Rogue One vs The Last Jedi

 

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I could end this review simply stating: everything The Last Jedi does wrong, Rogue One gets right. I mean, it’s no secret that I gave The Last Jedi a banana peel in my mini review (and if it is, *surprise*, even if that was in no way surprising). Also unsurprisingly, I don’t want to spend all my precious time dwelling on a movie I didn’t like- buuut the thing is when I was watching Rogue One I couldn’t stop comparing the two movies. Because in every area that TLJ was deficient, Rogue One restored my faith in Star Wars (well, in the sense that I’ll happily go back and watch the originals, at this stage I’ll pay money not to see the new ones 😉).

Let’s start with the fact that Rogue One MIRACULOUSLY had compelling characters. I know, what a *crazy, out-there concept*. Somehow, the writers figured out that giving Jin a solid backstory and reasons for doing things would actually make me care about her 😉. One of the most frustrating things about TLJ is that it could’ve been half decent- if they hadn’t forgotten to fill us in on all the whys and wherefores and skipped straight to “subverting expectations”. In order for that to even work, you’ve got to start with the basics building blocks of characterisation. You’ve got to give them motivations and fixed personality traits. I mean, it’s the bare minimum expectation when it comes to stories: it should all make sense internally. Sadly, in TLJ characters acted with so much inconsistency it made my head spin. Doing this for Rogue One made for a far more satisfying adventure.

Funnily enough, this movie also recognised the need for characters to have different roles, making them fulfil different purposes in the story. Putting my sarcasm aside- I have to *explode with rage* for a second that in both Force Awakens and TLJ this wasn’t seen as a crucial part of storytelling, cos Rey had to kick-all-the-butts. Making Rey *all the characters* is the perfect way to create a Mary Sue- and a good way to alienate a large proportion of your audience. Far more entertaining is to do what Rogue One did: have a pilot, a rogue, a fighter and a sort of jedi. All of whom bounced off each other dramatically and organically grew together. Wowee, the main characters actually get character arcs and it works!

Paying close attention character development is the least of it though. Not only does Rogue One avoid all the little flaws that made TLJ so unbearable, it also managed to create an interesting narrative. There’s actual tension and real conflict- and not just “because the plot demands it”. There’s none of that contrived drama where the commander and subordinate bicker constantly over the need to have a plan vs let’s just wing it (JK I secretly have a plan all along). Add some genuinely *scary* villains to counterbalance the hero’s aims and you have a plot! Together with real stakes and a moving conclusion, you have an actual movie. The sole downside of Rogue One is that (obviously) if you know the original trilogy, you will guess every plot point before it happens. That said, I was predictably a blubbering mess by the end, so clearly the sense of inevitability doesn’t get in the way of its tragic delivery. If anything, it only heightened my foreboding (I would like to do an experiment and show this to someone that’s never seen Star Wars before though- I reckon it would destroy them emotionally *evil laughs*).

After seeing Rogue One, I can understand why fans are divided about these movies. Rogue One fans just wanted to see a well-structured story with fun characterisation; TLJ folk wanted something totally different. And I get that. But I would argue, Rogue One did it better, even in this regard. Yes, Rogue One is standard sci fi fare… and yet, it’s also moving, visually stunning and had a bold ending. Relying on strong storytelling principles, I was transported to a galaxy far, far away. And that tragic twist meant the story not only played the game, but did something out of this world. That’s why there’s a clear winner here. I hereby take my banana peel for The Last Jedi…

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And raise it 5 bananas…

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With that, all that’s left to say is: May the Fourth Be With You!

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So, have you seen either of these movies? What did you think of them? Did you have a preference? Let me know in the comments!

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31 thoughts on “Rogue One vs The Last Jedi

  1. cryptomathecian says:

    Star wars has reversed the natural course of cinematography. Before you had a movie based upon a good book. And then they could mess it up a little (the movie was very rarely better than the book). Now you have books based upon a movie; some kind of a manual for those who want to make sense out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bookbeachbunny says:

    I watched Rogue One on the edge of my seat even knowing what was coming. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so disconnected from a movie, even a movie I know is bad, as during the Last Jedi.

    The only thing I didn’t like about Rogue One was the opening with her mother. But the end more than made up for that deficiency!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I think that’s completely fair- if I hadn’t seen people that I knew hated TLJ and force awakens say this was good I wouldn’t have bothered (plus it was on Netflix when I had it 😉 ) But there’s no way I’m finishing the main series- completely done with it- I’ll just watch/read spoiler reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ola G says:

    Rogue One is the only good movie of new SW flicks in my opinion, and it’s really a shame they destroyed the main Skywalker storyline, and then proceeded to destroy characters such as Han Solo with the Solo movie. I honestly can’t wrap my head around it: they had the universe mapped for them in the books, and could see all the good and bad decisions the writers already made over the course of the decades – and instad of analyzing it and choosing something, they decided to go with something of their own, which turned even worse than anything moved to “Legends”… Well, that’s enough of my mini-rant 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I agree and I’m so glad you think the same way! (although I can’t say I’ve seen the Han Solo movie- nor do I plan to!) I agree that they really messed up the storyline. And I really agree that they had every opportunity to make an amazing series. hahaha no worries- I enjoyed it and wholeheartedly agree!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Matthew Wright says:

