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Death by prequelitis (a War for the Planet of the Apes review)

It’s summer blockbuster season. Because of a random and frankly insane number of convenient coincidences throughout the 1970s and 80s, the movie industry is structured such that the summer has a veritable cornucopia of action blockbusters. And now, thirty years later, with the advent of the cinematic universe era, there’s just even more… I dunno… blocks to bust. And, in this era where blockbusters are risk adverse, that means that cinematic universes have to be based on proven properties… either adaptations of stories from other media, or remaking or rebooting older films. So in effect, basically the same blocks are being busted over and over again.

Of course the problem with reboots is that if the film is popular enough for anyone to care about it, then it’s popular enough for fans to be upset by any changes you make to the mythos. So this leaves you with two choices to extend the franchise, either tell a new story about the future of the world (which really sometimes makes one wonder why a sequel is existing and not just a new story) OR try to explain how the world of the original film came into play with a prequel. And this is where we are now.

The problem with prequels is that even though there’s a built in audience, there’s often necessarily no stakes in the film. It’s not there can’t be a narrative arc… it’s just that this is often compromised by the fact that the story needs to get to the point where the original film started. The path is preordained and can’t happen organically. I actually don’t conceptually hate the Star Wars prequels. I think it’s fascinating that an intergalactic federation of planets can fall into disarray and become corrupted by a single individual over a dispute about trade tariffs and campaign finance reform. That’s just amazing shit! I want more of that! But the problem is that story never got to breathe and develop and become it’s own thing because it was only told within the context of trying to make sure a doofus kid got welded inside of a 70s disco samurai costume and making sure that we had plenty of time for battles with laser swords. And that’s sort of the thing with Star Wars. The more prequels they make and the more packed the universe gets, the more that just sort of HAS to happen in order to not violate the lore. It was a problem with the prequels. It was a problem with Rogue One and I’m sure it will be a problem with Han Solo.

And that’s where the Planet of the Apes movies are now. Honestly, I’m not really a huge fan of the franchise. I don’t hate it or anything. I like them actually. But it’s not like its Star Wars. And that’s the key thing.

If you’re a Planet of the Apes fan, you’re going to love War for the Planet of the Apes. Because, well there’s a lot of apes warring on the planet in it. It’s going a pretty strong, but pretty standard Jesus-myth story going on. And it’s got apes… warring… on the planet. Really that’s about it. It was enjoyable for what it was and in fact, I think they did about as well with that as you could possibly do, but that’s the whole premise of the film. There are apes and they are at war with the humans and we need to retrofit this back into the rest of the narrative.

And that retrofitting happens through what I guess I’d have to say are SPOILERS for this paragraph (so if you really care skip to the next one). This film makes it undoubtedly clear that it is a prequel to the 1968 film. We find out why Caesar isn’t there. We find out why there are very few humans. We find out why they can’t talk. Both of these are due to them contracting a mutation of the virus from the first movie. It’s done killing people as it did in the second movie. Now it’s just making them primitive and mute. It’s unnamed, but since it’s function is pretty much JUST to reduce the human race to the state of the 1968 film, I’m pretty sure that it’s a manifestation of prequelitis. We find out how Cornelius got to be the top ape. We meet a cute little 12-year-old girl named Nova who will apparently grow up to fuck Charlton Heston one day (which, is actually kind of creepy when you think about it). There’s a lot of “oh, I see where they’re going with this” in this movie. And if you can connect the dots, it works. Mostly… there’s still a little bit of weirdness to Nova existing… because it totally is… “oh look, this little girl is going to grow up to be a sex slave… but ok I guess…”

But if you can’t connect those dots some of those things, then some of them really don’t make any sense. And really the basis for most of it was decided in the last movie anyway. This was really just flushing out details. Even then some things don’t really work, but that’s mostly because the this movie is still in modern day and the 1968 film is 3978… but you know, maybe Charlton Heston’s clock was just broken or something.

The story is fine, as far as Jesus-myths go. Caesar has progressed to the point where he is essentially an ape messiah, more of a Moses than a Jesus really, who is trying to deliver his people to a promised land. After that the story mostly writes itself. There are a lot of characters and not really much reason to care about any of them individually. Who the specific apes are is irrelevant. The film is more about what is the meaning of humanity. The message relies on the fact that they are apes, because without their Otherness being readily apparent through their non-humaness there really isn’t much to tie things together.

