“Save the Rebellion! Save the dream!”
A phrase cried out by one of the characters in the newest addition to the Star Wars saga; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The phrase accurately dictates how all of the character’s lives revolve around a hope. A hope that someday, the entire galaxy will be free of the Empire’s oppression, dictatorship, death and most of all, fear. Rogue One is a cinematic experience told much like a historical/military-war movie. The film wastes no time in setting the tone.
The plot (mild spoilers)
Through the life of Jyn Erso, we are taken on a journey deeper into the heart of both the Rebellion (good guys) and the galactic Empire (bad guys). In the opening scene, we see a young Jyn flee her home as her mother is killed and her father is taken by the Empire. Her father, an engineer, is acquired for his skills in order to build a weapon – a weapon powerful enough to destroy entire planets. Fast-forward approximately 15 years, and the story unfolds. Jyn joins the Rebellion fight in order to find the truth about the new weapon and how exactly her father is involved. A small band of rebel fighters, including Jyn, are sent on several stealth-missions to further the “cause” and to help give the Rebellion a fighting chance.
It’s the story of an underdog. The few fighting an enemy that is pure evil and possesses immeasurable numbers and strength.
A story of faith that as long as hope endures, evil will fall. Sacrifice, love and loss seep out of each character as it binds each of them to press on. Even though the story has such a heavy topic, moments of comic relief are sprinkled throughout in typical Star Wars fashion. This time it’s a reprogrammed Imperial droid named K-2SO and his very-dry sense of humor.
Violence. It is, as previously mentioned, a war-type movie. Death and loss of loved ones is a common element in the story’s development.
The characters never developed organically. Many times the characters emotion seamed forced (no pun intended) and were not allowed time to process anything. Mirroring pawns moving along a board, rather than people experiencing the life of Imperial occupied planets.
Many spiritual correlations can be made with “the Force”. Phrases like “…the Force willed it” are used to describe the ancient religion and lifestyle of the Jedi. In the time period that Rogue One takes place, the Jedi order is all but non-existent. Several characters grow to believe that the hope they have is coupled with the good side of the Force. That life endures because of the appreciation and sacrifice of life.
Inflicting fear and destruction leads to temporary power and strength and certain internal self-destruction.
A very enjoyable film experience, especially for fans of the series. I’ve seen the movie with friends who had never seen the other movies in the series (yes, they do exist), and they enjoyed it. It is, as titled, “A Star Wars Story.” It could very well survive outside of the Star Wars mythos if need be.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for anyone under the age of 8-10 years old because of the violence.
For anyone debating on seeing the film altogether, I would rate it high amongst the other films in the series.
7.0 (out of a 10-point rating)