Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Lady Han Solo With Daddy Issues, or Thoughts on Rogue One

There are so many orphans, absent fathers and surrogate father figures in the galaxy far, far away that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) inhabits, a movie that finally ends 40 years of speculation on that pesky exhaust port.  English actor Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, the aforementioned orphan (well, technically she has an an absent father) who happens to be the daughter of the chief engineer of the Death Star, Galen Erso as portrayed by the inimitable Mads Mikkelsen.  She’s a scrappy space petty criminal with a heart of gold, and all she needs is a Wookie co-pilot.  There are sadly no Wookies in this movie but you do get a sassier robot than C-3PO with K2SO, as voiced by Alan Tudyk from Firefly and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010).  I don’t think I need to tease the plot any further, you’ve already seen this movie and it currently has a rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.
I would like to mention how nice it was to see Peter Cushing resurrected as Grand Moff Tarkin, hopefully Disney also gave him some digital cozy slippers.  Forrest Whittaker as Saw Gerrera, a cyborg with a Darth Vader-esque inhaler (there are also so many respiratory issues in this universe) is a kinder, gentler Immortan Joe, or perhaps General Grievous would be a better analogy.
Rogue One is a serious, darker, and more mature movie, a hard PG-13 (which I didn’t think was possible) that has none of the light-hearted, exhilarating adventure of A New Hope (1977) or even last year’s The Force Awakens (2015).  I suppose it's reflective of our decade and our contentious political climate, which is distressing, but then again I do tend to over think these movies.  I am happy to see Donnie Yen, the Iron Monkey (2002), as Chirrut Imwe, the blind Force Master, finally ending the confusing absence of Asian characters in Star Wars, despite the continual usage of Asian fighting styles, Asian sword play, Asian names (Obi-Wan Kenobi, seriously?), and the lamentable accents of the Trade Federation.
So much of the Star Wars universe has been established, every obscure character has been named, given a history and in many cases an adventure in books, graphic novels, videogames and fan fiction.  Maybe that means we may finally get that buddy comedy trilogy about space nerfherders that we never knew we wanted.
I do have to admit, while I follow Star Wars and speak it fluently, I’m more of a Star Trek guy; i find it has a more optimistic worldview.  Star Trek is based on science and essentially utopian, Star Wars is based on religion and is very dystopian.  Think about it, George Lucas literally wrote the template for the young adult dystopian fantasy.  Ok, he got the teen romance aspect completely wrong, but that’s the subject for another post.

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).