I did have a little bit of a problem with the CGI. Six years ago, the reboot of the franchise was such a singular achievement that people were trying to argue that Andy Serkis‘s motion capture performance as Caesar deserved an Oscar. I never thought it was quite there, but I did recognize how amazing he seemed as an emotive digital presence in the company of real-life actors. This film didn’t seem to quite get there. Serkis was good, but not only did it feel like the technology didn’t progress, it almost felt like a step backwards. Because so much of the cast was computer generated, they start to become sort of evident. I was very aware of them. An uncanny valley thing starts to happen where I start to notice all the things that AREN’T real about them instead of how real they are. If they were less realistic (like Transformers or Groot for instance) I’d actually be more inclined to be forgiving of them. But their realism actually sort of makes them seem … broken sometimes.

That said, it’s not BAD. Again, this is definitely a movie for fans of the franchise. If you’re into the idea of intelligent apes… you know.. warring… on the planet… well, this might be for you. If you’re not, it’s kind of ok, you probably won’t hate yourself… you might get a little bored at times.

★★¾☆☆ (2.75 out of 5 stars)


50 comments for “Death by prequelitis (a War for the Planet of the Apes review)

  1. avatar
    July 15, 2017 at 9:53 am

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    July 15, 2017 at 9:57 am

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  3. avatar
    July 15, 2017 at 10:16 am

    And of course the first comments are the autospam

  4. avatar
    July 15, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Well, for me, this was a rare movie that absorbed me into it completely. I thought the first movie was ok, did not feel the need to see the next one. But this had a lord of the rings quality that pulled me in. It wasn’t without its faults, but I thought it was much more than just a bunch of apes running around fighting humans.

    1. avatar
      July 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      The second one is really really good.

    2. avatar
      July 15, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Mikey Wood I do plan to watch it now.

  5. avatar
    July 15, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Oh. The absolute worst part was that they didn’t include any of the musical numbers.

    “?oh my god I was wrong. It was earth all along.?”

  6. avatar
    July 15, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I’ve only seen some clips. The CGI in the Bad Ape scene was amazing.

  7. avatar
    July 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Didn’t the 3rd through 5th movies of the original series already tell the history of how the 1st movie came to be?

    1. avatar
      July 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      I don’t think anyone cares about those.

    2. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 4:14 am

      The third and fourth are the best ones of the original series! The fifth? Not so much.

      Don’t look at the new ones as prequels. They’re not. They’re a whole different thing.

    3. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 6:25 am

      While Mikey may like them, 3-5 are largely ignored by a lot of people.

      And again, while the new series totally can stand alone… I assure you, this movie makes it clear that it is serving to set the franchise up to be prequels.

    4. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 6:29 am

      They’re going to continue the story, yeah.

    5. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 6:30 am

      But not of the original films.

    6. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 6:30 am

      No. This movie makes it clear that it is building the world that the first film could have happened in (sorry. Trying to say it without spoilers)

    7. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 9:13 am

      So thinking about this further. The best non-spoiler way I can put it is to compare it to the post X-men First Class movies.

      Namely, you know that the series has been rebooted. You know that things moving forward don’t HAVE to match the original films. BUT the movie still positions itself as a prequel series to the established lore, so you know eventually Prof. X has to lose his hair. You know eventually Jean and Scott have to fall in love. So the film sort of positions itself so that the inevitable will happen.

    8. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Well, I mean, it’s got “Planet of the Apes” in the title so one would assume.

    9. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 9:23 am

      I dunno… not necessarily. The previous attempt to reboot the Apes franchise (the Marky Mark one) doesn’t really do this. It’s just an inspired by parallel narrative. Same with the reboots of Ghostbusters, or Robocop.

      This is more like X-men or Star Wars. it wants to fit into the universe.

    10. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Yes, the Wahlberg one was, literally, an entirely different planet. When he got back to Earth it was more akin to the original novel. Basically our society but with apes.

    11. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I’m a stupid huge Planet of the Apes fan.

