Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rogue One Revisited

Rogue One is coming to the end of its theatrical run, and this makes me sad.  I’m enjoying it too much on the big screen.  Every viewing I’ve been to on this movie, and almost especially those in the last two weeks has been nearly sold out.  We actually got turned away from one viewing a couple weeks ago because it was sold out, and we ended up having to go to completely different theater.  I don’t think I’ve ever attended a movie this many times with full audiences every single time.  (How many times have I seen it, you ask?  Only eleven... which is not nearly enough.)


This movie has indeed become my favorite of the Star Wars universe films, for so many reasons.  It’s given me my undisputed favorite character from any of the movies:  Director Krennic.  Followed immediately by my second favorite:  Cassian Andor.  It’s the film to finally give me my nearly perfect SW universe character match (Cassian).  It’s got my favorite droid (K2SO).  I love every single character in this movie, except one (sorry, Lyra).  It’s rare that I want to be friends with movie characters.  That’s not my thing.  But I want to be friends and hang out with all of these people.  Even the tertiary and bit characters, like Blue Leader and Pao and Melshi and a couple other one-line pilots and Imperial officers and Admiral Raddus and and and...  I have ridiculous quantities of love for all of these characters.


I love the planets and the scenery.  I love the vast quantity of Stormtroopers on screen at any given time.  I love the ships.  I love the dialogue, the music, the costumes, the props, and every blooming thing about this movie.


And watching Rogue One remains the most amazing and unique experience.  I honestly am not sure I’ve ever sat through a movie quite like it.  What I mean by that is that the second half of the movie, from when the Rogue One team assembles and head off to Scarif, is one giant unstoppable emotional crescendo.  It never lets up and it never plateaus, it keeps building.  And building.  Just when you can’t think it can go any higher, it does, and then it does it again.  All movies build to their climax scenes, of course, but not sustained for this long.  There are little ups and downs.  Not in Rogue One.  There are no downs.  It goes up and up and up until you think it can’t go any higher, and then there’s the Death Star coming out of hyperspace, and then it leaps even higher with Vader igniting his light saber, and then it goes even higher when the Tantive IV escapes and we’re back in those bright while corridors where it all began in 1977, and then it impossibly goes even higher when Leia appears (and that's just the last fifteen minutes, it does that throughout that last hour).  My sister and I have run through every single movie we’ve ever loved, all the ones we've watched over and over in the theater before this, and we can’t find a single one that builds so steadily quite the way this one does, or one that matters emotionally to us as much while it’s doing it.  That is the key.  Movies are merely enjoyable popcorn fun unless they matter emotionally.  And this one matters emotionally on a hardcore level.

The sheer joy, satisfaction, and revved up energy I experience when coming out of the theater after a viewing of Rogue One feels like I've been launched to the moon.

Part of the joy of this one is also that it’s brought back an unexpected wave of nostalgia for the sheer wonder that was 1977.  I didn’t believe that could be possible.  All those childhood feelings, what it felt like to sit in the theater back then, the excitement that wasn’t just excitement for a cool new movie, but for a game changer.  Rogue One brought all that back, for both me and my sister.  It reminds me of everything I fell in love with Star Wars for in the first place.

And it has made me love the original Star Wars and Empire films with a renewed passion that I haven’t had in a while.  (Yes, I’m aware that I’m dating myself.  But I cringe every time anyone calls the first film “A New Hope.”  It was Star Wars when it came out and changed my life, and that’s what I will always call it, except under extreme protest.  It’s Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi.  End of story.  And Han shot first.)


This nostalgia is probably no surprise, as most of the people making this movie are around my age and went through exactly that same thing.  Star Wars means the same thing to them as it did to us.  My sister picked up the Visual Guide (which is wonderful), and the foreword by John Knoll could have been written by me or my sister.  We read his words and went Yep.  What he said.


I have my action figures, I have my t-shirts and sweatshirts.  I have books and magazines to pour over.  I have my wristbands with my favorite quotes. I even have my Rogue One Klennex box, which just might be the oddest movie merchandise ever but I love it.  It all lets me hang onto the movie high that Rogue One induced for a little while longer.


I have no idea what Star Wars VIII, or even next year's Han Solo movie will bring, but bring it on.  I prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around.  If only someone had told me back in the day, relax!  Star Wars will not only still be going strong thirty years from now, but if anything, it will be going stronger.

1 comment:

  1. Yes to all of that. Even to calling the very first movie just "Star Wars." (I tend to not do that on my blog, though, cuz of all the whippersnappers who might get confused.)

    My theater still has 2 showtimes this weekend. I am tempted to try taking a certain small and silly boy again.

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