WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
ROMNEY WORDSWORTH – First and foremost, I want to say that this was the best Star Wars movie, ever. Rogue One is an even better movie than Empire Strikes Back, for the reasons I will outline below. Was there political correctness afoot in the casting? Yes, absolutely. But aside from the skin color and linguistic accents of the actors, the script and dialogue itself contains no obnoxious Social Justice Warrior preachiness at all.
But the casting was done to meet progressive ideas about racial quotas. Thus, from left to right, we have a black man, an Hispanic man (who speaks with a Mexican accent), a white woman as the main protagonist, a blind Chinese man (a twofer on the Progressive victim group catalogue, covering Asians and the disabled) and finally, crouching in a sneaky, untrustworthy way on the far right, an Arab/Middle Eastern looking guy.
I am not a racist, and I don’t engage in racial bean counting. But the Left does. And it was the radical leftists who run Hollywood who counted it as a great victory to create a cast with this cross section of racial “diversity”, and which snubs white males, except to be used as one of the movie’s villains. That’s the way THEY think, and that is what is behind making Rey the over powered Jedi in The Force Awakens, who learns more about the Force in 2 hours than Luke Skywalker did in several years and three movies. It’s why Marvel is replacing Tony Stark with a black teenaged girl, and the Mighty Thor with a chick.
White guy fighter pilots? Who let them in here?
OKAY, SERIOUSLY READERS. HERE COME THE SPOILERS. YOU WERE WARNED.
So what WAS so good about the plot? A few things. Number One, the plot owes much to three prior movies: The Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, and Force 10 From Navaronne. As with the three aforementioned movies, Rogue One is a war movie where a band of misfits are given an improbable, suicidal mission. Number Two, I think that Rogue One is emblematic of what I’m going to call the George R.R. Martin Effect. Game of Thrones has been fabulously successful, and one of the reasons for its success is because George R.R. Martin isn’t afraid to kill off characters. When you watch Game of Thrones, you know NO character is safe, and any character, ANY character, no matter how beloved by the audience, or how long they have been around in the story, could DIE at any moment. It generates genuine suspense for the audience. Martin bravely eschewed conventional Hollywood wisdom that said that audiences demanded happy endings, good must always triumph over evil, and beloved characters must be preserved for sequels.
In Rogue One, none of the characters (besides some legacy characters like Darth Vader) are wearing “plot armor”. Instead they are as naked and vulnerable to death as Ned Stark in King’s Landing. Rogue One takes Martin’s slaying pen to new ruthlessness, however. Like the Seven Samurai, they ALL DIE. This is a movie about a real Suicide Squad.
I loved that about this movie. I loved the fact that it doesn’t have a happy ending, that heroes die, and that it has that gritty, edgy mortality to it. There is nothing for kids about this movie. No cuddly Ewoks. No obnoxious Jar Jar Binks. They don’t sugar coat war. It is shown as being as deadly as it was in Saving Private Ryan (and echoes that famous beach landing scene). In this movie, Darth Vader gets his Freddy Krueger on, and shows why the Dark Side of the Force is so dark.
They also borrowed a pinch of choreography from a Jackie Chan movie. I have some Chinese friends who thought that this character was an insulting racial stereotype. Well, you know, it just wouldn’t BE a Star Wars movie if some racial group wasn’t offended. As a consolation, this guy did get some of the funniest lines of the movie.
The last thing that really impressed me about Rogue One was the use of CGI to bring the late Peter Cushing back to life on the big screen. Here is the CGI Peter Cushing:
And here is the real life Peter Cushing taken off set in 1977:
So, which looks more real to you? Do you see much of a difference? Let me tell you, when you see Peter Cushing’s likeness in Rogue One as Governor Tarkin, you have to remind yourself that the actor has passed away. It’s really THAT good of an effect. Minor Star Wars Trivia: The CGI Peter Cushing gets more screen time in Rogue One than the real Peter Cushing got in 1977’s A New Hope.
I’m struck by the implications of what this startling technology means for the entertainment industry. This kind of life like CGI can allow film makers to mash up whatever actors, from whatever decade, in the same film. Clarke Gable and Vin Diesel. Humphry Bogart and Tom Cruise. Cary Grant and Cedric. A sequel to Animal House with the deceased John Belushi. Anything at all. I suspect that going forward Hollywood Studio contracts are going to start to demand that actors grant the Studio an open ended license to use their likenesses in a digital format. Could this even be another example of the jobs that robots are going to take away from human beings?
Menopausal Carrie Fisher? NO PROBLEM with the new CGI!
The stars are truly the limit. In the meantime, May the Force Be With You, Always.