What better way to kick off 2017 than with a movie review for Rogue One?
“Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing down when the evil Orson Krennic takes him away from his beloved family. Many years later, Galen is now the Empire’s lead engineer for the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, the Death Star. Knowing that her father holds the key to its destruction, a vengeful Jyn joins forces with a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the space station’s plans for the Rebel Alliance.”
Rogue One takes place in the Star Wars universe, between the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. While the “original” Star Wars movies are episodes IV-VI, Rogue One takes place immediately before the events of A New Hope.
I think I comment on diverse casts in just about every review I type these days because diversity is so much more than just having token characters of a certain race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation and so much of the entertainment industry even now is populated with an entire movie or series only starring the typical white male hero. The cast of Rogue One was definitely diverse and I think that just added to the depth of the movie. No one’s backstories were explained and a lot of the characters simply existed, going about their every day lives in whatever manner they saw fit. For example, you have no idea why Jyn is in an imperial prison. The last you saw of Jyn, she was a child, hiding in a rock. Now she’s grown and in prison with a very entertaining room-mate and you have no idea why and there are no clues provided throughout the entire movie, either. It’s just part of her story that simply is. All of the characters are like that – they must have absolutely fascinating backstories to put them in the positions where the movie catches up to them, but we have no idea what those stories are. (For those of you with more Star Wars knowledge than I have, you might be interested to check out this article about cameos in Rogue One).
Another thing I really appreciated about this movie was the absolute and very distinct lack of any sort of romantic or sexual subplot. It was so wonderfully refreshing to have a story where no one kissed or had sex or even remotely indicated any sort of sexual innuendos. Galen loves his wife and he loves his daughter, Jyn, but neither of them are objects to him. He doesn’t own them and he doesn’t control them; he loves them. Even though his wife is only seen briefly, it’s obvious that they have a fairly even partnership. It’s not that I have anything against romantic and sexual pairings in entertainment, it’s just I’m sick and tired of those pairings being used in just about every media. It’s inaccurate and false representation because interpersonal relationships are never that simple and many people struggle their entire lives to find someone they trust, love, and are compatible with and that kind of relationship doesn’t magically appear because two action characters just happen to wind up on the same mission.
I think what I liked best about this movie is that it was probably the most realistic story of how heroic events actually occur that I’ve ever seen. Those events which have the ability to change the course of the future are often not able to be defined by one specific event or one specific person, but rather are the accumulation of many much smaller events and less obvious people. This movie also addressed one of the most entertaining discussions about A New Hope with how easy it was to destroy the Death Star and I think the reason provided was actually another very realistic example of major events having a lot of smaller events to create the opportunity for that massive event. Someone had to connect the cable, someone had to turn on the switch, someone had to pilot the shuttle, someone had to find the data, someone had to even realize there was data worth finding, someone had to download the data, and someone had to get it to someone else who could action on it. Just like Jyn said in the movie, they kept taking small chances until things worked or they ran out of chances.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and will happily add it to my own collection when it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray. I’d say this movie is easily a solid four on my rating scale and I look forward to the ability to add it to my Star Wars marathon that I appear to have every year or so.