    12. avatar
      July 16, 2017 at 9:28 am

      then you’ll probably really like this film. I think I “starred” it right… at least according to the star scale I established a few weeks ago. This is definitely a movie “for the fans” of the series. If you’re into it, this is going to be great for you. It’s well done, it respects the lore and it builds on it…

      If you don’t care about the series at all, this isn’t going to turn you and there are better uses of your money.

  8. avatar
    August 5, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Finally went to see it. It’s not a prequel. It’s a reimagining. You’re missing a key element of the original lore, which is that it’s been Apeworld for a very, very long time. This Nova does not grow up to fuck Charlton Heston, because she would be thousands of years old. Caesar wasn’t around in the original because he’d been dead for thousands of years. Sure, it was a bit of a foregone conclusion that the apes would win, but not much more so than the good guys winning in almost every movie ever. I think you have a good point about prequelitis, but this movie isn’t really a good example of it, which is why you spend so many words talking about Star Wars.

    1. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      I understand both you and Mikey’s point. I totally do. But that’s not what I’m saying really. Yes, I get that unlike star wars it doesn’t perfectly match into the preordained lore (even Star Wars doesn’t. There is no logical reason without fanboy/producer/word of God shenanigans for kenobi to not recognizes R2).

      It’s more like the rebooted Star Trek though. Yes, I get that the world is different now…. but the films are still playing towards that understanding of the original lore…. with no understanding of the original films, baby Nova in this film is undercut. Her actions only make sense in connection with the original character. Which is why they named her Nova and not Susan or something…. yes, I get that in the original film Taylor names her that… but she only exists here in order to connect to that beat. Same as he prequelitis disease having the specific symptoms of muteness and savagery… Same as Taylor leaving on TV in the first film. And same as Cumberbatch being clear Khan from the moment he was announced even though Abrams and Cumberbatch swore up and down he wasn’t. If you haven’t seen Wrath of Khan, then the reveal in Into Darkness is completely meaningless. And the same is true of the Nova reveal here. Why was Bad Ape even holding onto a chevy Nova emblem anyway other than to make that connection. The outbreak was in 2011, not 1968… not 1988. It’d make way more since for her to be named Kia or Prius.

      This isn’t so much a movie as a link into world building. It’s good world building… as opposed to bad world building like BvS or the Hobbit prequels. But it’s still very concerned with being a part of the money making franchise , sometimes at the expense of its own story…. much like Star Wars…. even Rogue One.

    2. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Strongly disagree on Nova. Her name is an unnecessary shout-out but she’s absolutely critical to the plot, and much more of a character than the original Nova was. Likewise the symptoms of the disease are key to the villain’s motivation, and to the film’s (and the franchise’s) overall theme. And that’s why this movie is Planet of the Apes, and not just a planet with some apes on it (see Marky Mark).

      The Star Trek comparison is instructive in this respect…Into Darkness is basically a shoddy reimagining of a much better film. The new apes movies are the opposite. They are a vastly superior reimagining of a set of movies (the original apes time-travel prequels) that had an interesting premise but were mostly poorly realized. I think that difference matters considerably.

    3. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      It’s like Battlestars Galactica vs. Buffies the Vampire Slayer. EDIT: No, that’s backwards…it’s like Battlestars Galactica vs. some really awesome movie that had a shitty remake. I must need a nap if I can’t think of an example offhand.

    4. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      I think Galactica is a good example.

      I’m not so much saying that it’s just being a prequel that makes something bad. I’m saying the Marky Mark film is more of a reimagining than the Andy Serkis films are. The Serkis ones are certainly better though.

      So in Galactica’s case they kept the premise. They kept the names. But there was no point where they said “ok we need to figure out a way to make Starbuck a boy now” or “how are we going to explain why they start wearing stupid helmets”

      So it’s not so much that I am saying it has to be the same world from a perfect timeline point of view. It’s more that I’m saying that they treat maintainable of the lore as more important than telling an engaging story.

    5. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      I found the story very engaging, on its own terms, in all three movies. If it didn’t click with you that’s fine, but I don’t think they sacrificed anything for lore maintenance. They took the very general story of “Caesar leads apes to freedom while humanity falls” and told it better.

