ROGUE ONE, PASSENGERS ZERO: Movie Reviews of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Passengers by Howard Casner

For questions:

First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 


Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013.  Only $2.99.


and check out my Script Consultation Services:



rev-1In film, Sci-Fi has often been divided into two categories: adult science fiction, stories that capture the mind and are more philosophical and questioning in nature; and pop culture Sci-Fi, stories that are more escapist and less challenging where the grey cells are concerned.

Perhaps no better year can define this dichotomy than 1977 when the original Star Wars was released the same year as Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Critics often claim, or have a prejudice, that adult sci-fi is inherently superior or preferably to pop culture sci-fi. And I do have to admit, if truth be forceably told, I tend to prefer the former to the latter. But there is never a guarantee that one is going to be better than the other. In fact, in the end, the one that is better is simply the one that is better, and the reason why it is better is because, when all is said and done, it’s the, well… better one.


rev-2This year, on the adult side, we’ve had Midnight and Arrival. On the pop culture side, most recent, perhaps, is Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


But two other films have now opened that represent the two opposing subgenres. On the pop culture side we have Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a prequel to A New Hope, and on the adult side we have Passengers.


And they prove, if they prove anything, that, as I previously suggested, there is no guarantee that one type is inherently better than the other, and the better film is always the one that is, well, better.


There has been an interesting genre of fiction in which a writer takes a supporting character or situation that may seem somewhat minor in the overall plot of a work and makes it the centerpiece of a new work. In Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, we discover how Mrs. Rochester ended up mad and imprisoned in an attic in Jane Eyre. In Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, we see the story of Hamlet by two of the lesser characters who never seem to understand exactly what is going on.


And now we have Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in which we basically learn how Princess Leia got the plans for the death star that enabled Luke Skywalker to blow it up.


Now, I don’t know who exactly came up with this concept (John Knoll and Gary Whitta are credited with the original story), but I have to admit, it’s a pretty nifty one.


I am not sure what it is about pop culture, but better critics than I have pointed out that for some reason, it can have a deeper emotional effect on people than more serious art that is more critically accepted. The Mona Lisa is one of the greatest works of art of all time, but it’s the painting of street urchin with saucer eyes that cause people to tear up and it’s pictures of dogs playing poker than make them laugh.


And that is the effect that Rogue One had on me. Yes, I suppose I might as well tell the truth and shame the devil. At the climax, I found it a bit difficult to fight off the tears. Laugh if you must, but as embarrassing as it may be to admit, that is what happened.


This doesn’t mean that Rogue One is a great movie. Though it comes close to rising above its pop culture underpinnings, it doesn’t quite make it. And any Star Wars film is going to suffer from never having something the original film had: a freshness, the arrival of something unique, that hadn’t really been seen before.


However, it is quite possible that despite such a limitation, Rogue One could possibly be the best Star Wars movie to date.


I don’t know whether it’s due to the success of Game and Thrones and The Hunger Games, or to the harsh political atmosphere that’s been growing for some years now, or a combination of both, but Rogue One is a movie whose themes about what is takes to win a revolution is driven by a dark moral ambiguity.


This is not the bright and cheesy Menachian universe of the original film, photographed with a 70’s flatness, in which the basis of the story is The Force, a spiritual drive that is either good or evil, with little room for a grey area in the middle.


But Rogue One takes place in a world in which the good guys will calmly kill a wounded compatriot if he suddenly becomes an inconvenience to escaping the bad guys; it’s a world where a defector to the good side is treated harshly and brutally interrogated to get to the truth; where a splinter group has broken off from the Alliance and is far more ruthless in how it conducts war and is led by a madman; and one where a soldier is ordered to hunt down a scientist who may or may not be working for the Empire, and is ordered to assassinate him, not find out whose side he is on (and it’s also a world of irony because it’s only the soldier’s last minute decision to disobey orders that ultimate allows the Alliance to find out the death star has a flaw that can enable it to be destroyed).


rev-4It certainly doesn’t quite reach the heights of amorality of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows, a story about the French underground during Nazi occupation in which morality has to be made up as they go along.


But the movie does highlight a central overall irony: here, the Alliance must use morally ambiguous actions in order to help a spiritual faith survive and succeed, a faith that is based on moral absolutes.


Rogue One, like The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, takes a more realistic look at revolution. In reality, people have to sometimes take awful, at times horrendous, actions for the cause; individuals, even whole cities and planets, must be sacrificed (in an ending I didn’t see coming); and the true hero of the fight is not necessarily the ones that actually blow up the Death Star, but an unknown soldier who finally gives up trying to save himself and passes on the plans while sacrificing his life.


