Saturday, January 14, 2017

Point of Personal Privilege: The latest "Star Wars" Movie.....

First, a message to those who don't know me that well: I am a huge fan of the original Star Wars films.  And by "original" I mean the versions that were released over the six year period 1977-1983.  Those are the ones I went to see in the theater multiple times each, the ones I first owned on VHS, and the only ones I really acknowledge as "Star Wars" films.  I don't really mind the "Special Editions," otherwise known as "George Lucas getting bored and going back to 'fix' things that weren't broken," except when they actually change the original story (Han didn't just fire first- he was the only one who fired.  He killed Greedo in cold blood.  Period.)  I skip over the "Han confronts Jabba" scene added to the original because it's not necessary and stupid and it didn't appear in the version I saw in the theater in 1977.  But I'm starting on an old rant, and that's not the point of today's blog post.

The prequels were just garbage, and better forgotten.  However, I do have to mention them today in reference to the film I saw last night:  Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story.

Here's what I have to say about Rogue One:  It was reasonably well-acted, the special effects were not overwhelming, and unlike the prequels and Episode VII it was not an  over-the-top bastardizations of the original series.  There were nods to the original film but they were subtle, not insulting, and they reminded me of my childhood rather than attempt to rob it like Episodes I-III and VII did.  The CGI was toned down and the characters were more in focus than in any Star Wars film since the originals (the most remarkable CGI was not used to create the battle scenes, which were obviously but not obnoxiously an homage to the final battle in Return of the Jedi, but in the recreation of the Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher characters, which were not insulting or overbearing, but welcome and seemed natural.)   I don't know if I want to see Rogue One again, but I know I didn't leave the theater disgusted and angry like I've pretty much gotten used to since 1999.  I felt like I had watched a film made by people who really cared about the Star Wars legacy and were not JUST looking to squeeze another billion dollars out of the concept.

In fact, I'd say that an appropriate working title for the film might have been Rogue One:  A Missed Opportunity, because this film would have served as a far superior alternative to the putrid mess dished out to us as Episode III back in 2005.  It takes us right up to the minute the original Star Wars films start, which brings me to my only real quibble with a film I thoroughly enjoyed (I have to do some complaining, right? Well, here it is:)

Just before the end of the film, we see Darth Vader enter the rebel ship and effortlessly deflect the blasts of a dozen or more lazers with his light saber.  He basically single-handedly invades the ship and wipes out the defenders.  But in the original Star Wars which picks up minutes or maybe hours later, Stormtroopers have to fight their way into the rebel ship, losing a significant number of their own before overpowering the rebels, and only then does Vader enter.  If Vader was capable of wiping out the rebel defenses and capturing the ship without sacrificing stormtroopers, why didn't he just do that the second time around?  I can only guess the reason:  the makers of Rogue One needed to show Darth Vader using his lightsaber strictly for Fanservice.  Oh well, can't have everything.....

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