…watching at the movies (again!)
Rogue One (spoiler free)
Oh…oh my. That movie was amazing!
I freely admit that I’m a Star Wars tragic. I’ve been one ever since my mum showed me A New Hope as a child. I loved everything about those movies and even the godawful prequels couldn’t hurt me too much.
However, the thing that really captured me the most was the setting itself. Jedi were cool, and the space battles were cooler, but what I loved were the little glimpses of the day to day in this amazing universe. I loved how lived in it all was, how weird the aliens were, the glimpses at what society was like under the oppressive Empire. The Extended Universe got into a lot of this stuff, but it had only ever been captured on film as incidental detail around the hero’s journey of Luke and his friends.
Rogue One is everything I ever wanted from a Star Wars movie.
This isn’t a story about a single hero rising up and saving the day. No, Rogue One is not about that, despite what trailers might have hinted at. This is a war movie and a heist rolled into one – a gritty look at a rebellion against an oppressive government across multiple and wonderfully varied locations and what rebelling actually means; what it costs the people who are fighting and doing what might be considered bad things for what history will hopefully show were good reasons.
This is not a hero’s journey. Rogue One is dark without being dour. Adventurous without being trite. Serious, but with that sense of humour and hint of hope that typifies Star Wars. It wasn’t a perfect movie – characterisation was a bit slim at points, I kind of hated Forrest Whitaker (not something I’m used to saying), and there were a few uncanny valley incidents that took away from certain scenes.
But overall? This is Star Wars like I dreamed it could be. As much as I liked Force Awakens, it was a retread – A New Hope with a new coat of paint.
Rogue One is not a retread. It is new and different and gorgeous and glorious and the standing ovation it got in the cinema I watched it in was well deserved. I’m not sure yet where it will sit in my personal canon of Star Wars movies, but I’m pretty damn sure it’ll be high on the list.
An easy 5/5 for me.