Feb. 5th, 2017

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Just saw Rogue One. It's a big, fat video game with really really good graphics. I didn't hate it. After all, I did play Half Life 2 all the way to the end, and that took way more than two hours out of my life. The primary mechanism in games like this is: you start with a little bit of information and a limited mission - go here, find this or that thing, and along the way shoot everything that moves. Then you finally make it to a beautifully animated cut scene where you have a chance to catch your breath and make a new friend who starts to explain just what is going on, when SUDDENLY....

Oh no! Here they come - run! Take this thing and go THAT WAY! Give it to Dr. Whatsisname! Quick quick quick!! You scamper off in the indicated direction, shooting everything that moves, leaping over crevasses, clambering over walls, creeping through tunnels. Finally you get to the next destination and meet somebody who starts to explain everything (finally) when SUDDENLY....

And so on. Sometimes the characters you meet are sort of interesting. Sometimes the little bits of exposition start to cohere into an actual back story. And the environments get more and more spectacular until eventually you are careening down a cliff-side road in an open jeep shooting at giant ant lions, or climbing through the girders of a breathtaking suspension bridge. Big fun! (I loved those levels in Half Life 2). But ultimately, the plot consists mostly of running frantically from one place to another and shooting at everything that moves. And solving puzzles. But that's just in the video game version. The movie is mostly just running and shooting and never really knowing what the heck is going on.

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