The saga of the Space Piñata.

I finally saw Rogue One. (Maybe some minor spoilers plus a minor rant ahead.)

Look, characters make stories. Plot is fine and good and it needs to have its own logic and make enough sense for your characters to accomplish the Thing they need to accomplish. But it doesn’t need to do much more than that. Even in hard sci-fi where you have strict ground rules to follow and likely loads of explanation, audiences still ultimately want to see how the characters deal with their fantastic worlds and extraordinary circumstances.

The story of a moon-sized space pinata we’ve seen explode at least three times is only compelling if the characters make it so. Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca – after those movies I wanted to go off and have adventures with that motley bunch of rebels. I didn’t care about the logistics of Death Star flaws or whether or not a moon sized base can have hyperdrive. I cared whether Han got out of his bounty. Whether Luke ever manned up and figured out the force. Whether Leia could find a place in the rebellion and fight to avenge her lost homeworld. Whether Chewbacca used conditioner or not. That’s compelling storytelling (well, maybe not the last one.)

What isn’t compelling is wooden characters facing dire threats which are over-explained at the expense of their own development and who are stymied by attempts to attach them to an earlier, greater glory. Force Awakens had this same problem, but worse.

To date, I’m not inspired by any of the characters churned out by Disney’s run of Star Wars. There are quite a few “almosts” but no real delivery or connection. Finn, Rey, could have been amazing characters if they weren’t overshadowed by a story that wasn’t theirs and the bulk of the screen time devoted to nostalgia. (People that bitch about Lucas remastering the original trilogy should have similar gripes about Force Awakens…) In Rogue One, K2-SO, a robot, was likely the best of that bunch.

All I’m saying is there is a legacy and they simply can’t live up to it. Knock off the plots tied to and mimicking scene for scene the originals. Lighten up on the cameos (and for fuck’s sake, don’t resurrect people from the dead with CGI .) Star Wars encompasses an entire universe of ideas. There’s no excuse for not exploring it to its fullest.

Categories: Geekery, Reviews

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