*Spoiler Alert: For anyone who hasn’t seen Star Wars: Rogue One*
Yesterday, December 27th, 2016 Carrie Fisher, the actress who plays Princess Laia in the Star Wars movies passed. It was also the day that I finally saw Rogue One, although I did not plan it out that way. I am not writing this necessarily as a movie review, although I will be giving my overall opinion of it. This is my telling of how the universe or “The Force” if you will, led me to finally seeing this blockbuster movie.
My birthday was the 17th of this month and our original plan was to see either “Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them” (that’s a long title) or “Star Wars: Rogue One”. My birthday is typically near the release of some awesome Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and it has kind of become a tradition to go to the movies to celebrate. Last year we saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and previous years we saw the Hobbit trilogy movies. In the pre-baby days we went night of my birthday, whether I had to work or not. Now we have to schedule it on a weekend and if we can find a baby sitter. This year I had a friend’s party to attend and circumstances did not allow me to go to the movies on my birthday, even though it was actually on a Saturday this year. We just put it on the back burner and decided we would go when the opportunity presented itself again.
Fast forward to December 27th. We planned to meet up with family and go out to eat. Each year my father asks for one thing for Christmas, which is to go out to a restaurant with his daughters and grandchildren. My parents also wanted to keep our son a little longer over the break. So when we parted ways it was just my husband and I. It seemed that the opportunity to finally go to the movies had presented itself again. We were low a cash post-holidays, but we remembered we had a gift card for Regal Cinemas on stand by. We did not have that theater where we live, but the city we met in for dinner did.
On the way I was still trying to decide which I wanted to see “Fantastic Beast” or “Rogue One”? I had heard equally positive reviews from friends for both. I have equal love for both franchises so this tough for me. I knew “Fantastic Beast” had been out longer and wouldn’t be in theaters for much longer. But I also didn’t know if I’d have another chance to see “Rogue One” before it was removed. I was told both were movie theater worthy, so I decided to just go and decide when I got there. When we got to the box office it was about 4:30 pm. There was only an 11:00 showing of “Fantastic Beast” (not even sure if it was pm or am) and a 5:00 showing of “Rogue One”. The universe had decided for me. It was even matinee so the gift certificate covered the cost of the tickets, with us only having to spend a couple dollars to get popcorn and soda. Although we had just eating, popcorn and a Coca-Cola are a must for us at the movies. We were ready, just us, to finally enjoy my birthday movie date.
Even though I had been trying to decide which movie I wanted to see, surprisingly, I did not search the internet for reviews. Maybe the business of the holidays kept me from it. But I didn’t know much about the movie going in. Before I talked to others, I wasn’t that excited about it because I thought it was going to be some rinky-dink spin off. Even in talking to friends they didn’t reveal much about the movie itself. I was wrong, it was not just a rinky-dink spin off. The one thing that caught my eye about the movie when I was trying to make my decision, was the fact that Donnie Yen, was in it. I loved him in the IP Man movies and knew that he would be great in “Star Wars”. There is always a snarky droid in the movies, in this case it was K-2S0. I couldn’t help but envision Sheldon Cooper, from “Big Band Theory” as he spoke. I was also excited to see Forest Whitaker in this movie. When the movie first started I was wondering where in the cinematic timeline did this movie fall. Was it after or before the events of “The Force Awakens”? Or maybe somewhere in between? It became evident as the movie continued that it was set in between the prequel trilogy and the original. When it started to be clear to me a tried asking my husband, but he only trolled me saying it wasn’t as revenge for talking to him during the movie. It was somewhat of a bridge that led directly to the events of “Episode I: A New Hope”. The epic battle scene on the beach seemed like what D-Day on the beach of Normandy might have been like. The most devastating part was to see Chirrut Imwe die. I just new IP Man would survive, at least. The biggest thrill of the movie was the appearance of Darth Vader, voiced by the original James Earl Jones, and to see him welding his lightsaber annihilating everyone in his path to grasp hold of the death star plans.
Hope was a theme that kept coming up in this movie. I believe it was done intentionally to create that connection to Episode I. But everybody gave everything in this movie, for hope. There could be no survivors if the events of the next movie in the timeline were to make any sense. The last scenes showed everyone grasping at straws to try to make the plan work. It was like watching dominoes, each fall giving way to another step. At the very end the plans narrowly escaped Darth Vader and reached Princess Laia, partially digitally portrayed by the ,on this day, deceased Carrie Fisher. It was at that moment that I realized “The Force is with me and I am one with the Force.”