    6. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Well yeah, but you like the lore. I don’t mind the lite… I’m just trying to judge it fairly. To look at it another way, it’s something I also take into account with superhero movies which are super guilty of this. I know you haven’t seen Spider-Man yet, but without spoilers, there’s a moment in the last 5 minutes of that which is completely irrelevant to the plot but makes the Nova moment in this looks like Citizen Kane.

      As for liking it. I mean i have it almost 3 stars. That’s not “bad”.

      I didn’t NOT enjoy it. But there just isn’t much there to go beyond that. I mean I can’t put it in the territory of “everyone should see this movie even if you don’t care about Planet of the Apes”. I can maybe go there with first one (that is Rise… not the original). It sure as hell is better than the Marky Mark movie.

    7. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      To me, the Apes movies always pose, in a different way from everything else, the question of what it means to be human. The new Apes movies pose that question with solid stories, excellent acting, believable special effects, and emotional connections to the characters (earned by the writing and acting, not references to the old movies, where the characters were mostly flat). To me that’s worth three and a half.

    8. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      I will agree that they do that as a core thematic element. I wouldn’t say it’s different than “anything else” but to be fair, I probably watch a lot more movies than you do from different genres.

      But that’s not the reason I docked it… in fact, that’s why I put it as high as I did. It goes back to my star ratings post: In order to get 3 stars from me, I have to be able to say its a must see for any fan of the genre. So I have to be able to say to a sci-fi fan (I know you only go out to the movies a couple times a year. But if you’re only going to see a couple science fiction movie this year, this should probably be one. I can definitely say that about Rogue One (which I gave 3.5 – like if you’re only going to see one sci-fi film, pick this) but I just can’t say that about this.

      It’s firmly in the camp of “if you see a lot of this genre, or you’re very into this specific franchise. Give it a go!” On the other hand, it outranks Passengers and the Ghostbusters reboot.

      I mean, there’s just a lot of movies in theaters int he summer. The descriptions are an in-depth thing for people to know my thoughts, but the ratings are supposed to be a guide to what a random person should see. I certainly can’t in good faith tell people this is better than Spider-man Homecoming (3.0) or Wonder Woman (3.25). But it’s definitely as good from a pure story point of view as Dunkirk if you’re not super into film-wankery (that I gave a combo rating of both 2.5 and 4.0)

    9. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Well, at the end of the day, I’m disagreeing with a movie critic, and that’s just something that’s gonna happen 🙂 but this movie was better than WW and way better than Rogue One (particularly with an eye to your point about prequelitis).

    10. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Attention everyone, Max hates strong female characters….

      well, I mean, maybe he doesn’t hate them… he just likes monkeys better. 😛

    11. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Monkeys rule! Especially when played by Andy Serkis. I did like whatshername in Rogue One but that movie ruined itself with the very problems you described above. And I liked Wonder Woman a lot but…she’s a goddess. Her only real struggle in that movie was deciding whether humans were worth her time.

    12. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      So rogue one i actually docked about half a point because of prequelitis stuff. If they’d stuck to the main story I would have given it a high 3. Apes probably could have hit a 3.0 with a few editing tweaks and choices. I just couldn’t get it to anything higher than that without massive changes.

      Wonder Woman didn’t have those problems. It wasn’t perfect… there was still some shoehorning into the franchise but not on the same level. My major flaws with that were character development and lack of point to the love story. I also hated the cgi. Especially the lasso. Apes totally outshines it there.

    13. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Not one thing Wonder Woman did was half as brave as Nova bringing Caesar a snack in jail.

      I’m confused, did you give rogue one a 3.5 or a 2.5? To me the prequeliness and winks and nods caused it to fail on a basic level…it took me out of the movie. I wasn’t watching a Star Wars movie, I was watching a movie about Star Wars.

      I think the WW love story did have a point though…too much so, kind of anviliciously, whatsisface sacrificing himself convinces Diana that humans aren’t all bad. Although I guess that point is undermined by her disappearing for the next hundred years.

    14. avatar
      August 5, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      I gave rogue one a 3.25, I think. I actually liked it a whole lot except for them reminding me it was Star Wars over and over. If it wasn’t for that it would have made 3.75.