    I agree – ‘Rogue One’ was definitely my favourite Star Wars movie out of all of them, with the possible exception of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (really, I’d put them on par). Whereas ‘The Last Jedi’ was simply silly. Watching that left me with the impression that a lot had been put in purely to make fans like it, whereas ‘Rogue One’ had a lot more creativity and leeway to become a story of itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Really glad you agree! And I definitely think Empire Strikes Back is on a par (I love the original trilogy to be fair). and I couldn’t agree more that the last jedi is silly (at best). and I definitely agree- even though they had to end the story in a particular way in order for it to be the prequel they wanted, they ended up making so many bold decisions with it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Matthew Wright says:

        I thought the ‘Rogue One’ ending was great & should have been there even if it wasn’t necessary to hook to the original movie. I have to add, that 1977 original (‘Part IV’ I think) really blew me away when I first saw it – a self-contained tale which captured the hero journey in every detail (thus making it identical to The Hobbit… but hey…) However, I was never such a fan of Star Wars that ‘anything Star Wars’ sufficed… it had to have great story, characters and so forth. Same as anything really, including books. Alas, SW has been a bit patchy (and I never have seen Eps 1-3).

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  5. shelts89 says:

    Rogue One is a great film! Easily the best ‘new’ Star Wars (though, I haven’t seen Solo so it isn’t a fair comparison). TLJ really put me off Star Wars for a year or so, it was just that bad a film. At least the prequels felt like Star Wars films – even Attack of the Clones, which is pretty bad too. But TLJ had absolutely none of that magic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      It really is! And I definitely agree (don’t worry, I haven’t seen Solo either- I’m not planning to check it out either tbh). TLJ has put me off as well. I wouldn’t have watched it at all if the people that hated TLJ so much hadn’t recommended it so strongly. Attack of the clones is a bad movie- but you’re right- at least it felt like a star wars movie (it’s actually unbelievable that TLJ makes that look better by comparison)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Winged Cynic says:

    Aww, guess I’m in the minority when I say that I absolutely loved The Last Jedi. 😂 The positives overwhelmed the negatives for me, but on the other hand, I can TOTALLY see the reasons why original fans of Star Wars would hate it (it’s definitely not without its pacing or narrative flaws), so I don’t think you’re alone here.

    Glad to say though that I’m with you on Rogue One! I saw some people hating on this movie before, saying it was unnecessary (which isn’t totally untrue), but I honestly think it’s a really poignant story that deserves to get told. I loved the unique characters, and the ending was very emotional. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehe no worries- I think that movie very much split the fanbase 50/50- as many people liked it as hated it. Yeah I think it appeals more to people who didn’t already love the franchise.

      I’m glad you’re with me on rogue one though! I did see a lot of people (especially people who like the last jedi) that weren’t enamoured with it at all, but I thought it was a wonderful movie- and I agree it was a story that deserved to be told!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Winged Cynic says:

        Nah you’re right, I didn’t love Star Wars before Last Jedi. The previous movies felt more blockbuster-y (which isn’t my thing), whereas this was more of a character study slash philosophy-driven drama (which I loved). I do think this latter approach would’ve been fine had they left Luke’s character alone though; they somewhat marred a beloved character’s legacy, so I have a feeling that’s why people are so against it. It’s exactly what happened to me with Dumbledore in Deathly Hallows; I didn’t love that book as much because they kinda marred his character, so I do understand where the backlash for Last Jedi is coming from.

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  7. marydrover says:

    Generally, I have this see-it-once-and-move-on response to Star Wars. I’ve seen them all once, and I enjoyed them all, and that’s about where it ends. Same thing with The Last Jedi. I left like, “Oh, that was fun! Lemme know when the next one comes out.”

    BUT ROGUE ONE??? I cried real tears even knowing how it ended, and I was transported back to that first time I watched the original trilogy (which, to this day, remains the only Star Wars movies I’ve watched more than once), and I just loved it so much? Like, way more than I expected.

    And, a few days late, but May the Fourth Be with You, as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tom says:

    I agree with you to a point, while I wouldn’t say I hated TLJ, it certainly didn’t do itself any nor did it make it easy for me to enjoy it. In fact it’s probably rather telling that I currently don’t own it and am making no efforts to buy it any time soon, which is unusual for me on account of me usually buying any Star Wars movie as soon as it becomes available.

    The story for me was incoherent, with too many narrative leaps and frankly utterly absurd scenes in it, the opening scene being the focus of my hatred. Someone seriously needs to fire the guys who design their equipment, serious design oversights too many times. Combine that with humour that too often bordered on outright comedy and a cast of characters that I was left feeling nothing for and it made for an average day at the cinema.

    It’s such a shame as well, if they’d spent less time trying to shock people with pointless plot twists and more time telling a decent coherent story, well, it could have been amazing.

    Anyhoo, really enjoyed the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thinking Moon says:

    I agree so hard. While I enjoyed The Last Jedi because it was a Star Wars movie and I love all Star Wars movies, Rogue One was waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy better. Characters were complex, the story was erudite, and overall the experience of Rogue One touched my emotions where The Last Jedi did not.

    Like

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