This is literally my first Star Wars film. I wasn’t interested in the franchise. If I want to try new art and entertainment, I focus on the premise rather than its celebrity or cult status. Honestly, Star Wars’ premise doesn’t interest me.
Basically, it’s another case of good vs. evil. The marginalised vs. the powerful ones. Battle scenes. I know I sound ignorant. But, that’s the impression I get from the film. Correct me if I am wrong. Of course, I still have other reasons to try the franchise.
First of all, Harry Potter’s not a completely original franchise either. It has traits shared by many other stories. But, I’ve been a pothead for years and I can see myself as one in the future. If I can love derivative HP, why not Star Wars?
Also, Star Wars is sci-fi. I have a soft spot for speculative genres. From my lenses, they can get deep easily and unpretentiously. I like that. I can’t stand self-righteous entertainment. Another reason to try Star Wars.
So, when I had the chance to watch it, I took it. Not disappointed at all.
Quality wise, it’s unexceptional. K-2SO is the only character that I like. The human ones don’t attract me. I’m neither annoyed nor compelled by them. That hinders the immersion. But, the most important aspect of the film is its ending….which makes me conflicted.
It is supposed to be sad. But, the emotions existed briefly before immediately swept under the rug. Like, why? Our heroes are dead. They die before they reach the happy ending. I should not have feelings about that? Seriously? What are they? Chopped liver? Why don’t the filmmakers celebrate the deaths as well? Oh, look! Dead heroes! Woohoooo!! Pop the champagne!!
*takes a deep breath*
As much as frustrating it is, the film’s a good reminder that every revolution demands sacrifice. The living heroes have it nicer. They live to enjoy seeing their causes becoming reality, unlike their dead predecessors.
Okay, I know how it sounds like. In reality, I am genuinely grateful of their heroic efforts. I really do. But, I also credit their predecessors for starting the movements. Without them, our living heroes probably wouldn’t have a colossal cause to fight for.
I believe franchises like Star Wars need prequels. They unveil the origin stories, show how everything started. If not prequels, at least insert fictional history lessons in the original stories. Don’t dwell too much on the present. Explore the past well.
If I dare to say this to some people, they would roll their eyes (and I hope they got stuck) and say profoundly pragmatic things like “why does it matter?”, “it’s just entertainment!” and “why can’t you just be dumbed down like us?” My respond would be this:
Why doesn’t it matter?
I have said this countless times before and I will said it again: I love lowbrow entertainment. I really do. I believe it’s morally and intellectually acceptable to unwind with pure escapism. But, indulging in escapism in your every waking second is self-destructive.
Sooner or later, you have to dwell on the inescapable reality. You are in it, whether you like it or not. This can be encouraged by inserting depth to popular entertainment, no matter how subtle it is.
In the case of Rogue One, it’s about knowing the Jedis’ earliest efforts (God, I hope I got the info right). You will never fully appreciate their movement (is that the right word?) unless you learn about the history.
You would learn how and why it started, about everything the movement went through and its evolution from then to now. The movement in its present form doesn’t tell you the full story and that can lead to ignorance.
The people. Don’t forget about them. You would also learn about the sacrifices they made. Be grateful that you don’t have to endure what they went through, that you can enjoy the privilege which weren’t available then.
I know, I know. Star Wars isn’t real. But, one has to acknowledge that it resembles real life phenomenons. Notice the parallel, immerse in it and we’ll be more insightful about our reality. Try harder and we can make our world a better place.
It seems my teenage idealism still lingers…
Oh and one more thing. My statement about esteeming heroes sounds patriotic. It can be applied to the context of fighting for national independence. But, that was not what I had in mind.
I was thinking about something more internal. The fight for more rights for the marginalised ones, honourable governance and even better living conditions. They may seem trivial. But, they also involve heroic individuals. In some cases, they do suffer from violence. Not all heroes are soldiers.
Admittedly, those internal issues can intertwine with patriotism as well.