space heroes and the story i've always needed ft. my tears // a rogue one review

7:00 AM


Listen up, nerds, 'cause I'm about to tell you all about my new favorite movie. (In a non-spoilery way! Yay!)

do you see how lovely this is? let's just appreciate it for a second.
Roughly a year ago, I wrote a love letter to The Force Awakens, the first installment of the newest Star Wars trilogy. Did I love it? Yes. At the time, I thought this would be the Star Wars we would get, and I was fine with that. 

What I did not know was that Rogue One would be coming out. 

I didn't know it was coming out until the trailer came out, actually, to which my reaction was MORE STAR WARS YAS because if you hand me allll the Star Wars I will be a happy squid. Star Wars has been a part of my life since I was very little; it introduced me to sci-fi and has shaped the things I've loved and the way I've grown up and the way my imagination has gone for years and years now. That love was renewed last Christmas, seeing TFA, which was just in time for Rogue One to enter the picture. 

I'll be honest, guys. I expected something Star Wars-y and spacey and explodey and entertaining. I knew the basic plot, the basic idea, I'd seen the trailer a few times. Some people on Twitter mentioned that there was pain and angst so I was prepared/excited for that as well. 

I sat in that theater and I bawled like a child for the last twenty minutes. And then I applauded. And then I hyperventilated, and went home with a new favorite movie. 

A new. Favorite. Movie. Of all time. (Listen to my words. Because I will scream  them always.)
Image result for rogue one gif
SO PRETTY.
To call Rogue One "a really good Star Wars movie" is not true, because it's a fantastic Star Wars movie. But it's probably more accurate for me to call it a DARN GOOD STORY. I've seen it twice already, and it's become something important to me, something I'm not quite sure how to describe. But...this is what I aspire to write. These are the stories I live for. Grit and people, ordinary people and the power of hope even when it's dangling from a fraying thread and being passed from hand to bloodied hand. It's a story plucked right from a few lines in the original trilogy, and it takes those lines, that potential and zooms in until we're up close and personal with what went down. It's tragic, yes. It's absolutely heartbreaking and made me cry and it's so deeply sad. And yet, at the same time...you leave Rogue One with this sense of hope. With something more and something stronger. 

This isn't a movie about the Skywalkers or Darth Vader (though he does make some kickbutt appearances) or #familydrama. This is a story about the everyday people of the rebellion. The background characters. The people in the wrong family at the wrong time and the rebels born into this fight and the cargo pilot and people of hope and faith who happened to be dragged into it by being on just the wrong street at just the wrong time. The people who stepped forward and did something so heroic that they made themselves extraordinary. 

Which is everything I live for, really. 
this is cassian and i am adopting him and you cannot stop me.
There's a certain irony to the fact that this is supposedly a filler film to keep us fed while we're waiting for the next trilogy installment; because they didn't need something to push a specific message, they just wrote a story. They wrote a story with real people and true themes. They wrote a good story, and good stories are true, and true stories are the most powerful ones because we recognize them. We all live with these senses of sacrifice and redemption and choosing good and the power of the ordinary people who take small steps that have to be done, because it's the right thing to do. We're coded to recognize that. (Which is kind of just the coolest, but that's another post for another day.)

Rogue One is a story about good, and that's something we desperately need right now.

There aren't any sexy cool sith lords to flail over, there aren't any Skywalkers who need a hand (SUE ME), there aren't any exploding Death Stars, there's not a cool lightsaber battle. It's dark and grimy and violent and bloody and unpleasant. But this is, first and foremost, a story about people who do right because it's right. Because someone has to do it. It's not about any one character's family or past or personal journey (hence all the people complaining about "not enough character development"). In fact...it's about how it's not about them at all. It's about taking the chances that come, and the next, and the next, and the next, until you're out of chances, and doing your best, and grabbing onto that little bit of hope that's always there. 

We need stories like this desperately. We need more heroes. 

