Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wants to politicize you. The Rebel Alliance is a group of marginalized people of all colors. The Galactic Empire is wildly privileged and majority white male. Written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, the film is clearly offering commentary on uprising against imperialism, similar to the 1977 original — and if you don't believe me, Weitz tweeted after Donald Trump won the election, “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization." My response below:
Directed by Gareth Edwards, the Disney film is one of the most spectacular sci-fi flicks in recent years — or, I should say, the last hour is one of the most spectacular sci-fi flicks in recent years. There is a full hour you must endure of overstuffed exposition, exhausting intergalactic dialogue and sleep-inducing character building. You have to pay your cinematic dues for Rogue One, but it’s worth it.
This film didn’t want to just entertain, but also make you think — clearly with the limitations of any Hollywood film. I tolerated the first two acts (even if a good thirty minutes could've been cut), because the payoff was a third act packed with breathtaking special effects, awesome fight sequences, classic one-liners, fan nostalgia and a crowning ending.
Rogue One is centered around Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, a member of the Rebel Alliance who has a complicated past with the Galactic Empire. Backed up by a crew of characters (who are more engaging than Jones), the mission is to steal the design for the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, the Death Star. Once the crew is on their mission, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes off into high orbit.
Like any beloved franchise reboot, you have to satisfy fans with nostalgia. When the legendary Darth Vader blessed the screen, still voiced by James Earl Jones, the audience I saw the film with went wild. He is one of the baddest villains of all time and although you hate him, you root for him to kick ass. C-3PO, R2-D2 and Princess Leia all made appearances. When Miss Leia appeared, a woman behind me yelled, "There she go!"
Star Wars is American culture, one of the first action films to mesh fantasy, politics, war and entertainment. While there is no comparison to the original trilogy, the franchise’s first stand-alone film delivers — and, as we rebels prepare to fight the empire of Trump, it’s more pertinent than ever.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.
Watch how some celebrities are already cozying up to Trump's evil empire with BET Breaks above.
(Photo: Jonathan Olley / Lucas Film)