December 19, 2016
It’s here! Rogue One is the new Star Wars movie you’ve been longing for since Return of the Jedi. This is truly the prequel fans of the series deserve.
Albeit still a great movie, last year’s Star Wars: Force Awakens was effectively a shot-for-shot remake of A New Hope. Where Force Awakens fell short on originality, Rogue One more than makes up.
I will keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, giving nothing significant away that’s not in the trailer.
Rogue One takes place just before Episode IV, A New Hope and after Episode III, Revenge of the Sith.
The plot centers around The Rebel Alliance, a coalition of tribes across the galaxy who’ve banded together in the face of the tyrannical, oppressive Galactic Empire and its expansionist ambitions.
With their very own Igor Kurchatov, the Galactic Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star is nearly complete. Capable of destroying entire planets, the weapon poses an existential threat to the Empire’s dissidents.
And so, the Rebel Alliance forms a special team to track down and retrieve the Death Star’s blueprints to find a weakness in the superweapon and give the Rebellion a fighting chance.
The team is lead by Jyn Erso – her backstory I’ll keep under wraps to avoid giving anything away. Jyn’s character, in my opinion, was developed far better than Force Awakens’ heroine. At times Jyn was in command and taking charge, in others, she was in grave danger, only to be rescued by her counterpart Cassian Andor – the best way to describe him would be, Scarface’s Tony Montana playing Han Solo.
In contrast, Rey, the female lead in Force Awakens, was never – not a single time – put in a position of danger. The film tried far too hard to scream “WOMEN DON’T NEED MEN.” This isn’t the case in Rogue One, and it makes the film feel much more natural.
Rogue One is not however without controversy. Prior to the film’s release, a bevy of alt-right Donald Trump supporters launched a boycott movement against the film. The boycott was in direct response to comments made by Chris Weitz, Rogue One’s screenwriter, who said, “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist organization, opposed by a multicultural group led by brave women.”
Weitz then tweeted the film’s logo, with the “stand against hate” safety pin attached.
This begs the question, has Christ Weitz seen his own movie?
I can assure you Rogue One has nothing to do with “white supremacy” or Donald Trump.
While true that the brush of diversity and politically-correct-screen-casting is far more visible amongst the Rebel Alliance than the Galactic Empire, it’s a non-sequitur.
The Galactic Empire isn’t evil because it’s comprised of old white people.
The Empire is evil by virtue of the values it espouses, and the fact that it is a tyrannical government that bluntly advocates killing billions of people via the Death Star in efforts to achieve what it calls a galactic peace. When confronted with the fact that he was “confusing peace with terror,” the Empire’s chief military commander says, “Well, you have to start somewhere” – this could’ve been a scene lifted straight out of a Soviet Union documentary.
Likewise, the Rebel Alliance doesn’t become the de facto protagonist just because of its constituent’s eclectic ethnicities. That’s idiotic.
The Rebels are the good guys because they’re fighting for a moral good. Freedom.
Rogue One is not about tribal conflict. The fact that liberal screenwriters shoot themselves in the foot drawing these false parallels shouldn’t discourage you from seeing it. What Rogue One really is, is a battle over ideas.
The rebel armada seeking freedom and the individual right to self-governance pit against the power-hungry Galactic Empire seeking to control every aspect of everyone’s life, run the galactic economy and spend massive amounts of other people’s money on an infrastructure project (I’m still talking about the Galactic Empire, not the Democrat Party).
Moments before their final assault on an Imperial military base where the Death Star blueprints are being stored, the Rebel Alliance has to make a choice. Face a daunting and ghastly war standing up to the Galactic Empire, or disperse into the far reaches of the galaxy to save their own skins.
The film’s heroine, Jyn Erso, responds to this by declaring, “You give in to an empire this evil, and you condemn the entire galaxy to an eternity of darkness.”
You know who said that exact same thing in 1967? President Ronald Reagan: “We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
So, ignore the virtue signalers in the writer’s room. Rogue One is a fast-paced, well-made, action-packed Star Wars movie with delightfully conservative undertones.