This. This is exactly how I finished Rogue One. No interesting characters, no story; I didn't engage in the people or the events. On the back-end, it's a marvel. Beautiful, well-made, a technical achievement. But not only does it fail as a Star Wars story, it fails as a story. The worst of it is that many of the things that are worst were clearly deliberate choices made by the creators...this is one of the two areas that bothered me greatly about The Force Awakens. Conflict was removed from scenes where conflict would have been obvious and natural, because either it didn't fit the narrative vision of the story or because the writer or director was trying to re-direct for humor. I found myself chuckling at scenes that got no response from anyone else because of this, while I sat stone-faced at dumb one-liners that everyone else laughed uproariously at.
My two big gripes with The Force Awakens were that the movie was highly contrived and that scenes were clearly written (or rewritten, as the case may be) to support particular meta-stories that made no sense and, beyond not adding anything to the story, actually subtracted by foiling suspension of disbelief. Both elements are present in Rogue One as well. It is a bit less contrived than The Force Awakens, to it's credit, but it surprises me how few people are noting the references to the original films, as happened in The Force Awakens. Red Letter Media doesn't call this scenes out by word, but you'll note several of the clips they use are some of the scenes that reference older scenes directly. (EDIT: For crying out loud, I just found a 20 minute video on YouTube that is nothing but a compilation of references to the original trilogy from Rogue One. Twenty minutes.)
It seems like there's Micro-everything these days. Micro-transactions, micro-payments, micro-aggressions (took me a while to wrap my head around that). So this is my new Micro-hobby. When I go on a grinding run in World of Warships, by which I mean "when I play ten to twenty co-op battles in a row, one after another", I wind up sitting around for about a minute between battles, and then after I get my ship in gear it usually takes a couple of minutes before the actual engagement starts.
So during those times I find an image to work with in Photoshop and start editing and cleaning it into a 1920x1080 wallpaper. After I had done a dozen or so, I started uploading them to my 10-year-old DeviantArt account that has never been used.
Considering how neglected my blog has been for the last few months, I decided to link them here, as well. Also, I'll probably start linking the videos I've been working on, with which I am trying to earn an income at the moment. I talk a bit about the wallpaper on my deviantart page.
A lot of people have expressed concern about the monster puppet/suit/model that BloodyDisgusting reported on, but I think it's worth noting that the model is allegedly being design to have CGFX applied in post-production.
Also, BloodyDisgusting also has an entry on some plot details, and has a picture of the concept art of the new Godzilla that maybe shows what Toho is going for in the design.
Finally watched Frozen all the way through. I had only seen bits and pieces, and heard tons of praise for the movie. I was soooooo disappointed. Mostly, because the bones were in place to make a really good movie, and they either missed or intentionally did not. It was so close to being really great; all it would take is some small tweaks to the story to explain everything and make the plot compelling, instead of rambling and incoherent.
I just finished watching a couple of "classic" Disney movies from my childhood, Condorman and The Black Hole. The Black Hole has long been a cult classic with a large following, and has received a lovely digital remaster and 1080p transfer. Condorman has long been a very, very minor cult classic and is available pan-n-scanned for $10.00. Both are worthy of comment.
I watched TBH with my oldest daughter. She found the movie entertaining, but noted some of the obvious problems. The tone is bi-polar, crashing from serious sci-fi to goofy kid action movie. It features scenes of a psychotic, homicidal robot drilling a hole through Anthony Perkins, and scene where the serious, scientific helper-bot beats an all-black sentry-bot at a shooting gallery game and does funny tricks. TBH is literally two movies in one: someone at Disney said they needed grim-dark anti-heroes to get money from the adults, while someone else pointed out that the kids needed something to laugh at before they sit through the psychedelic black-hole journey that ends with a literal depiction of HELL.
Of interest is how hard Disney tried, at least at times, to make the film more scientifically accurate than the typical space adventure. Hard sci-fi had one major film champion in the West; 2001. TBH tried to depict microgravity and freefall rather than just hand-wave artificial gravity. The film also mostly accurately depicted how rockets are utilized to maneuver spaceships in space, only to fail spectacularly in depicting the correctly oriented, slowly approaching Palomino firing rockets all the way down until docked with Cygnus, as if the ship was fighting gravity all the way.
The most spectacular scene, the asteroid (mistakenly called a meteorite) crashing along the center longitudinal axis of the ship, genuinely impressed my daughter, and still impresses me. But in the end, she was aghast when I explained after the movie that Disney had marketed the film to kids. They did. I had a coloring book. In fact, I had the coloring book long before I ever saw the movie. I thought Maximillian was the coolest robot in the world. Until I discovered he was a murdering psychopath and a literal depiction of Satan. Good job, Disney.
Next up was Condorman, a seemingly-low-budget Michael Crawford?!? vehicle shot on location in Paris, Monte Carlo and Zermatt. I hadn't seen this movie since I was in single-digit years. My memories where of the Car, the Boat, the Other Boat, and the Suit. I conveniently forgot about all the boring story.
It's incredible to see what Disney put money into and what they didn't. The story is bad, but it doesn't have to be good. The idea is that an American comic book artist and writer, the creator of Condorman, is tapped by his mid-level CIA friend to be a civilian placeholder in an inconsequential paperwork exchange. The artist, Woody, comicly plays up his importance to the Soviet spy, who subsequently requests escort and assistance by code-name Condorman when she wants to defect. The rest of the movie is set-piece action scenes as Woody and Natalia race across Europe to get her back to America. As I said, the story doesn't have to be good, but it's lazy. Some scenes stretch out needlessly, some things are glossed over. Some things are explained that have no bearing on the movie, other things are jumped into. Of course, this could be the result of editing, a problem many Disney movies faced in the 70's and 80's.
Other areas that are problematic are the mix of quality FX with, again, lack of effort. A rocket-powered zip-line rig has a well-animated rocket flame, and then the rigs are shown travelling down the line at what is clearly the normal speed of the ski-lift line. They could have at least sped up the film. The laser guns used in a couple of scenes are Star Wars quality or better; the dummies used in multiple stunts appear to be wooden cutouts. As is the piggy-backed figure of Natalia riding the Condorman glider at the end of the movie. I mean, you can SEE it. It's right there on the screen. They couldn't even use a blow-up doll.
The single biggest issue is that the movie is boring. The interesting bits are the car chase, the boat fight, and the Condorman suit. No wonder that's all that stuck with me. Of course, as an adult, Barbara Carrera was quite interesting as well.
Michael Crawford doesn't think Condorman is the worst movie he ever made. He thinks it's the second-worst movie he ever made. But kudos to Crawford; he puts a ton of misplaced energy into the mismanaged project.