Rogue One Breaks Barriers, Leaves Fans Wanting More

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Melina Asteriadis

Fiona Sullivan ’18 is a fan of the Star Wars franchise.

In 1977, George Lucas released a science-fiction action film and began a franchise that would very soon skyrocket and make its way into movie stardom.

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope raked in a total of $775 million dollars in the Box Office, and the franchise so far has acquired over $6 billion dollars throughout its various films.

On December 16th, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released by Lucasfilms, becoming the latest addition to the series, and acting as a standalone film, taking place just before Lucas’ 1977 film.

Rogue One follows Jyn Erso, the daughter of the lead engineer who created the Death Star, in her journey to prevent the catastrophic consequences of the moon-sized planet destroyer.

Joining the Rebel Alliance, Jyn is accompanied by four other Rebellion members, consisting of a blind warrior and his friend, an Imperial pilot, and a Rebellion captain.

After finding out that Jyn’s father has planted a flaw within the Death Star, the group sets out to obtain the plans which hold the weakness that can destroy the Death Star. Following a difficult battle, the team achieves their goal, giving the Rebels a fighting chance against the Imperial Empire.

Similar to Episode IV, Rogue One’s theme is centralized around hope. Building on this idea, the film demonstrates how a group ultimately reaches their goal despite all odds against them, mirroring the first film of the original trilogy.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the film was director Gareth Edwards’ decision to cast a female protagonist.

Just like Princess Leia in the original films and Rey in The Force Awakens, Jyn acts as a stereotype-breaking heroine who acts as an inspiration to girls watching, by showing that they too can make differences in the causes they believe in.

“I think having a female lead was a remarkable decision by the producers in such a male-centered franchise.” said James Snyder ’18.

Likewise, Daniel Yoh ’18 said, “Having strong female roles does a lot for representation for women, and girls nowadays don’t get enough of that. They need inspiration to push themselves to be independent, and confidence to be able to shoot for what their heroines do in the movies or in books.”

In comparison to the casts of several other Star Wars movies, the cast of Rogue One is by far the most diverse. Consisting of a Hispanic, a Pakistani, and two Chinese lead characters, Rogue One pushes racial boundaries, which helps to promote equality in the film industry.

Yoh remarked, “I saw that the casting had diversity, which feels absolutely great, as representation is something that is needed more in films.”
There are mixed feelings about the computer-generated imagery (CGI) used in Rogue One.The film, unlike others before, used extensive CGI to mimic the faces of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Episode IV and the late Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin. Many complained about how noticeable the CGI was.

Fiona Sullivan ’18 said, “The CGI people were a bit much for me. I don’t think we are quite there technology-wise or ready for what they were trying to do.”

Sean O’Connell ’17 concurred and said, “Princess Leia’s face was really wavy. It made me uncomfortable, because of its uncanny feel.”

Others criticized the film’s use of CGI as immoral. Critics from the Huffington Post called the use of CGI “a giant breach of respect for the dead.”

Most, however, enjoyed the use of the advanced technology and the possibilities that it may have. Critics from the Wall Street Journal praised its use and said it “points the way to reanimating Hollywood.”

Snyder said, “I thought it was very cool how they used CGI to recreate the likenesses of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher.” Overall, Rogue One was received positively by fans and critics alike.

“I’m very happy with how this movie was handled, and with the final product. I absolutely loved the movie. I came in to see a great film about a regular group of rebels fighting for their cause, and I wasn’t disappointed at all,” Yoh said. “ The visual effects were on point, and the plot was concise and left no loose ends, leaving me satisfied and without questions by the end of the film.” Viewers were happy with the film’s original and unique plot.

Sullivan said, “I thought it was a very good film, and very well done. They did a great job creating an original plot and using different characters while tying it back to the original movie.”
Through connections to previous films, unique casting choices, an original plot, and a hopeful theme, Rogue One successfully leaves fans content and asking for more films from the Star Wars franchise.

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