      The WW love story had a point. It was just underdeveloped. I didn’t believe they were in love for any reason other than they’re the two hottest people in the movie and so I’m supposed to accept that they were. It wasn’t earned. It was just expected. So when it matters I’m not like “oh no, she’s losing the man she loves” in more like “eh you met that dude last week and fucked him once. You’ll get over it” and then, since she’s immortal, it kind of seems even more hollow that she’s still morning him literally 100 years later. I would have bought more into it if they were just colleagues who were maybe attracted but mostly just respected each other as in Rogue One. Anvilicious is a good word for it.

      Nova bringing Caesar the snack was a moment. It was a good moment. But it did ring as powerful to me as the charge at no mans land. One thing that hurts it here is that Diana is the main character and Nova isn’t. So it’s hard to compare. The rest of the movie was sort of a formulaic messiah narrative with Caesar that was fine but it wasn’t exactly innovative. I enjoyed it while I was there but I don’t feel like anyone is missing out on any deep and relevant pop cultural experience if they skip it.

    15. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 7:59 am

      “I enjoyed it while I was there but I don’t feel like anyone is missing out on any deep and relevant pop cultural experience if they skip it.” – Honestly I could say the same about Wonder Woman, the vast majority of Marvel movies, 7/9 Star Warses, every Star Trek movie except Wrath of Khan, all but one or two Batman movies…

    16. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Yes… which is why most of my reviews of them are in the 2-3 star range.

    17. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 8:03 am

      Well all right then

    18. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Well, actually…. Star Warses tend to be far more pop culturally relevant. They just are. If a Star Wars is coming out, you might as well assume its going to become a part of the cultural zeitgeist. That’s just the way it is. But you can’t say that about Marvel movies or Star Treks. So it’s probably easier for a the Force Awakens to get a 3 out of me than it is for…. I dunno… Dr. Strange. And really, a 2.75 isn’t that much worse of than that. Basically… we’re getting into the really fuzzy area where “there are a few things here where I felt like Force Awakens and Doc Strange were better than this.” but if someone were to reverse the ratings and say Apes had the 3 and the other two had the 2.75, I’d say “I get that…”

      Wonder Woman on the other hand certainly does benefit from it being far more culturally relevant than Apes is going to to be… Not good enough to make it a 4+ star movie like some people are saying. But certainly it means more than Star Wars movie #7 or Marvel movie #14…

      Not that meaning more is enough… but yes, that comes into play when I’m thinking about the numbers.

    19. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 8:32 am

      That’s kind of a weird standard. It seems to dubiously bake in cultural prejudices.

    20. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Well this came up on the post about star rating. Michael Higgins pointed it out specifically. The review itself means a lot more than the number.

      But my line of thinking is if I’m going to do a number at all it’s completely useless if it’s just MY preference. Because really… who cares. I mean I liked Sucker Punch. But I know it’s not good. And I actually don’t love Citizen Kane but I know it is good.

      So I have to take into consideration “what would this mean to my readers in general”? And in my case I’m defining readers as “any person who might want to go to any movie”. I probably bias a bit towards Americans here. Specially Americans living in the early 21st century. But I don’t bias towards genre.

      Things would certainly change if I shrank the audience to specifics. Like if I were only rating special effects. Or if I only cared about super hero movies or sci-fi. On of my favorite rankings is mrskin. He rates stuff purely on the quality of female nudity in the film. But that means something totally different than “how good a movie is this?”

    21. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 9:26 am

      so I’m thinking about it… and I think that really…. if you’re making a big budget Hollywood movie… the ones you want to make money for and you’re not just expecting ME to go out and see… you really want to shoot for that 2.5. Because you point is a wide tent. What is this thing that people will pay for? Sure, you’d live a 5 star movie that people will pay for. But it doesn’t matter that much… so really why take risks? Make it as close to everything else as you can. If a 4 or 5 star movie happens to fall out it, great.

      But I mean, this goes back to all the people who are arguing that Wonder Woman is going to win best picture this year or that Gal Gadot best actor. Or a few years back when people were saying Lego Movie should have won best picture.

      Most people just don’t see that many movies. The ratings scale has to be big enough to accommodate all the movies they don’t see. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter. Just wait a week and check to see whatever was biggest at the box office.

    22. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 9:32 am

      I don’t think I’m understanding. IMO a five-star movie is a five-star movie whether or not anyone sees it, and a one-star movie is a one-star movie even if everyone sees it. From a studio perspective, sure, avert risk, but from a critical perspective why factor in audience prejudice?