Rogue One is grittier and darker than all the other Star Wars films combined. In the original film, a planet is destroyed, one of the most emotional moments in the movie. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, three planets are blown up, but with almost no emotional effect on the audience at all.


In Rogue One, a single city is extinguished in images reminiscent of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the emotional effect is devastating.


The characters are more vibrant than in any of the previous films. The dialog has a more satisfying sound and rhythm to it. The acting is far superior to any of the others.


It even has an android for more interesting than R2D2 and C3PO combined.


And it has an unexpected ending that sums up everything the movie is trying to say.


rev-3With an impressive cast, led by Felicity Jones (channeling Hayley Mills at her most tomboyish), Diegan Luna, Alan Tudyk, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn and a cast of thousands, as well as an impressive recreation of the late Peter Cushing’s General Tarkin through CGI. There does seem to be some slight jerkiness to the character, but overall, I suspect if I hadn’t known what was going on, I’m not sure I would have guessed.


Directed by Gareth Edwards who has somewhat redeemed himself here after following up the intriguing film Monsters with the monstrously unintriguing Godzilla and with a strong and solid screenplay by Chris Seitz and Tony Gilroy.



rev-5Passengers, a film that is essentially a pas de deux between the two leading players, Chris Platt and Jennifer Lawrence, quite possibly ties the Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard Allied as the stupidest film of the year.


The basic premise revolves around a spaceship headed toward a distant inhabitable plant that has a large number of passengers in suspended hibernation since the actual trip is too long to be conscious for.


Due to an inconvenient meteor shower, one passenger (Jim Henson) wakes up ninety years too early and has no way of getting back to sleep.  He has, as his sole companion, a bartending android (played by Michael Sheen) who has a far more interesting personality than the other two characters put together because, for no other reason, than he has an English accent (why is it that a British drawl can give a character, robotic or not, more depth than might otherwise be there?).


After a year of playing basketball on his own, and desperately depressed and lonely, he decides to wake up another passenger and he has, in his crosshairs, a beautiful and sexually attractive writer (Aurora).


rev7It has already been pointed out, and by critics greater than yours truly, that this action on Jim’s part is not only creepy, but in many ways falls under the umbrella of violence toward women. He’s basically woken up a woman to imprison her and attempt to make her his sexual partner. After all, in the end, the only real difference between Jim and the abductor in the film Room is that Jim doesn’t rape Aurora, but waits for her to fall for his charms and seduce him.


Yes, there is a difference here, but for me, it’s a difference without a distinction.


But surprisingly, this really isn’t the place where the story goes off the rails. It begins to train wreck when Jim, after a year of being able to think it over, never once asks the onboard computer whether anyone asleep is an expert in hibernation and pod mechanics. He asks questions that kind of sort of dance around it, but I don’t recall that specific question.


Even Aurora never thinks of asking this question.


This is the turn that I think makes it a near tie for dumbest film of the year.


I know, I know. The set up is supposed to be the conceit of the story, as in the movie The Martian where the hero is stranded on Mars due to a sandstorm, something that never occurs on the red planet. And so you go with it or you don’t.


rev-6But this causes a further issue. This set up is so manipulative, dependent on dozens of convenient circumstances of chance happenings, that it’s not just Jim who is coming across as creepy, it’s the filmmakers who had to go to all this trouble to get a woman alone with this man.


It probably doesn’t help that neither of the characters are particularly interesting and there is no real chemistry between the actors. And Pratt was probably miscast here as much as he was in Jurassic Park.


Perhaps the most unintentionally humorous aspect of the plot is Aurora being described as a great writer, but when sections of her journals are read, it’s clear the world didn’t miss out on a budding Nobel Prize winner.


With Lawrence Fishburne in a part whose only existence is to force the final act. He’s the guy, who, if either character had asked the computer for an expert on hibernation or running the ship, would have been named, cutting the plot of the movie down to a couple of hours, rather than years.


Directed by Morten Tyldum in a step down from Headhunters and The Imitation Game and written by Jon Spaihts in a step up from Prometheus.

51 Comments on “ROGUE ONE, PASSENGERS ZERO: Movie Reviews of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Passengers by Howard Casner”

  1. 864312 437183I undoubtedly did not realize that. Learnt something new today! Thanks for that. 705421

  2. 테더 says:

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More to that Topic: […]

  3. … [Trackback]

    […] There you will find 43612 more Information to that Topic: […]

  4. No matter if some one searches for his vital thing,
    so he/she needs to be available that in detail, therefore that thing is maintained
    over here.

