We joined millions of other Americans this Christmas season by heading to the movie theaters.
Our target: Rogue One, A Star Wars Story!
This is the official spoiler alert, so if you haven’t seen the film and want to retain the suspense, please read no further than this. I don’t give away much, but I don’t want to ruin anyone’s cinematic fun, either.
I will begin my stating that my expectations for Rouge One were substantially reduced by the previous prequels and sequels to the original Star Wars (now better known as SW4 or “A New Hope”). While I gave a mostly positive review of The Force Awakens (TFA), upon reflection, I think that was based on nostalgia for both the 1977 blockbuster and it’s 1980 sequel (The Empire Strikes Back).
I mentioned that one problem I had with TFA is that the leading character, Rey, was magically able to battle a fully-trained, dark-side using Kylo Ren after minimal exposure to The Force. Additionally, the cast and the storyline of TFA was an homage to Hollywood’s social justice causes.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy stated she doesn’t need to cater to male Star Wars fans. It showed. My teen son, from the very demographic that has made the Star Wars franchise what it is today, didn’t want to see the movie again…nor did he want to get the DVD or any of the merchandise.
While TFA was successful, and another sequel is slated for release next Christmas, it is disappointing to see ham-handed Hollywood ruin another iconic American saga.
However, there is some redemption for Rogue One, as the movie gets back to the basics. Rogue One has a superior story. Additionally, the characters are more complex and the humor more genuine.
Finally, while there are tributes to The Force, only those schooled in its use actually fight using it. Everyone else gets a blaster.
Beyond that, Felicity Jones (the protagonist Jyn Erso) and as the male lead Diego Luna as rebel pilot Cassian Andor make the most of the material! They are compelling in their roles.
Yet, I am obliged to point out that there are some flaws that Star Wars geeks will likely note. For example, weren’t all the Jedi’s (except for Obi Wan Kenobi) suppose to be dead after SW3? Rogue One’s ensemble includes Chirrut Îmwe, a Jedi Knight who could have stepped out of the 1970’s TV hit show Kung Fu. Why is he in the mix?
My step-daughter, who is a professional translator working in China, was able to answer that question. It turns out that there is a huge audience in China, and the Star Wars marketing team may have to address Chinese quotas in casting. I anticipate seeing even more Asian action heroes, then.
In the original film, Princess Leia states that millions of Bothans died for the Death Star plans. However, there is no mention of what Bothans are or if any died.
For me, perhaps the best moments were when CGI brought back Grand Moff Tarkin for some of the most outstanding scenes. Peter Cushing, the fabulous British actor who played Tarkin, died in 1994. In Rogue One, Guy Henry did the acting and the special effects crew digitally replaced his face with Cushing’s afterward. The effect is amazing.
As with the 1977 hit,the villains were still the most fascinating to watch. And, I must admit, I did enjoy watching an episode that didn’t end with the explosion of the Death Star.
Now, if only the power of the Death Star could be turned on Jar Jar Binks!
That Rogue One is clearly better than TFA can be demonstrated in the fact that the men of my clan are making plans to see it again….this week. Kathleen Kennedy may want to reflect on this development before mocking audience demographics again. I think many in Hollywood are going to be shocked to see how Americans plan to battle their inanity with their pocketbooks and wallets in the next four years.
One last note: I was worried that 2016’s list of death might include Princess Leia actress, Carrie Fisher. She suffered “a medical emergency” while on a flight between London and Los Angeles. Fortunately, she is in stable condition as of this post.DONATE
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