Built on Hope: Initial Thought of Rogue One

Last night I went and saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and had a lot of thoughts and feelings about the film so I made sure to jot some of them down so that when I sat down to write this post I would have them as well as thoughts the next day.

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I went to see it at a different theater than I saw The Force Awakens.  So it is a little difficult to compare the atmosphere to those two films.  It also was a different format (Rogue One in 2D vs The Force Awakens in IMAX 3D).  The theater that I was at wasn’t sold out for that showing (8:00pm) but there was a good crowd.

Here’s some of my thoughts on the film (I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible):

It was weird to jump right into the movie.  Granted this was expected that there wasn’t going to be an opening crawl but even the title card didn’t appear until after an opening scene and it didn’t even have the words Star Wars in it.

There were a lot of great cameos and Easter Eggs in this film.  Everything from the overt to the covert was mentioned throughout the film with little nods to the prequels to things that led directly into A New Hope.  Longtime Star Wars fans could appreciate how they were all worked in and how they contributed to the film.

I loved the battle of Scariff.  It was probably my favorite part of the entire film.  Both the land and space battles where done very well.  I’m always a huge fan of space battles and this one did a great job of that with the Rebel fleet going against the Imperial fleet in some great dogfighting.  The ground battle was filmed exceptionally well and made for some heartwrenching moments.  It definitely fits right in with the best battle sequences in a Star Wars film.

One thing that was a little unnerving was some of the character development of a few of the characters.  To me, it seemed the character arc was a little rushed for a couple of them.  I understood where they were going with it and it is difficult to try and have it come together in the span of just one movie.  I think it would’ve been helpful to have more time and backstory to flesh it out but that’s more a minor thing than anything.

I will say (trying to avoid spoilers) that the CGI work in this film is something that I don’t think would’ve been possible five or ten years ago.  What was done in this film is impressive that they were able to weave together a story that was made in 2016 which leads directly into a film made in 1977.

Overall I really enjoyed the film.  It is a very dark film.  Gareth Edwards (who also directed Godzilla which I loved) did a tremendous job bringing this film to the screen.  It is a film that is different from other Star Wars films but it does make it’s home in that universe.  At the heart of the film is hope.  A line that is echoed several times is “Rebellions are built on hope.”  Even in the midst of all the darkness, there still is that glimmer of hope that shines through.

I will have to watch it several more times to really get a gauge on where it ranks for me.  I really enjoyed it but I don’t think I would put it right up there with Episodes IV, V & VI.  It probably comes down to between it and The Force Awakens.  I will say if you’re a Star Wars fan it is totally worth seeing.  It was worth waiting a year to see and will help tide things over until Episode VIII releases next year.

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Star Wars and Following Your Path

With news about the new trailer for Star Wars:  The Force Awakens debuting this weekend, I’m amped up to get back into counting down to a new Star Wars film.  As with that, it’s a good reminder of the films that I know and love, which mainly is the original trilogy (not that I hate the prequels but I grew up on the original trilogy).

As I have from time to time here, I like to look at scenes from the films and reflect on them and the messages that they convey.  One that I recently have been pondering was from A New Hope.  The Rebels were gathered in their base on Yavin IV as they prepare to launch an assault on the oncoming Death Star.  Their hope was to destroy the space station before it could get in range to destroy the planet.

Luke Skywalker was prepared to fly into battle but before he left he tried to convince Han Solo to come with him.  At that point, Han was focused on collecting the reward for rescuing Princess Leia and getting him and Chewbacca out of there.  Luke was disappointed and left Han and Chewie.

As he was making his way to his X-Wing, Luke ran into Leia.  Here was the exchange:

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Leia:  “What’s wrong?”

Luke:  “It’s Han.  I don’t know.  I really thought he’d change his mind.”

Leia:  “He’s got to follow his own path.  No one can choose it for him.”

As much as Luke wanted Han to join in the fight for the rebellion, Luke couldn’t make Han do it.  Han chose the path in which he took.  Granted, he would join the fight at just the right time to help Luke out of a tough spot and would go on to join the Rebels in their fight against the Empire.  But he had to make that choice.

Many times, we interact with those we care about (either in person or in some cases a far through social media) and we feel like Luke.  We want them to come with us.  But as much as we want them to come with us, we can’t make them.  They have their own path to follow.  Sometimes, like Han, they do end up coming alongside.  Sometimes, though, they don’t.

When they don’t, it doesn’t mean we stop caring about them.  It does mean that we understand and still be there for them.  Who knows, they may surprise you like Han did.