My Favorite Movies #94 – Rogue One

Rogue One - PosterRogue One

2016

Directed by Gareth Edwards

Netflix says… Before the events of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, the Rebel Alliance enlists a team of rogue fighters to steal plans for the Galactic Empire’s new space station — a powerful superweapon called the Death Star.

I mentioned that last week’s movie, Star Trek: First Contact, was kind of hard to get into without a working knowledge of at least the Next Generation branch of the Star Trek galaxy. And I’m pretty sure I stated that, with Rogue One, you’d have similar difficulty if unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe. That being said… here we go.

  • We open on a planet that I’m sure has a name because everything in Star Wars has a detailed back story.
  • Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) and his family are living on some kind of farm when they begin to panic after some imperial visitors drop in without calling first.
  • The villain of this particular story rears his head.
  • Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) wants Galen and his family to accompany him so he can continue his work on a weapon.
  • Erso’s wife is killed in a scuffle, but their daughter, Jyn, escapes.
  • She’s saved and basically raised by known rebel, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker).
  • Years later, Jyn (Felicity Jones) is in imperial prison under an assumed name. She’s broken out of prison by the Rebel Alliance because of who her father is.
  • They want her to help them gain audience with Saw, who they believe to be an extremist, because he has an imperial pilot who has defected. This pilot has a message about a super weapon from Galen.
  • Sounds more complicated that it really is.
  • Or maybe it’s just as complicated as it sounds…
  • Jyn accompanies Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and a reprogrammed imperial droid, K-2SO, to Jedha, where Saw and his rebel cell are hanging out.
  • What Cassian doesn’t reveal to Jyn is that he has orders to kill Galen if he has the chance. Galen, no matter what side he’s on, is too dangerous to be left alive.
  • Jyn manages to speak to saw and gets her hands on the holographic message that her father sent through the defecting pilot.
  • Galen informs Jyn of a defect in the Death Star, which will give the Rebel Alliance an opportunity to destroy the super weapon.
  • This leads Jyn and a small band of rebels to a planet called Scarif, where the Empire stores all of their dirty little secrets.
  • It’s a suicide mission, but they disobey the Alliance’s powers that be and go to Scarif anyway.
  • After the kind of action you expect from a Star Wars movie, the good guys manage to get their hands on the Death Star plans and transmit them to the Rebel fleet in orbit.
  • All of the main characters end up dying. So it was definitely a suicide mission.
  • And in the end, we get to see Darth Vader go all Darth Vader on the rebel soldiers who are desperately passing the plans on to the ship that is carrying Princess Leia at the start of the original Star Wars film.
  • The Darth Vader scene is probably just fan service… But it is pretty awesome to see him cut loose.

This isn’t the only Star Wars film on this list. But it’s the only one made after 1983 to make the cut. I love that there are genuine consequences for our heroes this time around. They don’t just go on a suicide mission and everyone lives happily ever after. They have to sacrifice themselves for the good of the Rebellion. And it was great, also, to see the dirty side of what the good guys have to do. They’re fighting a war. Just because they’re the good guys doesn’t mean they’re always going to do what’s considered right. Sometimes, for the greater good, bad decisions have to be made.

Come back next week for a movie that’s a lot more accessible for the average viewer: Fools Rush In.

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