The most recent Star Wars movie, Rogue One, is already on Netflix streaming. My husband is a fairly big fan of sci-fi in general and Star Wars in particular. He had already seen the movie when it was in theaters, but he was excited to watch it again, with me.
Sometimes when I watch action, or especially sci-fi, movies with him, I have a hard time staying interested and following along. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I am quite entertained. But occasionally, it’s a struggle. When I watched the first six Star Wars movies with him years ago, I was as least mildly entertained (more with the original three than the prequels…), so I had hopes that this latest movie would keep my interest.
A Slow Start
This could be just me and my non-action plot brain wiring, but I found the movie a bit hard to get into, initially. My husband can attest to the numerous times I had to stop it to ask, “Wait, who are these guys?” But again, this could have (and probably was) just me.
I’m sure it helps if the viewer is already quite familiar and in love with the world, as was presented in the other movies. This one starts just before the original three begin – so post-prequels, but before the adventures of Luke Skywalker. It follows this bad-ass space girl, who is actually a criminal with a sympathetically hard past, as she tries to get the plans for the death star in order to stop some terrible stuff from happening. That’s the gist of it, anyway, from my non-nerd mind.
By halfway through, I was much more into it. The story fell into place as the girl gets together a rag-tag team to go invade the place where the plans are. To me, it suddenly became much easier to follow along and make sense of what was happening.
The High Points
For one, this main girl, played by Felicity Jones, is super bad-ass. Don’t tell me, after seeing this movie, that Hollywood can’t make good roles for women actors or is all full of sex-symbol portrayal of women. Because this chick is a hero.
For another, it’s not a rosy-colored, all-is-well happily ever after. Instead, the characters must put their lives on the line – and I don’t want to give it away, but there’s some serious sacrifice for the cause going on here. It’s kind of nice that it didn’t fall into a predictable, everything ends okey-dokey story-line.
The other nice thing is that the main girl and the guy who gets closest to her don’t become the next sappy love story. They sort of become friends and then have a brief moment physical connection – I’m not even talking about some kind of make-out scene or anything; it’s more along the lines of, “We did it, and now crap’s about to get real. Stand with me and hold my hand.”(They don’t say that, but it’s the basic subtext.) It was kind of beautiful, just when I thought it was about to turn into a sap-fest.
Just violence, along the lines of the other Star Wars movies. With one exception:
My husband told me, as it was starting, that there was one rather morally objectionable bit right near the beginning (of course I then mercilessly joked about every random shot and how morally objectionable it was, until we got to what he was referencing… I really am no fun to watch action movies with, sometimes!). It’s basically this: one of the central characters kills a guy, at point blank range, when the guy is not suspecting it. It’s sort of “necessary” for the central character’s survival, but it feels very cold-blooded and morally cringe-y.
Other than that, though, it’s basically just blaster/light-saber/space-war killing, like the other movies contain.
On the whole, I found the movie fairly enjoyable, as far as sci-fi and action movies go. But I think a lot of legit sci-fi nerds would actually be a bit shocked that that’s as high of praise as I’m giving it. So if you’re already rather a fan of the genre, you’ll probably love it.