  5. What i don’t understood is in reality how you are not
    actually much more well-preferred than you might be now.
    You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore considerably in the case of this
    matter, produced me individually imagine it from so
    many various angles. Its like women and men are not interested
    until it’s one thing to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs
    outstanding. All the time handle it up!

  6. If you would like to grow your experience only keep visiting this site and be updated
    with the latest news posted here.

  7. Highly descriptive blog, I loved that bit. Will there be a part 2?

  8. Hi fantastic blog! Does running a blog similar to this
    require a massive amount work? I have no knowledge of computer programming but I had been hoping to start
    my own blog in the near future. Anyhow, if you have any recommendations or techniques for new blog owners please share.

    I know this is off subject nevertheless I just wanted to ask.
    Many thanks!

  9. Micah says:

    Keep this going please, great job!

  10. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board
    and I find It really usewful & it helped me out much.
    I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

    my blog post pro billiards (

  11. It’s very trouble-free to find out any matter
    on web ass compared to textbooks, as I found this piece of
    writing at this site.

    Also visit myy website – considering Two taables (

  12. Darell says:

    Wonderful post.Never knew this, thank you for letting me know.

    my website … table ga – Darell

  13. Natisha says:

    Good post. I definitely appreciate this site. Stick with it!

    my web-site – billiards lessons; Natisha,

  14. Oscar says:

    It?s hard to find well-informed people about this topic,
    however, you sound like you know what you?re talking about!

    my site :: cuue tip (Oscar)

  15. google says:

    I am actually delighted to read this blog posts which consists of tons of valuable information, thanks for providing these kinds
    of information.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Wow! In the end I got a weblog from where I be anle to really obtain helpful data regarding my study and knowledge.

    Feel free to visit my page – pool cover (Jennifer)

  17. Lynell says:

    Hello. magnificent job. I did not expect this. This is
    a impressive story. Thanks!

    Alsoo visit my webpage :: size pool tables (Lynell)

  18. pool parlors says:

    Hello.This post was extremely motivating, especially since I was browsing for thoughts on this subject last week.

    Also visit my web site; pool parlors

  19. Adan says:

    Hi, i think thwt i saw you visited mmy site so i got here to return the choose?.I am trying to in finding things to improve myy webb
    site!I suppose its ok to make use of some of your ideas!!

    my blog – buying pool tables [Adan]

  20. Respect to author, some superb selective information.

    Also visit myy webpage billiards news –

  21. Bret says:

    As I website poossessor I think the subject material here is really great, thank you
    for your efforts.

    Also visit my homepage: cheap pool table (Bret)

  22. Francine says:

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for inground

    My page – buy pool table (Francine)

  23. Wilburn says:

    I’ve been surfing online mkre than three hours today, yet I never found
    any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all web owners andd bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more
    useful than ever before.

    Also visit my website … cheap pool tables; Wilburn,

  24. Lucia says:

    Thank you for any other informative blog.
    Where else coulod I get that kind of info written in such a perfect method?
    I have a project that I’m just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

    Here is my homepage :: meucci cue (Lucia)

  25. Billiards says:

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info a
    lot. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank youu and good luck.

    my webpage Billiards

  26. Muhammad says:

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks,
    However I am having troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to join it.
    Is there anyone else getting identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond?

    Look into my website: favorite billiard rooms, Muhammad,

  27. Ines says:

    Some truly interesting information, well written and generally user pleasant.

    Also visit my web page … slate pool tables [Ines]

  28. Bobby says:

    I like this weblog so much, saved to fav.

    Here is my website: brunswick pool tables [Bobby]

  29. pool parlors says:

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody?

    This post posted at this web page is really good.

    my web site; pool parlors

  30. Makayla says:

    Hi there! Quick question that’s entikrely off topic. Do you know how to mke your sitee mobile friendly?
    My site looks weird when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find
    a theme or plugin thqt might be able to fix this issue.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Cheers!

    Here is mmy web page; pool cus (Makayla)

  31. Sal says:

    Very interesting details you have mentioned, regards for putting

    My web blog: manchester pool table (Sal)

  32. Collette says:

    I like what you guys are usually up too. This type of clever
    work and reporting! Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve you guys to our blogroll.

    Look into my blog; billiard game – Collette

  33. Thinh Kent says:

    There is visibly a bundle to realize about this.
    I assume you made various nice points in features also.

