    1. Many Bothans died for the plans for Death Star 2 in Jedi nothe Death Star 1 in ANH.

      Otherwise totally agree with this comment. I loved it but I can see it being too heavy.

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  30. Thank you-I've been writing this review, myself, privately to friends for their children. I'm sensitive, and I found it dark, but good. It needed to do what it did. BUT, people need to be warned-this is DARK. So, this is a good, solid, non spoiler review. <3 You rock! <3

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  31. I absolutely adored Rogue One and it filled a very big, gaping Star Wars hole in my soul (Jedi is the movie that pulled me through my darkest times and this movie re-kindled that flame), BUT I totally understand where you're coming from with this review. If I had been in a different frame of mind when seeing it, it would have knocked me for a loop.

    In my case, the 20 minutes of war-soaked previews beforehand left me reeling. It did make me painfully aware of the elevated violence in Rogue One. Oddly, the final Vader bit shoved all that bleakness right out of my head and made me want to stand up and cheer because I knew exactly what scene it was leading to. I was suddenly 14 years old again and my brain was screaming "STAR WARS IS BACK!"

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    1. This is the exact same reaction I had. In fact, I did cheer and clap and the rest of the audience picked up the applause.

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  32. To be fair, the story was written precisely so the audience would not become emotionally attached to the characters. They keep you at arms length, keep you away from knowing their past lives or emotions or desires precisely so it doesn't hurt as much when the worst comes (as each character has already acknowledged will happen). The powerful part is that each hero gets to fulfill their own purpose in the rebellion, thus making it possible for everyone else to do theirs. A bit like Wash in Serenity.

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    1. I think these are really good points. (I'm still not over losing Wash, though . . .)

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  33. I enjoyed it, but it's a darker movie to be sure. It's tone reminds me of Empire, a lot. I agree with the characters being kind of one-dimensional, though

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  34. I've seen it twice now, once alone to make sure it was appropriate for my kids--I was more worried about my 10yo daughter and 8yo son than my 14 and 16yo sons--and they all loved it when I took them. I can see your points, but I slightly disagree with them. When I talked about it with my daughter, it was a lot of explaining that both men and women sometimes have to make sacrifices for the greater good. Being that all four of my children are adopted out of foster care, it was easy for them to relate to Jyn. Her line about not looking up made an impression on me that sometimes you've got to take care of yourself in the midst of the crisis and not worry about the bigger picture. Many foster kids face that every day, so that's when she snapped from two dimensional to fully fleshed out for me. I would have liked to have seen some more of her back story, but what we got will suffice.

    Vader was impressive and reinforces why he is--and always should be--the baddest of the villains. I loved that section personally. I wish you had, too. But I understand your point about it.

    I do wish the CGI had been just a bit better. But it was excellent for what tech we have today.

    Probably not the best time to release a major war movie, I'll grant you that. But it will sell a lot of toys.

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  35. As a "sensitive" thank you for this. Seriously helps <3

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  36. I LOVED Rogue One, especially given what a massive disappointment I found Fantastic Beasts to be. FB felt like they were just desperately trying to cash in on the HP franchise (especially with releasing the script), but Rogue One at least felt like the right story to tell IF they had to tell another Star Wars story (though obv all movies are made for money, just saying Rogue One justified its existence better).

    That doesn't mean you're wrong though, as someone said Rogue One is better than TFA, but TFA is more entertaining which I would agree with. I liked the characters despite their limited screen time, but it's worth pointing out that I loved the Hobbit movies because of all the dwarves and their stories despite their, um, limited screen time, so heh, that's just me. I think Baze was my fave character and I don't really know anything about him (except that he's obv gay and dating a blind monk).

    That said, what's most important for me after this movie is that it gives me hope for ep 8! I loved TFA, but I've worried that it was only good because it so closely resembled ANH (which I do not have a problem with, it was a great way to revive the franchise) and that telling new stories would not work out ... this movie, however, proves that they can absolutely tell new and engaging Star Wars stories and now I can't wait for more.

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  37. Makes sense. Here's another (spoiler-free) take on it which goes into a technical analysis of why the movie would've affected you this way: http://www.scifiwright.com/2016/12/rogue-one-spoiler-free-review/

    But I know what will cheer you up!

    Two movies to make Jen (and her hubby) smile:

    American Dreamer (https://www.amazon.com/American-Dreamer-JoBeth-Williams/dp/B0007TKHDO)

    Window Wonderland (http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/window-wonderland)

    Seriously, these are funny, witty, goofy and positive.

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  38. To each their own. Enough was said about this story in Ep 4, A new hope - that the outcome was already known. The hopelessness was baked in and expected ...Ep 3 is pretty darn dark and hopeless, this movie appropriately follows suit but leaves a glimmer of hope,and it sets the Ep 4 up perfectly. I'm not a fanboy that's bashing your opinion ,you are certainly entitled to it - but respectfully ,I wholeheartedly disagree. This is an absolute must see and ranks up there with the best of the saga.

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  39. When I saw the title of your post I was a little taken aback - generally I agree with your opinions on most things, and you're one of the people I respect most online. And I saw the film yesterday and loved it.

    Then I read the post and didn't disagree with any of it. I totally see where you're coming from and agreed with everything, although some of the things you have in the "bad" column I actually thought were strengths. I came to the film in a different headspace, and while some things hit a little too close to home for comfort, I left feeling likeit served the story - this story and the original trilogy.

    So, after being taken aback by the post title, I found that I loved this post. I loved your honesty and the fact that you're not criticising the film, just tempering some of the excitement on the basis of the potential emotional impact it might have. I knew that whatever your opinion, it wouldn't change the fact that I respect and enjoy your thoughts, but it made me smile that though we came to different conclusions, I agreed very much with what you had to say and love you for saying it.

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  40. I, too went in spoiler-free. I KNEW what had to happen, but....Friday morning I saw a review that said "This is a WAR movie - people die. A LOT of people."

    I wish I had known that earlier. I can't watch war movies - I get nightmares. I would have liked more time to prepare myself. It's not the violence, so much - it's..,,,war. Can't explain it any better than that.

    That being said, it was a good movie. It felt like a made-for-TV movie (we joke it's a Holiday Special, only good!) instead of an actual Star Wars installment. Logically, it works - and if I had actually thought about the events it had to cover, I would have been a little more prepared,,,,,but I was expecting Star Wars, not Wars.

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  41. Oh my, I went to see it yesterday too and had a similar reaction!! Why didn't someone warn me?! Star Wars is about overcoming huge adversity and evil but atleast there was hope (even Empire Strikes Back felt hopeful at the very end) - and despite everyone in the film saying that word, I didnt feel that at all. I love the world-building and meeting new characters who can transport you to a galaxy far, far away so the universe feels bigger after you've seen the movie, but after the ending on this one it felt like everything suddenly contracted back in and we were back to where we started before the movie. And I did cry, only because I'm reading the background novel Catalyst so the message to Jyn was even more poingnant. As a mom, I was also disappointed that with all the toy hype since this movie is not something my daughter (who loves TFA) won't be able to watch for a while. At the end of the day, the movie felt like a commentary on our current political climate and made me wonder who the good guys actually were - suddenly the rebel alliance was a little harder to root for and Jyn and the monk were the only one who seemed to have their morals on straight. After watching the Alliance at work it's no wonder things fell apart before TFA takes place. I could go on, but that's the best I can do without spoilers! As a side note, it was cool seeing Darry Vader's lair which was supposed to be in the original trilogy so it looks like RO used the original Ralph McQuarrie drawings.

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  42. Thank you. I have an 11yo who has grown up watching these movies, starting with the originals, then the prequels, and has binge-watched the cartoons when they are available. I think we will wait to see this one on the small screen, and I will IMMEDIATELY load up A New Hope to follow it. Because my sweet boy and I will need the lift afterwards.

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  43. Thank you for writing this review. This is exactly the information I look for with EVERY movie I go see. My husband usually looks up spoilers or asks friends who have seen it "Happy/uplifting ending or no?" I think he enjoys the stories no matter the spoilers or maybe he just sacrifices for my emotional health. I hope it's the first case, but would not be surprised if it's the second.

    My depression is currently manageable without chemical intervention, but emotional states are such fragile things. I have to protect myself. I can't afford to let a movie, TV show, etc. wipe out my ability to function for 24hrs (or more) while I get myself back in balance.

    Self-care, and trying to help others with their self-care, is something I think qualifies as "positive, or hopeful, or helpful, maybe beautiful, or all of the above."

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  44. I appreciate your review. I also don't need any more stress than the holiday season provides. I've come to the conclusion that lately, as a culture, we enjoy being stabbed visually and have our emotions twisted till splintering. This past year I made the choice to not watch any television or movie that included on screen torture, rape, incest, or cannibals. I was left with very little to watch. It's not that I'm squeamish, I just don't have the energy to inevitably ruminate on the horror of those storylines. I know war is dirty, but during the holidays I'd prefer a marshmallow world to live in.

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  45. I went into the movie prepared for at least Magnificent Seven sadness, which helped, I think. I find your review interesting, though, because I *did* find the movie hopeful. I thought it was the most incredibly hopeful incredibly sad film I had ever seen. I cried, and I want to see it a gain--and I don't typically go for sad movies.

