Rogue One - A Review Of A Movie That Mirrors Our History Of Sacrifices....
Rogue One - A Review Of A Movie That Mirrors Our History Of Sacrifices....
Years ago, one of America’s eyes in the skies - if I recalled correctly that it was an AWACS - went down in Chinese territory. I further recalled, as a young man then, having a rapt conversation with my beloved father about our spy plane being down in China and with my father dryly opining that the pilot should have destroyed the plane… even if it meant sacrificing himself and the rest of the crew. I could not understand then what my father - a Vietnam Vet - was thinking when he said that the captain should have sacrificed himself and along with his crew to prevent the Chinese from having access to our AWACS plane, which was replete with our technological secrets. I know now what my father knew then about ‘sacrifice’ for God and Country and, so today, as I watched the movie, Rogue One… I say that not only is this movie one of the best movies that I have ever seen, but the themes in Rogue One mirror our own history of sacrifice for freedom/Democracy.
Those of you who have read my blogs in this forum and elsewhere know that I am a student of the movies and that I am especially a huge fan of the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre… so when I said that Rogue One is one of the best movies that I have ever seen - I meant it! What makes Rogue One so mouth-watering good is that every aspect of the movie works: the story; the acting; the dialogue; the action scenes; and the fact that it is a testament of our history, as discussed above.
The story centers around a brilliant man trying to live the traditional life of a husband and father… and hiding from the Galactic overlords (The Emperor and Lord Vader), the latter who want to harvest his mental faculties to build weapons of mass destruction… namely, the Death Star - it is akin to the Nazis capturing J. Robert Oppenheimer and forcing him to build the Atom bomb for Hitler’s army. When this brilliant scientist is captured and forced to abandon his daughter, the orphaned daughter grows up not liking any of the parties involved in this internecine Galactic conflict. But just like life, there are times when there are no Switzerlands - safe havens - in an all inclusive consuming, bloody, conflict and so this orphaned daughter grows up and is forced to choose a side and chose she did to lead the rebellion… with the apt code name, Rogue One.
Not one scintilla of the dialogue is wasted and props to the writers, actors, and director for bringing Rogue One to life. This is where the story mirrors our lives/history because it is not all the time that the heroes and sheroes, who fight for our Liberty, live to see said Liberty come to fruition and the sacrifices paid in copious blood and courage in Rogue One is visceral and heartfelt. In Rogue One, loved ones die and friends have to send friends in harm’s way, and most of the times, these friends make the ultimate sacrifice… in the name of freedom. Perhaps, because I am also a student of History, I saw the brilliant staged battles in Rogue One like the real life battles that are referenced in our human history: Battle of the Bulge; the fight on the beaches of Normandy; the incessant Nazi bombing of London; and the more brutal theatres of our modern wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As for the acting, as I have said, even the brief roles are brilliantly played; take for instance, the Forest Whitaker role as the defacto foster father to Rogue One… there is such noble defiance and bravery in the scene when he meets his demise… and even though he is more machine than flesh and blood, his touching humanity is front and center because when death came for him, I could almost hear him defiantly quoting the Apostle Paul’s: O death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy victory (1st Corinthians 15:55)!
Humor is part of life too, even in the presence of pure evil and so it is in Rogue One too. Case in merriment point, there is a blind character, who, apparently, represents an early version of the Jedi Order, and whose fighting skills virtually steals the show in Rogue One. In an iconic scene when this blind character is captured and is subsequently blindfolded, in a deadpan voice, he rhetorically mentioned to his captures that if they did not realized that he is blind - but then again, who could blame his captors due to the painful, lethal, beat downs that this blind Jedi Master had perpetrated against the Storm-Troopers, which warranted every precaution, including a blindfold.
One of many of the intrigues of Rogue One is the fact that the old Star Wars characters appear in the movie and not simply by making appearances for appearances sake. We see a young Princess Leia receiving the Intelligence that so many died for; and characters who have long died in real life are marvelously resurrected because the movie technology has come so far that the director is able to use the actual images of these actors like the late Peter Cushing, who, when I was a boy, scared the living daylights out of me, even though his roles were somewhat campy then. Last but least is the young Lord Vader appearance, which alone is worthy of the Rogue One’s price of admission.
When Lord Vader appears, speaking in that powerful, commanding voice of James-Earl-Jones, we see the Galactic Army minions fighting among them-selves for power… and one, in particular, wanting Lord Vader to secure an audience with the Emperor. Lord Vader responded by using the force… to choke the would-be Galactic Army social climber and reminding the latter that he may yet choked on his ambition - classic! There is also one other frightening scene and one that sets up the audience to feel a sense of ambivalent guilt for rooting for Darth Vader. This scene takes place after what is tantamount to a seismic win by the upstart rebels over the Galactic forces - with Lord Vader seemingly breathing fire and brimstone, he takes out his frustration on a squadron of rebels. We see these poor bastard rebels trapped in what looks like a tunnel… and then we hear the familiar labored breathing of Lord Vader… with the darkened tunnel’s ambience coming to light by Lord Vader’s crimson light-saber and then the subsequent banshee-like screams. The scene is wickedly chilling and it is one of such scenes that is going to secure Lord Vader as the epitome of what a bad guy in movies should be!
I end by saying that Rogue One is a movie that I have to go out and see again… it is that good; however, Rogue One is not a movie for young children - the sacrifices that are made by the lovable, main characters will be too emotional for many a young tyke. I hope, though, that when they are old enough - say around thirteen or so - that they will watch this ever so awesome movie, Rogue One, and in tandem with being privy to America’s History, will realize the parallels. Incidentally, I do not know if there is going to be a generation - like those before - who is going to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifices for freedom/Democracy… for after all, there is still a whole swath of the populace out there who is still sulking… requiring pacifiers and cry-rooms, on account of the recent election's results -- but I digress. To all those heroes and sheroes who sacrificed their lives in Rogue One, know that you are one with the Force and that the Force is always with you! I have used Bruce Springsteen’s - Born To Run - to help flesh out the themes of this blog… drill down in the hyperlink below and enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3t9SfrfDZM