    My blog – Thinh Kent

  34. Elwood says:

    I believe other website owners should take this site as
    an model, very clean pool and billiards; Elwood, good user friendly pattern.

  35. Cary says:

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am inspired!
    Extremely helpful info specifically the last phase :
    ) I handle such information much. I used to be looking for this certain information for a
    long time. Thanks and best of luck.

    Here is my web blog … snooke takes; Cary,

  36. Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
    from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would realy make my blog shine.
    Please let me know where you got your design.
    Thank you

    Feel free to surf to my web blog pool table
    accessories (

  37. I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also go
    to see this webpage on regular basis to take updated from latest gossip.

    Feel free to sujrf to my web blog; billiards suggestions (

  38. Renee says:

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing some research on that.
    And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him
    smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

    Visit my blog post; simple table; Renee,

  39. Will says:

    Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post iss amazing, nice written and include almost all
    significant infos. I’d like to see extra
    posts like this.

    Feel free to surf to my web site :: pool sticks (Will)

  40. Thinh Kent says:

    I became honored to receive a call coming from a friend
    as soon as he discovered the important suggestions shared on your own site.
    Studying your blog publication is a real great experience.
    Thanks again for thinking oof readers just like me,and I would like for you tthe best of success
    as being a professional in this field.

    Feel free to surf to my page :: Thinh Kent

  41. Napoleon says:

    Helloo friends, nice post and nice arguments commented at this place, Iam truly enjoying byy these.

    Take a look at my site regarding pool table (Napoleon)

  42. I really like your writing style, wonderful information, regards for putting up :D.

    Feel free to surf to my web blog: cue sticks –

  43. Bertie says:

    If some one needs expert view about blogging then i recommend
    him/her to pay a visit this blog, Keep up the good work.

    Look at my web-site; snooker table (Bertie)

  44. Mervin says:

    Great article, exactly what I wanted to find.

    Also visit my webpage … snooker tablss (Mervin)

  45. Theresa says:

    Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing
    to be aware of. I saay to you, I definitely get irked while
    people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole
    thing without having side effect , people can take a signal.
    Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    my webpage: pool slang (Theresa)

  46. Piper says:

    Thanks so much pertaining to giving my family an update on this
    subject matter on your website. Please realize thatt if a new post appears or
    in case any modifications occur on the current post, I woulld be
    considering reading more and focusing on how to make good usage of those techniques you discuss.
    Thanks for your time and considerarion of other individuals by making this website

    Feel ffee to visit my web blog; pool balls (Piper)

  47. Deandre says:

    I wanted to visit and allow you to know how really I treasured discovering
    your weeb blog today. We would consider it the honor
    to work att my business office and be able tto use the tips shared on your web-site
    annd also take part in visitors’ responses like this.
    Should a position involving guest authir become on offer at your end, you should let me know.

    My web blog … billiard picture (Deandre)

  48. Aracelis says:

    Marvelous, what a weblog it is! This websikte presents useful
    facts too us, keep it up.

    my web page; cue stic tip, Aracelis,

  49. It’s actually very difficult in this busy life to
    listen nedws on Television, therefore I only use the web for that purpose, and obtain the newest

    Here is my blog … meucci pool cue

  50. Dick says:

    Keep functioning ,terrific job!

    my webpage table cloth, Dick,

  51. ppu-prof_Sed says:

    Забота о недвижимости – это забота о благополучии. Теплоизоляция стен – это не только изысканный облик, но и обеспечение сохранения тепла в вашем уединенном уголке. Наша команда, группа специалистов, предлагаем вам переделать ваш дом в прекрасное место для жизни.
    Наши улучшения – это не просто тепловая обработка, это творческий процесс с каждым элементом. Мы стремимся к совершенному сочетанию между внешним видом и практической ценностью, чтобы ваш дом превратился не только комфортным, но и роскошным.
    И самое существенное – удовлетворительная стоимость! Мы полагаем, что профессиональные услуги не должны быть неподъемными по цене. Утепление дома снаружи услуги начинается всего от 1250 рублей за кв. метр.
    Использование современных технологий и высококачественных материалов позволяют нам создавать утепление, которое долговечно и надежно. Прощайте холодным стенам и дополнительным тратам на отопление – наше утепление станет вашим надежной преградой перед холодом.
    Подробнее на
    Не откладывайте на потом заботу о удовольствии в вашем доме. Обращайтесь к мастерам своего дела, и ваше жилье станет настоящим художественным творчеством, которое подарит вам тепло и уют. Вместе мы создадим место для жизни, где вам будет по-настоящему уютно!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *