I wouldn’t call myself a “Star Wars guy”. They’re good movies, but Episodes I through III weren’t so grand a deviance in mind as they were made out to be by token “Star Wars people”. My buddy is a pretty hardcore Star Warsian which is how I wound up seeing Star Wars: Rogue One opening night, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The visuals and sound were stunning in IMAX 3D. The story features almost entirely new characters, and provides an angle on the ongoing struggle (between the rebels and the empire) that is different from the originals (unlike The Force Unleashed), but additive as well. Rogue One takes place simultaneously with A New Hope, and the two films sort of symbiotically improve one another. I’d say the main difference overall is the originals mostly involved Luke Skywalker & Friends whereas this movie was more big picture stuff, very right and wrongy. Disney introduces its second consecutive female protagonist, which is refreshing. By that same token, their apparent necessity to cast as diversely as possible has me scratching my head at times. Why does Rey have a British accent if she’s from space? Was she from a particularly English region on Jakku? This movie had a character with like, a pretty thick hispanic accent to the point where I couldn’t understand what he was saying at times.. IN SPACE! I suppose it’s a little nihilistic to imply that if humanity ever reached Star Wars level technology that those of us who ventured into space’s culture would evaporate in its attempted coexistence with countless alien species, but that’s how I feel. Moving on, spoiler alert!
Ultimately this movie is all about the struggle. It’s about evil, and it’s about the people afflicted by said evil, and it’s about doing something about it. It covers its oopsie (How could the empire design the Death Star so that a single shot could destroy it? *Snort*) with Galen Erso’s deliberate, rebellious botching of the Death Star’s architecture. Erso, as well as the majority of the characters, is wonderfully complex. Their stories are mostly filled with hardships, and loss, and their involvement, or lack of involvement in the conflict. Rogue One examines the perspective of the blissfully ignorant bystander relative to the active opposer, and the dysfunction throughout the rebel chain of command which presumably leads to the defecting of Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker’s character), whose moral standards caused his going rogue, if you will. There’s a really powerful scene at the end where rebels finally get a hold of the Death Star plans (against all odds), and sacrifice themselves one after another in order to ensure that they make their way back to Rebel Headquarters. Essentially, the moral of the story is that the struggle is bigger than any one of us, and that we should all do the right thing more, and generally just try to be better people to each other. Disney’s got me intrigued. I’ll give it 8.5/10.