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  46. As I told someone this morning, I thought it was damn good, that it boded well for future standalones, but it's joined "Cold Mountain," "The English Patient," and "12 Years a Slave" on my list of "Movies that were excellent and I admired but I will not be watching again." Dear GODS it was depressing...

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  47. I almost cried at the end. And I am most definitely not a "sensitive". Can't imagine how it must have felt for you. *hugs*

    I realized how it had to end as the final battle started: a sudden "oh CRAP" realization that they will have to explain why all these people were not in ANH. And it was beautiful, in a way. (SPOILERS------) Good guys don't always save the day and have a happy-ever-after. But they literally looked death in the face and went out defiant. That alone made up for any lacking character development for me. (Then again, I never really connected with any of the original Star Wars characters either.)

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  48. thank you! i knew only the teensiest bit about it going into it, and i thought i was prepped knowing how episode IV starts. but...nope. i was so, so upset afterward. way more than i expected to be. i DID end up caring about each of the characters and was filled with sheer dread the entire second half, hoping beyond all hopes that someone, ANYONE, would make it out okay and give me that sliver of hope i was promised in the headlines of the reviews i had read prior to seeing it. uh, no. nope. none of that. i left with such a pit in my stomach and just a black sadness about it all. i completely see how some might LOVE it. but it just made me feel even more hopeless and sad than i already did. which, in and of itself, makes me sad. hugs to everyone on both sides of the coin--may we find hope however it speaks best to wherever we are in life.

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  49. Thank you for saying this! I felt the same way. Can't stand watching things go wrong over and over and over...

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  50. I appreciate the candidness. I am still going to see it because, well, Star Wars. But maybe it's not one I suggest as a family outing during the holiday season.

    Jen and John (and Tonks and Lily), I just want to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and all that! Thank you for your wonderful blogs and your little-kid joy and humor and your okay-ness to put it all out there. :) You guys rock and don't forget that.

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  51. Thanks for the warning. I don't need any more bummers, death, and destruction this holiday season. Too much of that around already.

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  52. Thank you for the review! Everyone I know has been saying I have to see this movie, and I had been hoping that there would be some uplifting or humorous moments to offset the other, more depressing scenes that I was expecting. I appreciate the honesty. It's definitely still a must-see for me, but not a must-see right now.

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  53. This sums it up better than I could. I wish I would have waited to see it. I've been in a really bad place the last 2 weeks, and I left Rogue One feeling hopeless and on the verge of tears. Not good for the weekend before Christmas, which is already a bad time for me emotionally.

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  54. I've yet to see it but know when I'm in a bad place (depressed/anxious/physical health) I know I need to steer clean of dark thing. Sadly I love dark stuff. That being said it kinda sounds like your mood tainted your experience. I know it does mine when I'm in the rut. Just my biased $0.02 thought.

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  55. I am sorry you're having a tough time. I just saw the movie, and I enjoyed it and felt it was serious but not too much of downer. I liked that the stakes were real-- given that we know certain things do happen, there were other things that were up in the air and the filmmakers took advantage of that in what I found to be a satisfying way.

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  56. Oh, Jen...I'm so sorry you didn't have this review for yourself. It's awful to be blindsided like that. Going through life as a sensitive can be so difficult - and yes, this time of year is particularly hard, especially with challenges like chronic illness and sleep issues, etc. Please take care of yourself and try not to feel too guilty about it. It's just so necessary to our functioning, physically and mental well-being. Hugs to you.

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  57. Thank you for the warning! I've been on the fence too, but I'm super sensitive and I would absolutely leave crying if you hadn't been looking out for me. Now *if* I do see it, I'll know what I'm getting into. <3

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  58. Thank you. I've been feeling pretty hopeless lately anyway and I DON"T need a movie to make me feel worse. I appreciate all that you contribute to the world through your websites and sharing.

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  59. Thank you! I really needed your post, because I had no idea how dark the movie would be (I just saw one review titled how it wasn't dark enough!!!). People keep saying viewers should know how it would end, but I hadn't really thought about it that closely. I also get very affected by darkness and hopelessness and death, so I REALLY hate nasty surprises. So, IF I ever see it, I'll wait until it's summer and sunny and early in the day so I can recover...