Which, of course, is a perfect opportunity for me to scream about every single one of the heroes in this glorious trainwreck of an experience, because they're all beautiful and tragic and important in their own ways and I love every single one of them. Jyn doesn't need the "strong female character" idea to back her up; she's tough and vulnerable and messy and courageous and does what needs to be done without needing to make a statement about it. Cassian is an ode to the "ordinary" people who do the right thing every single day and do it quietly, consistently, bravely, with complete dedication and minimal angst. K-2SO is everyone's favorite salty droid who made the whole thing so much better while still managing to be very robot-like and glorious. Chirrut is essentially Space Daredevil and layered and interesting and sassy and GIVE ME MORE. Baze doesn't get enough credit -- we need forever and ever more praise for the loyal people who defend their friends unwaveringly and never get the credit for it. 

Bodhi Rook, Imperial cargo pilot and professional Space Nerd, who has done nothing wrong ever, in his life, anxious and terrified and shaking and stuttery and hardly able to stand on his own, who held the entire fate of everything in his uncertain hands and decided to do good when it was the hardest thing ever, is someone incredibly important to me.
do not talk to me do not touch me i am deceased for the rest of my life
"And what about that ending, Aimee? How did you feel about that ending? Did you have mixed feelings about that ending?" 

This is a non-spoilery review. 

(That ending means the world to me. That ending is crucial. That ending made the whole movie, the whole story what it is. And it couldn't have gone a better way for me. I am in awe.) 

Rogue One is a Star Wars story, yeah. 

It's also a human story. 

A story about heroes, and redemption, and sacrifice. 

A story about hope and how it passes from hand to hand, dangling on the edge, and yet always manages to stay there. 

It's a small sliver of time in a huge fictional universe and it's pretty breathtaking.


19 comments

  1. dude...I NEVER cry in movies, and this one had me sobbing like a little baby. when we walked out of the theater, my mom complained that she didn't like how it ended it--"it wasn't a happy ending," she said. but that's the thing. they won, but it didn't feel like they won. they hit rock bottom, and then gave us a small sliver of hope that we were all so desperate to hold onto. seeing that depicted through acting and spectacular writing is one of the best feelings ever--it's so beautiful to watch. 10/10 would cry over again.

    I also loved how nostalgic this movie was. when I was a kid, the Star Wars movies were the only VHS tapes we owned. we watched them over and over. I can follow along with A New Hope almost word for word, and rewatching those movies is like coming home. so to go back to the era of the Rebellion, to see similar fight scenes and just the whole vibe of the movie...it was like getting to be a kid again. and I loved that.

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    1. I haven't cried over a movie in so long and this one just hit me hard, man. (I've seen it three times. I've cried all three times. I have a problem.)

      I'm so, so in love with stories like this. They took something that could have been just depressing and tragic and turned it into something SO triumphant, so glorious, so hopeful -- because we know that WE WIN. Leia at the end is a strong reminder that it's not over, that the whole story that comes after it is one of hope and victory. (The title "A New Hope" is so much more powerful now, even.) It's a story about sacrifice and courage and heroes and we need that so desperately.

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  2. I DON'T EVEN HAVE WORDS TO EXPRESS EVERYTHING THAT MOVIE MADE ME FEEL. THIS POST DID A MARVELOUS JOB OF SUMMING UP WHAT I'M THINKING. Even though it was all explosions and action and sassy robots (the makings for any great movie), Rogue One is the most beautiful movie I have seen in a long time. It is inexplicably and astoundingly (also heartbreakingly) beautiful.

    Question: Have you ever heard of The Boxer Rebellion? They're a music group that I have been obsessing over recently. Especially Pull Yourself Together and Let's Disappear.

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    1. I haven't! I'll have to listen to them. ^_^

      I'm in love with this movie. Really, really in love with it. These kinds of stories are important.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your opinions and feelings. It's nice to know that they made the movie with an underlying theme of hope because that's such an important message.

    ~Musicgirl121

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    1. It's really the best movie. So important.

