The Rogue One Effect: Conversations on Leaving the Multiplex
For every 10 people coming out of the cinema proclaiming praises for the most recent Star Wars installment, there's always that one person who leaves still with apprehension. This conversation is about one of them: a post-Rogue One reaction from a non-Star Wars fan.
N: What did you think?
C: It's okay. What did you think? Knowing you you probably hated it.
N: Best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back.
C: You're not pulling my leg?
C: There has to be a 'but' here somewhere.
N: None I can think of.
C: Do you think it's a good movie?
N: Not really.
C: Aha. So why not?
N: I don't care for any of the folks. Only one I cared for was the robot—he was funny. Don't care for the plot; all I remember is how hard it was to do a massive upload—that felt true-to-life. I have to go home and try upload a big file myself so I feel their pain.
C: How about the special effects?
N: They were aight.
C: They weren't stupid-looking.
N: They're still stupid. Spacecraft don't make sounds traveling through space, or corner like racecars. Lasers don't stop at three feet in length and buzz like swords. To destroy a planet takes more than a glorified LED lightshow, and the destruction wouldn't look like that.
C: Beautiful effect though.
N: Interesting that the two most beautiful shots in the movie involve the killing of millions, maybe billions. They could go anywhere with that but they just left it there for us to enjoy—and that I found obscene.
C: Anything else you didn't like?
N: You need a man to work for you and you kill his wife? Great motivator, wonderful leader. Likewise, you know they'll finish the superweapon without you so you design a flaw—and then have your secret deposited in a flash drive in a high security data bank? What happened to Twitter?
C: Maybe they don't have the app. Sometimes the tech onscreen is beyond anything we have, sometimes looks like it came from the '70s.
N: Weird. Only liked Blade Runner so-so but the film did this much right; it mishmashed different time periods, so a wooden upright piano stood beside a state-of-the-art photo scanner, and a bicycle rode away under the takeoff of a VTOL spinner. If you want to credit them with this much intelligence, they opted not to pin down their world's tech level, so it feels timeless, it's part of the film's look and style. Star Wars? Pfft. Totally clueless. The Imperial corridors still look like Nouveau Sheet Metal Grey.
C: Maybe that's the point: the Empire is ugly and soulless.
N: Then why did it acquire so much power? It's not just that dark whateverside that is; there must have been something appealing about the Empire for so many folks to support it, otherwise it would've gotten nowhere. Think Nazi Germany. Think Duterte. Think Donald Trump.
C: Don't go there, I'm sick of the—
N: Not talking about it won't make it go away. Anyway that ending: they go through all that trouble to do an upload and the info ends up in yet another flash drive? Couldn't the ships in orbit just transmit the data straight to HQ have em send ships at that big watermelon and blow it into a million peaches? Why go through all that with a second flash drive?
C: Because if they didn't there wouldn't be the original Star Wars?
N: It's like with The Lord of the Rings: Once they realize the ring was bad, why not give it to one of the eagles, make em do an end run straight to Mount Doom? Because we wouldn't have the trilogy, or nine hours of Peter Jackson jerking himself off (I think 12 with the director's cut). It's just one more elaborate scam to waste all your hard-earned money.
C: You bought our tickets.
N: That's different; I'm writing an article. It's job expenses.
C: You ever going to get reimbursed?
N: Funny. You funny guy.