OK so I saw Rogue 1. To me it was one of the best Star Wars movies ever made, up there with The Empire Strikes Back. In the specific, it was a sci-fi war movie – pure and simple. And it showed what usually happens in war – where people usually end up dead.
It had every potential to be terrible – a movie-length back-story that explained a specific plot-point in the original 1977 Star Wars. That’s where fan fiction and ‘completist obsessives’ usually go. But it wasn’t – it had a sharp story, a tight plot, and the special effects were excellent.
What gave it the edge, for me, was that it showed the Force as an act of faith, and had only one scene with light-sabres.
That whole aspect of Star Wars has always been unappealing to me, for a lot of reasons. In the original movie, I understand Lucas used light-sabres because he was making a homage to the golden age of Hollywood adventure film with swashbuckling swords. And as it was sci-fi – well, why not have laser swords? That worked cinematically – no question, it was wonderful stuff. But as a story device? I know the Force is meant to let its practitioners use the light-sabre to deflect laser beams. What about artillery? Or the Death Star’s superlaser? If the Force is mediated by physicality – as was explained – it must have limited energy-handling capacity. “And that, your honour, is why I bought my BFG 9000 to the sword-fight…”
I never liked the Force anyway. It was unsubtle: a black-or-white metaphor for the human condition that was progressively given physical reality as the movie series progressed. In the original 1977 movie it was, at least, never explained – allowing the audience imagination to work and giving it a dimension of the unknown, which is great for stories.
But it still produced some stupid plot turns – especially the moment in the
first fourth [sic] movie of 1977 where Luke turned off his targeting computer and trusted the Force to hit a small target. Uh – really? That targeting computer was designed to hit small targets. Even in the mid-1970s, there were military targeting computers that had that capability – laser-guided weaponry was developed for the Vietnam war, demanding a bit of processing power behind them. You’d expect a tech well in advance of ours to be able to do way better.
Wouldn’t it be better for Luke to have self-doubts about doing the strafing run in the first place and relying on the Force to provide him moral guidance and wisdom?
Or maybe that’s just me.
As for Rogue 1? More please.
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about this sort of thing, what I’m doing, get some top writing tips, and a lot else, sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cyvV9H – it’s free.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2017