Friday, December 23, 2016

Rogue One: To See or Not to See by S.E. Smith

Today we are very pleased to welcome award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author S.E. Smith with our final installment of Spacefreighters Lounge Goes Rogue Week.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of Ms. Smith's review contains spoilers, so if you haven't yet seen the movie please stop at the "Spoiler alert" message below. Unless, of course, you want to know some of the details before viewing the movie. (But you've been warned. : ) )

Well, if you are reading this you probably have seen the newest edition to the Star Wars collection. I remember the first time I saw Star Wars. I’m talking about the original three with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the rest of the amazing cast that brought a movie unlike anything we had seen before to the movie screens. I think I saw the first movie at least sixteen times in the theater and fell in love with it more each time I saw it.

I will admit the next set of movies didn’t wow me, but they were still a visual masterpiece. Each movie since the original three has been darker which in many ways is to be expected since the film makers gave you the ending before they gave you the beginning. In a way, watching the Star Wars movies is like reading the end of a book and knowing how it ends then going back and reading the first part of the story. Personally, I always do that with a book. I have to know if it is going to have a good ending so I know whether or not to invest my time in reading the rest of the story.

Rogue One isn’t much different. It is one of those movies you’ll either love, hate, or find it somewhere in between. I found it to be the in between. On a scale of 0-5 with 5 being the highest, I would give it a 2. Now, I know everyone has an opinion and I was asked to give mine, so be prepared to accept it is only one person’s opinion. If you have not seen the movie and plan to go, stop reading here as there will be spoilers.

Spoiler alert!! Do not proceed.

I’m approaching this as both a Star Wars fan and as a Scifi writer. I love my scifi movies, but I also know that I’m an HEA (happily ever after) or HFN (happy for now) type of gal. Maybe that is what appealed to me so much about the first three. You could still feel the hope. In the latest round of movies, you couldn’t. Now, understanding this, I will do my best to remain unemotional in my review of the movie.

The beginning: Let’s just say my head was spinning the first ten minutes because I was watching the scenes randomly jump from point A to point B to point C to point Z to point… Well, you get my meaning. It felt disconnected and out of place. I never had enough time to understand why each scene was connected before they bounced to the next one. When they finally got to the good-guy-who-played-bad-guy and he was talking to the other guy… Again, no real connection because the dialogue wasn’t very engaging and neither was the scene. It was meant to build suspense and tension, but came with a predictable this guy is about to die which basically continues throughout the movie.

The next scene was actually pretty good – until they blew it. No explanation as to how they found Galen Erso, but I could deal with that. What I couldn’t deal with is having his wife abandon their daughter so she could be TSTL (Too Stupid To Live). Yes, let’s walk up on a bunch of bad guys and wave a blaster around, say they can’t take the man you love after he tells them you are dead, just so you can get killed? Really? No suspense there – or common sense! What parent would abandon a child to hide by herself in a desolate place after they had made careful plans if such an event were to occur so she could get herself killed or captured instead? Come on, writers! Think!

I could go through the movie and point out gaps, or should I say holes, a mile wide in the script, but I’ll keep it to a few that really pulled me out of the movie.

• Jyn Erso trying to be tough and uncaring; then suddenly the only one wanting to fight.

• Darth Vader walking like he is on a Catwalk. I was afraid he was going to dislocate a hip with the way he was swaying them.

• Saw Gerrera’s character rescuing Jyn only to abandon her and go off on his own cause – which is very unsuccessful.

• The rebellion suddenly too afraid to fight or work out a way to get the information.

• The suddenly complete Death Star working when I could have sworn it was only partially built and tested for the first time on Alderaan.

• The Death Star suddenly appearing in the last scene. Hard to believe something that large can move through space that fast and none of the rebel fighters knowing.

• The robot was funny, cute, but way too human. It was a case of a great character taken just a little too far.

• The jerky motion of the ships suddenly appearing like they were Photoshopped.

• The ending – had me shaking my head. Really? You steal a supply ship, are able to sneak into the enemy base, get uniforms and into the building, then set off explosives to let everyone know you are there? Hello! NO! You don’t set off explosives to announce you are there! You continue with your mission as quietly as possible and get the hell out before they know what is going on! You don’t have the rebel forces show up so they close the shields. You have them waiting for you when you sneak out right under the bad guy’s nose.

• Then, to wow the audience, make sure you kill off all the good guys in a dramatic display so that they really rush for the exit when the movie is over.

Yes, that is what happened. I’ve never been in a nearly full movie theater where there was a mad rush for the exit when it was over. The movie didn’t leave you excited or hopeful. It left me, my hubby, and many others depressed and unsatisfied. As one movie goer said, it was a filler movie.

Would I recommend you go see it? That is entirely up to you. Many people enjoyed the movie. It was visually nice, the acting was pretty good, the plot so-so, and if you are a diehard Star Wars fan, then yes. Would I go see it again? No. Will I buy the movie? No. Will I see another Star Wars movie? Only if it is the original first three movies being re-released. I hate to say this, but I’m probably done with Star Wars (sniff-sniff).

About the Author

S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away. Readers can follow her at or her Facebook page at


  1. Thank you for having me on today, Laurie! Happy Holidays!

  2. Susan, thanks for sharing your opinion with us. It just goes to show that everyone takes movies differently. It's something we authors should bear in mind when we get 'bad' reviews.

    Although I enjoyed the movie, I agree with a lot of what you said. And that's probably why I wasn't over-enthusiastic. As I read your review I recalled going 'huh?' in some of the early sequences (where Jyn is abandoned - twice) but I got caught up in the action and forgot about it.

    I had some issues with the star gate in the final battle, but that's another story.

    Would I see it again? Definitely. Unlike you, I expected carnage because none of the characters appear in the next movie.

    However, the Death Star was complete in ANH, and it could move through hyperspace. Tarkin used the destruction of Alderaan as a demonstration, not a test. After that, they moved on to Javan, where the Rebel base was situated. And the half-finished Death Star was in Return of the Jedi - Death Star 2.

    I think often how we see a movie is, as you explain, a matter of expectations. And this film didn't meet yours. Which is absolutely fair enough.

  3. Thanks so much for being our guest, Susan. I enjoyed reading your review, which covered many good points.

    Hmm. I just re-watched the original Star Wars on TNT and in it the dialogue did suggest the Death Star's weapon hadn't yet been used and Alderaan would serve as a demonstration of the power of the station. To me, that seemed a little out of place with events in Rogue One, because it seems word of those catastrophic events would have been spread throughout the galaxy in a very short time and everyone would have already known the power of the Death Star. But maybe the fact that Alderaan was on the level of a major central planet instead of a more remote outpost was the point of the demonstration.

    Also, my re-watch brought up another question. Did Bail Organa (Leia's adoptive father) escape the destruction? He was on the rebel base in Rogue, but Leia was clearly trying to get the plans to him on Alderaan in ANH which appears to have happened just days...possibly even hours...after Rogue One ends. I missed any dialogue about his whereabouts at the end of Rogue One, after his mention of contacting "a friend on Tatooine." (And we all know who that was. LOL)

    But yes I do realize, like you said, Greta. Everyone will experience it differently. I'm still clueless how to rate it, and I probably will go see it again in the next couple of weeks to try to absorb some of the details I missed.


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