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** Not terribly spoiler-y at all. At least not for major plot points. You’ve been warned! **
Monday, while sitting in a screening room on the Disney lot watching Rogue One (humble brag alert) with tons of other “journalists,” about half way through I thought to myself… this might be better than The Force Awakens… is this better than The Force Awakens? Why is that? Why is Rogue One so good?
Can we sit back and marvel (ahem) about how Disney and the Star Wars folks have been carefully loading the deck with powerful women are their lead actors for this return to the Star Wars universe? Can we also sit back and think about how AWESOME that is? While we really only had Leia in the original trilogy and Natalie Portman in episodes 1-3, the Star Wars team is reimagining and expanding the world to include women in some of the most major story lines. Rey is the main character and focal story point of the new trilogy, add in Jyn Erso who LEADS the rebels to steal the Death Star plans and you have women now at every turn calling the shots, assured in their own agency that they are powerful and able and worthy. I’m excited and also get a little teary thinking about how girls growing up now will get to see and be influenced by characters like Rey and Jyn. Thank you writers!
EVERYONE who is part of Jyn and Cassian’s rebel team are POC or miniorities. Jyn is the only caucasian in the lot and it’s refreshing. From Asian to Mexican to Pakistani along with a host of other actors throughout the movie, we get to see POC in the main roles, not to mention these characters do not have “super hero” bodies, they are small, they are not the quarterback of the team, they have accents, one of them is blind. This kind of inclusion gives me hope for the future of media but also the world.
I did. Twice.
Watching Rogue One you aren’t signing up for a trilogy. In a movie franchise era, it’s a relief (but also kinda sad) to know that the end, was the end. Wellll sure the movie is essentially a prequel to A New Hope but these characters exist in this time and in this movie and serve a particular function. They are not just setting up the first act of three of their adventure. And the end… it’s just so good.
Ok, this is That’s Normal and we gotta talk about the men. If you weren’t a fan of Diego Luna from Y Tu Mama Tambien or even Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (don’t front), than you are now. Diego + Felicity is a revelation, there’s something about the way Diego acts opposite of a female character that is just: SWOON. Let’s not forget the cute Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikklesen, Ben Mendolssen and well… Darth Vadar. You know what I’m talking about.
I’m also glad when movies don’t reduce the woman’s storyline to being a sidekick or the romantic foil. Women don’t exist solely to be a love interest or a way to lighten a storyline with romance. Rogue One did none of that and they COULD HAVE but chose a better way. That moment at the end, on the beach tho? DEAD. Died all the deaths.
All the sassy droids in the Star Wars franchise need their own Bravo show where they just comment on everyday news items, judge people’s lives and give their best one liners. Those metal bitches can throw shade with the best of them. The new K-2SO (voice by the hilarious Alan Tudyk) is my new favorite addition to the Sassy Droids lineup.
I loved that through the music the filmmakers established that Rogue One is set apart from the Star Wars story but that it has a place in the universe. Michael Giacchino nailed the rifs on the classic Star Wars theme and of course Darth Vadar’s theme. On my second viewing (tonight!) I’ll be listening even more intently for any of the themes I missed the first time to be woven in, plus I really want to hear Jyn’s theme as Rey’s is just so spectacular.
Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), George Lucas’ visual effects company, must have made some deals with the devil or started practicing black magic on an office retreat weekend because we see a few familiar faces (actors who long since joined the great Force in the sky) return to the screen who are most definitely DEAD. We’re not talking a Tupac hologram moment, they literally dug up graves and propped these actors up for a few scenes. The return of Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing dead since ’94) will probably haunt my dreams for a long time. But damn, kudos to the Dorian Gray team over at ILM.
(These pants are practically mustard colored, right? That stripe it! Good luck charm, anyone?)
After all, everything goes back to Twilight… or so we say! Chris Weitz is the co-writer of Rogue One along with Tony Gilroy who wrote The Cutting Edge. Yes, the movie about figure skaters from the early 90s. Between Chris’ work with the Twilight franchise, his screenplay for Cinderella and plus the addition of the dude who wrote the movie that made EVERY millennial girl want to be a pairs figure skater, you KNOW why this script works.
Wait for the VERY end… just…. wait. Trust me, the reveal is just TOO GOOD.
In a world where our future president is very much the epitome of the Empire and the rebels represent so many of us, Rogue One is a movie with a story, people and HOPE, that we need right now.
Go see Rogue One in theaters TONIGHT!