Today I welcome my mother to the blog to give us her review of Rogue One. Welcome, Mom!
When I saw the trailer for Rogue One, I had high hopes for this fill-in drama in the Star Wars saga; hopes that it would be an elemental piece of the puzzle that would direct the emotional connection to the story in the right direction. Rogue One was an opportunity to take us back to the beginning of the telling of the saga, the place where we were with A New Hope. But it failed to do so.
From the opening crawl of that original movie, we already have the skeleton of the plot for Rogue One. All that was left was to give life to that story by providing us with characters that would draw us in, give us a reason to cheer for the rebellion and hate the Empire, and then leave us with sorrow over losing them, but Hope for what was to come.
Nope. Nada. Zilch.
I will not bore you with a rehash of all that was wrong with the writing, (and possibly directing?) of this film, and how that materialized in the main characters. You can read THIS POST for all of that.
What I do want to give you, is a perspective from someone who saw the original trilogy ‘in the day’, and who, HAD to go to YouTube and find the beginning of A New Hope, (yeah, still don’t like calling it that), to make sure that I knew that I knew what I knew.
And what is it that I know??
Princess Leia would not have smiled.
What??????? What in the blue blazes does that have to do with anything? you ask.
I happen to think that it has a lot to do with it. It is the final character scene of a movie that has just spent all of its time trying to tell you that an epic, control of the universe tug of war has just been initiated through the fact that a handful of rogue rebels have stolen plans to the Empire’s greatest weapon of mass destruction and died in the process.
But the Princess Leia, a galactic ambassador, none-the-less, smiles. A Disney Princess kind of smile. (Carrie, looks like you are in.)
We are supposed to believe that this is the demeanor of the courier burdened with the task of transporting those vital plans back to the rebel base, and who, as we know from the ‘next’ part of the saga, is very quickly captured by none other than Darth Vader, and calmly, seriously, and rather boldly, points a blaster at three, yes, I said three, storm troopers in a single-handed attempt to draw attention to herself and allow the droids, C-3PO and R2D2, to escape.
Yeah. When she was handed those plans ……She would not have smiled.
Because, you see, although the Rebellion did now have hope; and they did have courage, which had just been displayed and bolstered by not only winning a battle against the Empire, but also by the fact that they did have the plans to the Death Star, everyone, I repeat, EVERYONE connected with the Rebel Alliance knew the gravity of the situation. They were in the midst of enemy territory, they had to get those plans back to the rebel base, and they all knew that Darth Vader was going to show up eventually. That appearance wound up being sooner, not later, as we have his destroyer materialize from hyper space and board the Rebel ship before Leia even has the plans. Princess Leia received those plans, ‘just in time’, and she knew Vader would be after her once her ship began its voyage.
Princess Leia is the connection that we have to the rest of the story. And we cannot believe that connection when the demeanor of the character is so drastically different from the end of Rogue One to the beginning of A New Hope. Honestly, I could have lived with the other character issues, which is really a lack of a persona for most of them. But to take a main character of the saga, and alter her to this degree, and then try to tell us this is the part of the story that leads into one of the greatest space battles of all time? Seriously! As one sister of a friend put it, “Star Wars failure/Disney win”.
Because that’s what it felt like. A Disney fairy tale that consists of all kinds of tragedy, but the pretty princess is happy in the end.