SPOILER ALERT: They successfully steal the Deathstar plans.
My apologies to anyone living under a rock since 1977, but that’s the part of the plot that shaped the entire Star Wars universe, and pretty much fueled Geekdom for the past forty years.
Much like the Star Wars prequels, sequel and that one WTF Christmas special, Rogue One is a mixed bag. But here’s what I loved: the bag is mixed exactly half-and-half. Not that I mean it’s a 5/10 stars, because I’d place it closer to a 8/10 on the Housewife Movie Scale. “Wow,” you’re thinking, “that’s a high rating!”
Yeah, well… the movie earned all eight stars in the second half. Seriously, at the hour mark, while sitting in the movie theater, I checked my phone and thought “Dear Lord, we’re only an hour in?!” And then, BAM! The plot turned completely around and became everything I ever wanted in a Star Wars movie.
Last warning about spoilers: This is about stealing the Death Star plans. And remember, from A New Hope: We never met anyone who helped steal the plans, and it was clear that many rebels died in the process. So. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve been warned.
- THERE IS NO THEME SONG OR TITLE CRAWL
I was born in the nineties. I didn’t get to experience hearing the Star Wars main theme on the big screen, anticipate the silence between “A long time ago…” and the “TA-DA!!! Dum-dee-dee-dum…” that my parents did. Until last year, when The Force Awakens came out. That musical moment and title crawl was better than I ever imagined it could be.
And then, THIS crap. If you haven’t yet seen Rogue One, you will be heartbroken, like me. You see the familiar “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” and we cut to a space scene. Bam. Straight to the action.
I felt like Sheldon Cooper being handcuffed before finishing the third *knock-knock-knock* “Penny?”
Directors, editors, anyone involved in this production: bad choice. Not only was it weird, it was also distracting. For at least the first 20 minutes, I was thinking about “Why wasn’t there the theme song? Who should get fired for that? This isn’t even Star Wars!” instead of paying full attention to the plot.
You can nap through the first half and still get the overall plot. I truly think that the slow-ness of the film’s first half is because there wasn’t a title crawl. No title crawl with background of main plot and characters = way too much exposition. Or maybe it was slow because the writers knew we’d be lamenting the lack of title crawl and inwardly calling them names? Yeah, that’s got to be it.
- Tarkin’s face.
Look, we all know the original actor died. That’s okay. I’d much rather have had a close look-alike wearing a lot of make up and prosthetics than the cheap CGI face they attempted for this movie. Once again, the creators did something that was just distracting. If you’re gonna do a CGI face, you can’t have it look that fake. #Battlefield1HasBetterAnimation.
- Vader is roomies with Sauron.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who started looking for a giant flaming eye at the top of Vader’s pointy palace. FYI, that’s not Mordor. It’s some other lava place.
- Blind guy, Machine-Gun-guy, and faith.
Absolutely my favorite characters. I had no clue what their names were while watching the films, but I have since used The Google and discovered the blind guy is Chirrut, and machine-gun-guy is Baze.
Despite not knowing their names until two minutes ago, they are my absolute favorite characters in the film. I think it’s because of the stark contrast between Chirrut and Baze. The first believes in the Force, that it flows through him, that it not only allows, but helps him to do good, and that the Force is present and reachable in any situation. He truly has (pardon the pun) blind faith.
Baze’s point of view, on the other hand, is much more relatable. Baze seems to think “If the Force was on our side, our temple wouldn’t have fallen, and the Jedi would still be the peacekeepers. I’m here for my friend.”
And since I’m a Catholic nerd, I couldn’t help but think that these are the two kinds of Christians I tend to run into. The first is kinda nutty, super into their faith, believes that God is on his side no matter what, etc. Let’s just say that if Chirrut were a Catholic lady, he’d be going to every daily Mass while wearing a veil, chanting The Angelus under his breath ad nausem whilst wielding dual rosaries. (Okay, not a thing… except in the film Priest.) But you get the idea: he’s the friend who’s kinda nutty, but you can’t help but love how much faith he has.
Then there’s Baze. His kind of believer says “You’re nuts. What has God done for you? Yeah, he’s there, but obviously, he doesn’t care if we all burn.”
And yet Baze sticks by his friend, at first because they had a common faith/purpose, but now out of the loyalty and love that comes from their friendship.
You can tell that Baze is amused and encouraged by Churrit’s faith in the Force being for him and in him (Through him, with him, and in him, anyone?), even though he gently mocks his friend’s faith. And yet, there’s something in him that wants Churrit to be right.
Watching Churrit’s final march through a hailstorm of blaster bolts, Baze’s admission that the Force was with him, and his final stand… I’ll admit, I cried. I kept thinking about the movie For Greater Glory (which you should totally watch), and Churrit’s chant of “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me, and I am one with the Force…” is just like the rote prayers I’ve learned through my own faith formation. And when Baze’s faith comes back to him, his battle cry is very much a “Viva Cristo Rey!” moment. And to think, he may have never believed that the Force was with him again without Churrit’s constant reminders, just as we are supposed to encourage our own friends in their times of unbelief!
- And then, of course, is the Rebellion itself. A group of misfits who can barely work together, who (as they admit when joining Jyn) have done terrible things, but are all willing to die for the sake of saving the galaxy. Their lives for everyone else to have a chance. (Martyrs, anyone? Seriously, the Star Wars ‘verse is one giant Christianity metaphor.) Going in to the movie, I figured not many of the main characters would make it out alive. I was right. And I love them for it.
- The seamless transition into A New Hope. Spectacular. I don’t even have adequate words for it. And since I saw the movie just days after Carrie Fisher died, I definitely felt a lot of feels. *sniffles*
Obviously, this movie tugged my heartstrings, at least for the last half. Seriously, once the act of stealing the Death Star plans actually begins, it is just as good as the original trilogy, and at that point, far surpasses any of the other four films made since then. Watching the movie, I kept thinking back to my childhood, when me and my friends would play Star Wars. Our bikes were X-Wings, the tire swing was the Millennium Falcon, we all fought over who was Leia (we took turns and made up other girl characters, and I think I was Luke a few times), and we were all misfits, joined up with the Rebels to fight the evil Empire. Rogue One brought all of that back to me, which is exactly what a Star Wars movie is supposed to do.
+ May the Force be with you.
R: And with your spirit.
*Sidenote, I personally wouldn’t take super tiny kids to this thing. Because seriously, almost everybody dies, and it’s really intense.*