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  4. This review totally summed up every single one of my thoughts about this movie. I loved how /real/ this story is. We really don't see enough of that in the rest of Star Wars. Another fantastic post, Aimee!

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    1. There definitely is something so real about this story, and a good part of it is that it's honest. It tells the truth about people, about the world -- about how heroes exist, and do the thing even when it's so so hard, and how there is always, ALWAYS hope, even if that hope is hanging by a thread most of the time. One of the most powerful images in the movie is at the end, with the rebels literally passing hope from hand to hand in the nick of time, with all this sacrifice and future resting on the edge of a knife. So often, that's how it works, and it's that way because of heroes. Because of sacrifice. We desperately need to see more of that.

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  5. Such a great review. Rogue One is so different from the other movies for the very reasons you gave and I love it in a different way. It's less lighthearted and more violent, scary, and tragic, and it's true, that's what makes it more real. And when it's more real, it touches us deeper (don't even get me started on the ending though. THAT ENDING.) Also: the Easter Eggs. I don't think I've seen a movie with so many.

    Anywho: great job summing up all the feels for Rogue One. :D I couldn't agree with you more on all this. I think our world could learn so much from this movie.

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    1. It's SUCH a real movie, and I love it for that. We need more heroes. <3

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  6. YES TO EVERYTHING A;SLDKFJAS;DLKFJADLS;KFJ; <3 UGGHHHH

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  7. (There are probably spoilers here sorry)
    I loved this movie. I started crying just reading this, dude (that's probably not good, but oh well. I'm an emotional wreck whose childhood was shaped by this franchise). There isn't much I can say that you didn't, honestly, but the themes of sacrifice and hope in this movie touched me deeply. I've always had a soft spot for doomed background characters, too, and even as a kid I remember reading the novelization of A New Hope and wondering about the people who stole the Death Star plans.
    Lo and behold, a movie about them.
    And Bodhi. BODHI. He was my favorite. He defected from the Empire, was tortured by the people he was trying to help, and was terrified the entire time, but he kept going, fighting and ultimately dying alone for the rebellion. Every character was wonderful and compelling in their own way, really.
    I went home after I watched it and immediately turned on A New Hope. Rogue One really added emotional weight to the plight of the Alliance.
    I read something where someone talked about how the scene at the end when the rebel soldiers are desperately passing the plans from person to person as Vader (really awesomely) mows them down is kind of a small-scale picture of the entire rebellion. Padmé and the senators who supported her planted the seed of rebellion, and when she died Bail Organa (and many others) continued her work. The entire rebellion is passed from person to person, and (to quote Cassian), it's built on hope.
    Agh, I could talk about the movie forever. Anyway, it was just as poignant the second time I watched it, and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

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    1. I have the novelization on hold and I'm SO SCARED OKAY. So ready. And yet not ready at all. My gosh. Every quote I've seen from it (especially everything involving poor Bodhi, my gosh) has been gorgeous and made me want to cry.

      I totally haven't cried just thinking about this movie. Of course not. Why would you even suggest such a thing.

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  8. *Hamilton voice* one more thing
    In case you didn't know, the last line describing Bodhi's thoughts in the novelization was "He'd done enough. It was okay".
    That is all carry on

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    1. I DO NOT APPROVE OF THE FEELINGS YOU ARE MAKING ME FEEL.

      and yet, I need this.

      goodbye.

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  9. I swear you're making me want to watch the Star Wars movies for the sole purpose of being able to see Rogue One.

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    1. *chants* DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT

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  10. THE ENDING. YES. THE ENDING.

    Now that I've written up and posted my Rogue One post I'm allowing myself to read other's. You just put it so eloquently: this is one of the best films ever.

    Throughout the movie me, who loves to be extremely emotionally invested in every movie I watch, was disappointed I wasn't crying during the angsty parts and thEN THE ENDING HAPPENED AND MY SLEEVES WERE WET FROM TRYING TO WIPE ALL MY TEARS AWAY. I was bawling like a baby. The ending is literally the most beautiful thing.

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.