Over the weekend, I got to see Rogue One. There are so many things that I can say about it, so I’m going to do my best not to ramble. (That’s part of the reason that I waited a few days to actually write this post. We’ll see if it helps.)
I had some major reservations about decisions made in Episode VII, so I did start off with some concern. But now that I’ve seen it, those concerns are gone. Yes, there are some minor continuity issues… I can’t imagine how hard those are to deal with when inserting a story into an established and beloved timeline. Overall, I’d rank this as one of my favorite Star Wars movies.
There’s one interesting thing that I want to point out, but it’s a total spoiler. Don’t read on unless you’ve already seen the movie. (Or don’t care about spoilers.)
The spoilers start here.
As soon as I heard the premise for the movie, I had a feeling it would require a box of tissues. After all, we’re talking about the acquisition of the Death Star plans, which is summarized by the famous line, “Many Bothans died to bring us this information.” And being an emotionally sensitive person, I figured that would result in at least a few tears. (I cry too easily…)
Honestly, it was the thing I dreaded about the movie. I would become attached to characters. I would want to see them win and enjoy a victory lap afterwards. But then, they would all die. Every last one.
My assumption was right. But it didn’t feel the way I expected.
I’ve only seen the movie once so far, but one of the things I found interesting is how I connected to the characters emotionally. While I did connect well, I wasn’t given enough time to really know them. Some backstory is provided for some characters, while just a few lines describe the backstory of others. Each character is sympathetic and likable, but the emotional investment in each one wasn’t too high. So as they died, I didn’t sob my eyes out like I feared. I teared up, but that was it.
Another interesting thing was how they died. Thinking back to The Fellowship of the Ring, Boromir’s death was emotional. The film was edited so the audience spent a long time watching it happen and sensing the agony. It was one of those last stand sorts of moments complete with slow motion and the sad music. And then the audience spent time mourning him along with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli afterwards.
This wasn’t like that. The deaths happened almost matter-of-factly. Each character was given their heroic moment, but only twice that I can recall was anyone there to really mourn over them. And when they did, it was only a moment before the story pushed on, keeping that sense of grief from settling in too much.
It was only on the last two that the moment lingered. But even then, we quickly found ourselves in the set-up of A New Hope with Vader chasing the plans in his brief but amazing screen time. If it had been edited differently, I would have sobbed through the ending like I did in Valkyrie. (If you’ve never seen that one, get the tissues and find it because it’s incredible.)
Of course, there is one other factor aside from the way it was written and edited that softened the blow. I already knew it was coming.
I wonder if that changed how I watched the movie. Maybe I kept my emotional distance because I knew most, if not all of them, were about to die.
The movie could have been heavy and difficult to rewatch, but it surprisingly isn’t. Instead, it’s well-balanced so that even those of us who tear up in more movies than not can still enjoy it and actually want to watch it over again.
While there are so many other things I could say about this movie, I’ll leave it at that. And say again that it’s a great movie. I hope you enjoyed it too.
Have you seen Rogue One? What did you think of the ending?