Monday, December 19

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

It was initially a surprise when I first heard there was to be an inter-episode Star Wars installment this year, but opening weekend has arrived and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has debuted. This chapter depicts the characters and events that directly precede those in Episode IV: A New Hope. There were some references to connecting events, and via the utilization of ever-improving computer generated imagery and compositing, there were even cameos by a few characters whose actors are no longer able to reprise their roles for one reason or another. Clearly, immense efforts were given by everyone involved in the production of this film, and those efforts are greatly appreciated. Visually, Rogue One fits exactly where its story does; vehicle and prop designs were more industrial and functional, akin to the original films, but there was still a wealth of imagination in everything from the massive starships to a simple communicator. Sound effects were equally appropriate, iconic, and were presented with such power as to be felt instead of simply heard. The worlds and their environments were beautiful and seamless. Diversity of life was everything one might expect in this galaxy far, far away; there were creatures and suggested cultures that were familiar, and some completely new. Indeed, the Star Wars universe keeps expanding. The characters in Rogue One were portrayed by the cast with expertise, and their stories were compelling. Humor was a welcomed virtue. The art of practical effects was very much alive and well before the camera; grit, sweat, slime, and animatronics were a few of the ways the details of this adventure gave it life.

Within all of this, and just as was apparent in Episode VII: The Force Awakens, cinema has been pushed to a level that stretches the simple vicarious experience and brings the terrible moments of war a little closer to each attendee. There is a consequence to the inundation of all media that depicts violence. What I've observed throughout my life is that many have become grossly desensitized to such content; they've come to find it pleasurable, or even desirable. It is by this dark side of the truth that most any meaningful messages within the entire saga are lost; philosophy and spirituality have all but succumbed to spectacle. Unfortunately, this behavior is far from being a new trend, as it's been known in human civilization since ancient times.

Orson Krennic: "...We were this close to providing peace... security for the galaxy."
Galen Erso: "You're confusing peace with terror."
Orson Krennic: "Well... You have to start somewhere."
- Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) and Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Star Wars has always had an overt theme of fighting to reclaim freedom, yet war can be completely avoided on the path to restoring balance, and therefore, peace. Films like these echo what is happening in the real world, and to what escalating ends the self-appointed elites are willing to explore in order to preserve their illusory authority. One needs not be Force-sensitive to discover the truth.

If we choose to partake in these types of cinematic experiences, we must focus on the positive messages they might offer. Great changes must be made by our species to achieve peace and freedom both, and those changes are synonymous with a path of simplicity and mutual growth; it's a path worth walking. Claudia and I share such a path, and we've known wondrous expansion throughout our journey.

This was certainly a different sort of chapter; the narrative focused far more on the fight than on philosophy, or the fabric of the universe and how me might interact with it. Therefore, as one who's grown up with Star Wars and has continued to find deeper meanings within it over the years, I've found Rogue One to be a valuable experience, but from a certain point of view. The sights and the sounds were of great magnitude, but we should repel the urge to be swept away.

Happy movie watching.
- Aaron -

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