    23. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Exactly… how many people see or even enjoy the movie is irrelevant. I’m trying to rate how GOOD it is. I’m not including audience prejudice. I’m trying to factor it OUT.

      What I’m trying to include is cultural relevance. It’s different. That’s something I can add in and measure against direction, acting, writing, cinematography, whatever…

      So like… BvS made a crap ton of money. Avengers 2 also made a crap ton of money. But I can ignore that and say that Avengers 2 was just a better movie. But it certainly is not as good a movie as Logan, which made far less.

      And if someone is not a superhero movie fan… and they say “hey, I want to watch one of these. What should it be? What should I watch that will show me that these films don’t just suck.” Of the three Logan is the one I’m going to pick easily. I wouldn’t even blink.

      BUT on the other hand, I also need to be able to recommend Detroit (which I’m writing the review for right this second). It’s probably a 4★ movie, but I know that it’s not going to get the same play as anything in the superhero genre or even War for the Planet of the Apes. BUT, it is really good and incredibly culturally relevant. It’s just hard to watch and depressing and low on popular appeal. But it’s meaningfulness as a cultural artifact outshines the fact that “this is not fun… there are not explosions… there is no CGI…. this is not fun at all!!!” And in fact, it certainly says way more about the theme of “What is humanity” than anything in the Apes series ever.

      A ratings system has to be able to accommodate that.

    24. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Ok, I get that, but earlier you seemed to be saying Rogue One gets points just for being Star Wars.

    25. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Oh. Not the same kind of points. I was saying that I have to take into account that “people are going to be talking about this movie at the water cooler tomorrow and for the next six months to sixty years” so it might be worth seeing just so you aren’t lost.

      That’s not worth much. Maybe a quarter point at best. But it’s still something I have to consider.

    26. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Like have you ever had a conversation with someone who is like “Darth Vader? Who’s that? I’ve never seen Star Wars”? That’s amazing. How do they live on the planet earth?

      But it’s certainly more excusable to not know who Charles Foster Kane is… even though Citizen Kane is clearly a better film.

    27. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Ok. I think that’s the aspect I find dubious. I can see applying it to the first two Star Wars movies, but I think they earn it on their own merits by creating these iconic characters. Likewise I might give BvS a slight bump in that regard IF (spoiler) was in any way permanent, which it obviously isn’t. But Rogue One changes exactly nothing about the story everyone already knows…it’s specifically designed to be irrelevant, even to Star Wars fans.

    28. avatar
      August 6, 2017 at 10:24 am

      I think I agree with that… which is why it’s not worth much. I gave it 3.5… but I could also see going as low as 3.25. I struggled there. Its arguable that I should have gone lower just because I think the ending bit which everyone loves but I hate actually really hurts the movie a lot.

      it’s hard because I write these after only seeing the film once. And sometimes a rewatch might change my mind a bit (in either direction) but generally not by more than a fraction of a point.

      BvS I gave a 1.75 to and I think I was being generous. TF5 I gave a 1.5 to. And I think they’re actually kind of on the same level. BUT, I know that BvS matters a bit more than TF5 in the grand scheme of things. So there’s a bit of fuzziness.

      That’s also why I’ve started doing my jokey special bonus rankings… like where I gave TF5 a “Special Bonus Rating specifically for 14-year-old-boys: ✊✊✊✊?”

      Even though I’m making a joke out it, I think there’s more nuance in there that kind of matters.

      And again, I think this is part of why Michael Higgins said that ratings were stupid in the first place.

      But no matter how you take it, I don’t think you can make a reasonable argument that even the worst Star Wars movie (say Phantom Menace) is less “culturally relevant” than the best Apes movie (say Dawn of). So it’s a factor. 50 years from now, Phantom Menace is just going to be something people remember better than Dawn of. But since that’s only one factor, I think I can still rate Dawn of above Phantom Menace… But I don’t think I can rank War for above Rogue One.

      Of course, as you said quite some time ago… I’m just one critic… Just one guy watching a movie and talking about it…. others will differ. But that’s my line of thinking.


  • avatarThe Further Adventures of Lance Nova (a no Spoilers Solo: A Star Wars Story Review) | ChrisMaverick dotcom

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