Watched Rogue One - Spoiler Free Thoughts, mostly about the gear and ships and possible art influences.
I think I liked it better than Force Awakens, in part because it wasn't trying to duplicate the beats of the original.
Besides a few touches of Mad Max (Forest Whitaker's character had a bit of a trace of Immortan Joe - and almost served like an echo of Darth Vader) the probable influence I most enjoyed recognizing was the Star Wars video games - flying low under radar through fog filled trenches (ala N64 Rogue Squadron) Walkers through shallow tropical waters (ala the GameCube entry in the series) - probably a touch of the Battlefront series in the soldiers running around combat as well. I'm assuming.
Also, seeing Star Destroyers directly over urban areas made me think of those "Death Star over SF Bay video", circa 2008:
Another art influence I think, but obscure: the lanky K-2SO reminds me a LOT of the robots in Paul Rivoche's art in the appendix of Isaac Asimov-moderated "Robot City"-- see the art at the bottom here.
There was a bit too much "THIS year's toy" in the ships- (which is funny, I think one thing I didn't like about Force Awakens was how the ships didn't feel different *enough*) - for geeks who care about that kind of thing it's going to be tougher to justify why more of them didn't show up in the Original Trilogy. (Unless they make another Lucas-ian touch up and rerelease A New Hope)
You know, most prominent in that are all Imperial Shuttle-derived transports, ships with a center body and then 2, 3, or 4 folding wings, like Kylo Ren's ship. When the Vader's Shuttle started up Return of the Jedi, it was unlike anything we'd seen in Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, but now they're everywhere, they just decided to sit out two films.
Speaking of making Return of the Jedi look bad - I know Star Wars has a "bad guys built a superweapon, good guys have to take it out" problem, but this movie talks about the criticality of the Death Star plans SO MUCH that it becomes weird how Return of the Jedi was just able to throw in a "the Death Star - again! But bigger!" so easily.
(Also everywhere in this movie: those little things that look like fancy pens in Imperial (and others?) pockets. I guess they're "Imperial Code Cylinders" but they're so ubiquitous as to be distracting.)
I loved the humanity in the opening scene at the farm - like what life might be like in an Empire dominated galaxy. Oh and Jyn Erso is a total badass gal. I wish we'd seen Carrie Fisher doing more of that kind of leading, either in the original trilogy or the new movie. (Though I guess technically she grew up in very protected royal circumstances...)
Oh, though I guess Luke's toy T-16 kind of had that Imperial Shuttle look.
advent day 18