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  60. THANK YOU for a wonderful, truthful review! Oh I wish I'd read this before agreeing to go see this movie! I'm of the generation of the original Star Wars. I fell for Luke and Han, they were out wonderful, adorable heros of the day! I saw the movie in theaters multiple times with my friends and we could quote many of the lines. C3PO and R2 were adorable and sweet. Luke was innocent and there were good guys aplenty. THEY offset what would have felt entirely hopeless. Yes Vadar was powerful and the 'death star' huge, but somehow we knew that good would triumph. It was downright patriotic. But as you said, this movie was hopeless from the beginning. In a way, this had to 'be like that', but I do think they could have left some hopefulness at the end. In this movie, it's almost impossible to tell the good guys from the bad! I never felt good about the lead guy (never caught his character's name) until the very end. You were so right about Jen, she was flat and unemotional and I couldn't relate to her at all. I kept thinking things like - don't these people ever eat? sleep? go to the bathroom? lol. Vadar didn't seem like Vadar to me, I kept seeing differences and flaws, lol. I went to the movie because my grown son invited me and we saw the last one together. Kind of like a mother/son thing we do together. But I wish now I'd asked him to take me to something else. I must say, I was disappointed in this movie. Too much violence, and as you said, comedic moments that just fell flat. That's my two cents.

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  61. Thank you. We were going to go see this last night. At the last moment, my son and I backed out and hubs went with the rest of the herd (free tickets thru a work function of his business). It was packed, so us leaving opened up seats for business people, so that was a positive. My son (he's 14) and I opted to go get wings from BDubs and go home. We had a blast, eating wings and watching Frozen, and hubs could continue hobnobbing with the business guys. I truly appreciate your review, Jen!! I'm so happy I didn't go. I'll catch it later. AFTER the holidays! ��

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  62. I'm SO glad I saw this before going!! My mental illness has been terrible lately, and I was considering going to see this as a birthday treat to cheer me up. I appreciate your candidness, it saved me a bit of mental angst!

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  63. If at all possible, I advise that you read the book Star Wars Catalyst prior to seeing the film as this details the time from just before Jyn's birth all the way until the Erso family's escape to live on the run from the empire. I walked into the theater already completely emotionally invested in the characters, but was able to appreciate the new additions (like the monk) and blubbered like a baby on a number of occasions.

    I totally feel that had I not read the prequel novel, the characters would've been more flat or in some cases unnecessary, possibly due to the way it was edited to be very action heavy and lean on background info? I left the theater hopefull, a bit solemn, but with the perspective that many smaller actions and events increment to something larger than individuals.

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  64. Jen, THANK YOU for that review. I was beginning to think that I was the only Star Wars fan that didn't love it. I understand that it's called Star WARS, but this was a bit much. As the end credits rolled I turned to my friends and said "Well, that was a downer". I wish I had read this review first so at least I would have been mentally prepared.

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  65. Thank you for this! This is really, really helpful, exactly the sort of thing I needed to hear. I'd been debating whether to go see it in theaters here, but hesitating because, despite positive reviews, I was having a hard time getting a read on the feel of the movie. But right now I really don't need to go see something with a hopeless tone like that, and wouldn't much enjoy something with characters I can't connect with emotionally. I'll see it when it comes out on DVD, but it sounds like a theater viewing would be a bad choice right now.

    So thank you very much for your honest review! I know it's tough when you don't want to feel like a downer, but this was exactly what I needed to hear to make a good decision about seeing it right now.

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  66. I was so disappointed with Eps 1 - 3, and really kinda bummed that Ep 7 was so much of a retread of the storyline from Ep 4 - so I found Rogue to be a breath of fresh air in that it had PLOT. It had visuals that were used to (mostly) support the story rather than to make a 60+ yr old director giggle with geeky glee.

    Rogue was heavy and the ground battle scenes did have a strong whiff of gritty realism that was maybe too much like the perpetual and pointless bloody skirmishes that dominate the Mideast in this galaxy. And I get that they needed to setup what's to come in the later episodes, but maybe they went a little too dark and viscerally violent.

    [Spoilerish comment to follow]

    I thoroughly enjoyed the final scene that flipped Darth's entrance in Ep 4 to the other perspective. Felt like it dovetailed seamlessly into Ep 4. And I loved seeing the plans make into the hands of the intended recipient, BUT there was something noticeably "off" about that CG for that specific character that never caught me with the other synthetic actors.

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  67. Thank you so much for the heads up. December is always a really hard month for me and this year it has been really tough. I had planned on seeing it this week, but now, I'll wait.

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  68. Belated thanks for the review. I took the yard ape to see FB&WTFT instead and am so glad I did. We needed hope and wonder

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  69. Hi Jen, I saw Rogue One this weekend and wanted to thank you for your review. It was helpful to know in advance to expect a darker movie. I really enjoyed the movie and I think it's partly because the mood of the movie didn't surprise me. Anyway, I wanted to say I think you did a great job of providing a spoiler-free review that still gave people an idea of what to expect.

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