In defense of Rogue One
Once in awhile a movie comes out that makes me realize how much I loathe my fellow man. Usually it’s bad movie that everyone raves about, and I go see it and think “ was this all a conspiracy to get me to waste 2 hours of my life watching that piece of crap?” but this time it’s a really good movie that my fellow man has reacted to with a “meh”.
Again, this week I find myself defending something I would normally be on board with giving the finger. I’m not a Star Wars fan. At all. I liked the first three when I was a stupid kid and didn’t know any better. After I grew up and watched then again I said “these are awful”. I will admit a bias, because I don’t like science fiction newer than..oh…1978, because after 1978 they just became soap operas on a space ship, or sitcoms on a space ship, or dramas on a space ship. The imagination and wonder had been replaced. And by and large any sci fi script out there could have easily started out as a generic script for any other genre that they just changed the setting on. Other people disagree, other people like this stuff…fine. The point it I saw this movie because there was NOTHING else playing at the time I wanted to see a movie.
Rogue One falls squarely into the pitfall of “sci-fi” I was just bitching about. This could easily have been a WW2 movie about the french resistance. Change the empire to the nazis, her dad is working on the nuclear bomb, and Darth Vader is…I dunno… Rommel. BUT, as far as Star wars movies go…THIS was the Star Wars movie all the other movies were trying to be. It even made all the other movies better, because it solved, what in my mind, was there biggest flaw- the rebel Alliance being a bunch of wet ends who couldn’t “rebel” against a city ordinance violation”. Those people weren’t worth a crap. They couldn’t defend their home bass against a bunch of slow moving giant mechanical camels…and they had plenty of time to get ready. Rogue One solves that paradox. Every Rebel worth a crap was blow up.
The movie kept me very entertained for 2 hours. Yet somehow…the rest of you think it was “okay” or “meh” for reasons that irritate the sh*t out of me.
I hadn’t noticed until now, that you people all persist in acting like failed film students or some sh*t when you talk about movies. When did the “ending” become “the third act” among regular people with normal jobs? When did you start acting like you know jack sh*t about camera shots, character archs and “the journey of the character” When did regular, non creative professionals start refering to the story as “the narrative”. I don’t even like it when pros say stuff like that too me….”the narrative”…You mean the f*cking story?! do you realize how you sound? Unless you are actively, at the time you are speaking, pitching a film idea to a studio there is no reason to use that jargon other than as a verbal affectation, Do you not realize how pretentiousness you sound? Why do you feel the urge to use film making jargon, and view it through the eyes of a screenwriter? Why would you want to?! Can’t you just watch something and like it or not like it without sounding like some hipster douchbag at starbucks with a shitty slice of life script in the holster?
And when did you all decide that a formula was good?! And that a movie that doesn’t follow a “formula” is bad?! It’s the other way around. Don’t you get that you have been watching the same movie over and over and over and over and over? They change the names, actors, background, but the story is basically the same. Want an example? I can give you a hundred, but here’s one- Wonder Woman and Captain America are the same movie…right down to a deadly device having to be flown away by some hero.
In your hipster bitching you bemoan the lack of “character growth” or “character arc” in Jin Erso. “no emotional journey” “no background between childhood and adulthood” “what’s her motivation?” “where’s the character development?”. What the f*ck are you talking about? “Character development”? “character arc”?…that’s all a bunch of bullsh*t. People don’t change. Who in your life has changed? Really? No one. Maybe they get a little better or a little worse over the course of DECADES, but usually they just get dumber and slower and fatter. By return of the Jedi Darth vader should have been all like “again with the Rebels? Who gives a crap, my back hurts, what’s for dinner?”. Any change outside of that is formula grade a bullsh*t. I thought “art imitates life”. I thought that was a goal. For art, to in some capacity or facet, imitate life. That’s what this movie did in spades. Jin was the most believable 3 dimensional character in the Star wars universe and makes everyone in the other movies look like cartoon character.
Many of you don’t see this because many of you pay more attention to script formulas than the actual human condition. The events that happen to you between birth and age 7-10 form who you are in granite. If you could view those years of everyone you know, you would instantly understand them better than you do with all your combined knowledge of their adult life. How did she get captured? What crimes was she committing? That tells us nothing of who she is…We saw the most formative event in her childhood and that tells us the foundation for everything she is, and why she does everything.
Who she is, is clear from the start and she is consistent in her character and motivations. She’s a hot mess who never got over her dad being taken from her, everything she did in that movie was because she was a hot mess who never got over her dad being taken from her, and she died a hot mess who never got over her dad being taken from her. And that mirrors the actual human condition better than not only any star wars movie, it does so better than just about every drama made in the last 30 years. You throw out Citizen King and It’s a Wonderful Life, and I can’t think of one with a character more true to life.
She didn’t have any bullshit epiphany or cartoonish change of heart upon seeing someone else’s struggle, no absurd 180 turn when a pivotal event happens . Everything she did makes perfect sense from someone who went through what she went through as a child. Ask any psychiatrist or date a hot mess yourself…it all comes back to “Dad wasn’t around”.
How did she end up in jail? Dad wasn’t around. Why did she agree to help the rebel’s? They mentioned Dad. Why did she attack the Imperial base, to try to find Dad. Why did she try to convince the rebels to fight? Dad. Why did she go to attack the empire without the Rebel’s full help? Dad. When she met back up with Saw…what was she yelling at him about? She was yelling about him “abandoning her” …kinda like Dad, yes? The moment people point to as “inconstant”, when she risks her life to rescue the child in the middle of a gun fight…that child had been what?…the child had been “abandoned” You to bitch that the movie didn’t follow a structure? It followed a structure to a tee. The structure of someones actual personality as formed by childhood trama.
I thought this movie was great, and I though Jin was great. She was as believable a character as I can imagine. I’ve dated plenty of hot messes with daddy issues and I can tell you…
Hmmm…wait a minute…
What about this movie did I like exactly? I hate modern sci-fi…even good modern sci-fi…The action was so-so. The acting was…fine. The characters were…fine. Do I only like it because my own flawed nature leads me to this type of woman over and over and over and over. Am I railing out against people expecting a change in character/growth because I am refusing to change or grow? Did I just have an epiphany? I…need to sit down a second. Lemme think this through here. I don’t like star Wars. This movie wasn’t so good I should bother defending it. The only … wait…uhm…
…I need a drink.
What in my own childhood could have led me to be attracted to the same flawed type of personality over and over? …a little introspection might be in order here…because there is no real reason for me to like this movie so much, beyond that it may be clawing at something in my own…
No! Wait ! The robot was funny.
haha! “a fresh one”…that’s good stuff. I sure did like that robot.
When Douglas is not here, he and his work can be found at www.arseniclullaby.com
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