*Disclaimer: I don’t know who made the above image but whoever did is a genius.*
Movie: Rogue One
What it’s up for: Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
Rogue One, the first of what will surely be many “Star Wars Story” films, tell the tale of the theft of the Death Star plans by the Rebellion against the Empire. It takes place immediately before Star Wars: A New Hope (also known as Star Wars also known as Episode IV also known as the first created Star Wars film that came out in 1977).
I’m incredibly biased when it comes to Star Wars anything. The Star Wars universe is my first love. I’ll start off by saying I enjoyed Rogue One as a film more than I enjoyed The Force Awakens. (But I also love The Force Awakens.) The story is intriguing and different from the Star Wars saga films but still feels like it fits right into the rest of the stories. It’s a darker movie than the others. I won’t spoil anything (although if you haven’t seen it by now, you probably don’t care) but I will say that it and Episode III are the only Star Wars films I wouldn’t take young children to see.
The scoring was fantastic. Michael Giacchino (whose one of my favorite composers) did a great job combining John Williams’ scores into his own interpretation. The acting was…sufficient. I feel like they may have suffered from a screenplay that had to be cut down several times. My biggest objection to the film is that the characters are provided with very little development. Some of the characters have or will get some of that from the expanded universe (comics, books, etc). However, a film shouldn’t rely on those materials to support its characters.
The visual effects are the standard sci-fi level of amazing with one exception that makes it stand out from the crowd – the special motion capture that resurrected one of my favorite characters ever: Grand Moff Tarkin. Tarkin was played by actor Peter Cushing back in 1977. Since this movie takes place immediately before Episode IV, they needed to bring Tarkin back. So, they turned to the visual effects department. I personally found some of it to be off-putting. It falls into the uncanny valley a couple of times. But the effort and technological advancement can’t be denied.
As for sound mixing, there were no perceivable flaws so I guess that’s good? It’s hard to tell nowadays. There’s so many space/sci-fi/war movies that unless something is obviously wrong, it’s hard to knock it.
Sound Mixing – It could win this category just based on my statistics from the last few years, but after my Star Wars debacles from last year, I doubt that it will.
Visual Effects – This is an exceptionally complicated category this year. My gut says “no” though.