“I know what I have to do but I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to do it.” It’s a Kylo Ren quote but as I snuggled in my blanket pile, finally watching The Rise of Skywalker, I felt it.
I felt it because I didn’t want to actually watch this stupid movie but I did, to finish the journey I started March of 2019. Welcome back to Star Wars Greyscale.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, Star Wars Greyscale is a challenge I set for myself last year. As someone who has been in love with Star Wars since I was 6, I decided to try to watch the series with new eyes. I watched the available Skywalker Saga films in black and white to find something new and see what else the movies had to offer. And I did. Long before The Rise of Skywalker, I made my peace with Star Wars. No more anger, no more theories, just appreciation. But more like every hero’s journey, I heard the call to action and accepted my fate, for better or worse.
Rogue One was the first time we’re truly journeyed out of the Skywalker Saga. While The Force Awakens does focus on new characters, the original movies still loom over them, exemplified by Kylo Ren’s dark figure. While the new trilogy never fully escaped their predecessor’s shadow, Rogue One gives us a taste of the galaxy outside of the Skywalker family adventures. We see rebellion, the Empire and most importantly, the people greatly affected by this war.
Rogue One is a thinly veiled World War II movie, with Galen as the nazi scientist who first tries to escape the Empire and eventually tries to make amends. Now, contrary to what some may say, Star Wars has always been political and certainly has always been a war movie. What interested me about Rogue One is that it’s the different shades of a WWII movie.
We start a common Spy movie plot: Find the defectors and their message. Use someone’s underground connections in hopes of leading us to the McGuffin. We even meet Cassian (Who is the best) in the crowded “streets” of some planet to meet a contact while hiding from Nazi- I mean, Stormtroopers. Heck, in Jedha, we literally see Stormtroopers in tanks while blaring propaganda! During the 3rd act, we have the big WWII scrimmage, with soldiers fighting in the sand and hiding behind whatever structures they have.
And yet, in the middle of our WWII movie, we still have Chirrut and Baze, essentially a Samurai and a Ronin. I can’t describe them any other way, that’s who they are. It helps remind us that we’re still in a Star Wars movie along with things like Saw’s entire aesthetic and the unfortunate Bor Gullet scene. Despite the serious tone the movie has, Chirrut’s faith in the force is taken just as seriously as Jyn’s faith in her father. It doesn’t feel like they lowered themselves to throw in some Obligatory Force Stuff in their War Movie but showing how important faith itself is in its different forms. To quote Sherpard Book, “I don’t care what you believe in, just that you believe”.
Unlike some other movies, it doesn’t force-feed us (Very Punny) the nostalgic easter eggs. I’ve seen this movie a few times but only noticed that Draven, a prominent character from the books, is there. Even in the dramatic reveal of Bale Organa and Darth Vader, it doesn’t feel like the writers are nudging us, whispers “IT’S THAT GUY!!” They do have those moments but hardly as many as….Others.
Also, this is the Star Wars movie with the most POC in it and I want more. We deserve more, dang it.
RAPID FIRE THOUGHTS!!
- Is this the movie with the most conscience traveling? Yeah, the other movies traveled around the galaxy but this movie really makes you feel it.
- This movies also has me curious about the “geography” of the galaxy because this is RIGHT before A New Hope and I’m wondering how those dudes got off Jehda and made it to Mos Eisley in time to see Luke and Obi-Wan
- K2-SO, Chirrut, and Baze are my favorites and I ugly cry when I watch their death scenes
- Alan Tudyk as K2-SO is amazing. I can’t believe that’s Heihei from Moana.
- I’m still not a fan of Jyn’s character arc. This movie works better if you pretend this is Cassian’s story. I know I sounded un-feminist right now but he has a more cohesive arc to me.
- I don’t think I’ve hated any Star Wars villain as much as I hate Krennic. Maybe Gunray from the Prequels but it was for a completely different reason. I totally cheered when he died.
- Also, Krennic’s clothes look like proper GI Khaki and wrinkly. I don’t know why I love that so much but I do.
- *Hugs Bodhi* I love you, my small bean….
- This movie has some structural problems and a bit of a slog to get through but considering I hated the villain and cried for 30 minutes, it does an amazing job at making me care about people I barely know. Bravo, team.
- Vader. That’s it. That’s all I got.
- My love of Saw Gerrera is a little concerning. Saw could have easily been an almost laughable character but Forrest Whittaker just kills it in the few scenes he has.
So that’s is for Rogue One in Greyscale! Tune in next time for my thoughts on Solo!