For what would you die? For whom would you die?
Would you die for your children? Your wife? Would you die to avenge a way of life the occupiers of your homeland pissed on gleefully? Would you die on the foothills of Shayol Ghul for the chance to spit in Sightblinder's eye? Would you embrace a suicide mission for a vanishingly small chance at getting a thumb in the eyes of the men who stole your father and a life in hiding from you? Is it really a good thing that the warm womb of American socialism insulates you from ever having to consider those things for which you would die? You probably don't even think that anything's worth dying for.
Rogue One1 is the delightful kind of war movie where everyone dies, but also really lame kind where everyone dies for the Good Cause of stopping the Bad Guys. There's the hallmark Star Wartsian complete disregard for orbital dynamics ("Gimme just a few cuts to park this thing"), the odd implicit violation of physics to distract true believers from the action ("No, you see, the reason that the X-Wings can so trivially shred the AT-AT's is because the walkers move very slowly and so therefore can't dissipate nearly as much waste heat as the fighter units with translight drives can into the atmosphere as they scream by at 110 knots" and don't even get me started on the madness incarnate of an entire universe where walkings tank somehow made sense right next to insanely high power-density thrusters that can put a large sedan into orbit WITH NO EXTERNAL FUEL TANKS), and some astonishingly bad lines towards the end.
Shockingly, one finds another entry in the franchise in which a bumbling crew of barely-there muscle and acting are literally propelled over all of the obstacles in their path by The Force to restore balance to the universe, quite frequently in spite of both hero and villain's best efforts. My favorite heresies about the Star Wars are (in reverse order): 1) that R2D2 masterminds the entire Rebellion, and in fact is vastly older than basically anyone other than Yoda, and 2) that the entire franchise is an accidental joke about how the universe into which these derps were all born is magically out of whack and righting itself through them. The first heresy is just funny, the second one entails throwing out the whole canon: nobody is an agent in Star Wars, the Force propels schmuck, Sith and Jedi alike to their destinies, and while the Sith may occasionally take the upper hand, their effects upon the universe are but a swing in the grand pendulum of time. A paean to my generation's American democracy: "Some centuries are peaceful and wonderful, and we see progress and a great expansion of rights for women and the variously colored people. But as the pendulum swings to order and stability, so too must it swing back through chaos and all of the bad things progressives hate, like Donald Trump". There's no time to angst over the fact that we're flying to our death, the Force is with us! On to blam times!
Rogue One is a Star Wars movie. People who like Star Wars movies will like Rogue One: it demonstrates what fleshy animation may be bought on a Star Wars budget in 2017; delivers on space shoosting, rigid-body dynamics and destructable-body animations in spades; makes liberal with the physics; and to I hope absolutely nobody's surprise, has plaster where enjoyable movies keep their plots. Drinking heavily recommended.
- Can one even attribute authorship to the product of a Hollywood consortium executing on a franchise of drinking age? [↩]