I went and saw Rogue One last night with my husband. It’s always a bit interesting when you go and see a new Star Wars movie.
I was 11 when I saw A New Hope. I can still remember sitting astounded as the Imperial Star Destroyer seemed to fly directly over my head. It was a revolution in cinema. It had everything you could possibly want – the mysterious Force, a Hero, a Heroine, a Wise Old Man, a Dashing alternate Hero, a Big Hairy Not-Monster, and the cutest Robot/Droid ever.
I was not disappointed when The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi followed, but just saddened that it was all over after Return of the Jedi. Then came the news – The Phantom Menace was coming out. By that time I was a married adult, with children of my own.
It was an OK children’s movie, with the ridiculous Jar Jar Binks, a whiny Anakin Skywalker, and the wonderful Jedi, Qui Gon and Obi Wan Kenobi. It was OK – sort of, but again full of wonderful special effects for which I forgave the plot and George Lucas much.
But then came Attack of the Clones. Although it had Obi Wan Kenobi, clearly he’d been given some dreadful lines and some very poor Jedi abilities. And it had Anakin Skywalker again – this time older, but even more whiny. Seriously, the whinging in this movie, and the somewhat inexplicable, somewhat creepy Padme/Anakin thing – I struggle to call it romance.
Finally, there was Revenge of the Sith. Still whinging Anakin. Sigh… Look, it wasn’t as bad as Attack of the Clones, but who calls a character Dooku? Really? And Count Dooku to boot! I watched them, and to a certain extent enjoyed them, but while I’ve seen the first three multiple times, I really didn’t bother with the prequel-sequels again.
Then The Force Awakens came out. Yay! Things were definitely looking up. The plot clearly pandered to the original series tropes, but really, who cares? There was better acting. Once again, we had new actors paired with seasoned professionals, and there was also another cute droid, which is always helpful. I enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it.
And last night – Rogue One. Of course, to a certain extent we knew what would potentially happen, but we didn’t know how, why or who. It was a clever story, and much darker than most of the franchise. Not in an awful way, but clearly demonstrating the horrors of war and totalitarian regimes.
I haven’t enjoyed a Star Wars film so much for years. I’ve read critiques that disagree with me, but the majority of people seem to be on the same page as myself. I won’t go into spoiler territory, but suffice it to say that the film makers didn’t hold back at the end. Kudos to Alan Tudyk for avoiding the pitfalls of Jar Jar, while managing not to be Threepio.