(Warning: spoilers ahead!)
The release of Rogue One on December 16, 2016 brought a frenzy of Star Wars enthusiasts to the theatres. With (over) $200 million in profits, Rogue One was among the few movies that stood out in 2016. A diverse cast, excellent CGI, and special appearances from original Star Wars actors and actresses are a few of the many reasons it became notable. On a scale of one to 10, it gets a seven from me.
The movie begins with a young Jyn Erso running to her home located in rural Lah’mu. She spots an Imperialist who has come to take her father, a former scientist, away to work on the Death Star, a planet killing device they hope to unleash on a planet. At this stage, she has no knowledge that this will happen, as she is still a child. Her parents attempt to send her away to a bunker, though she decides to stay and unfortunately bears witness to her mother’s execution. She is raised by one of her father’s military friends who trains her in skills such as hand-to hand combat and weaponry.
When the viewer sees Jyn grown up, it is clear that she plays the “damaged” card to a weird degree. It’s understandable with her childhood, but she quite literally makes no attempts to form a relationship with someone, human or not. Emotional expression is another area that was lacking in context. Jyn rarely smiles or shows physical affection throughout the film, giving off a cold and unwelcoming demeanor. She displays selflessness and care only in scenes such as when she saves one of her companions during a siege. Snapshots of life in a regular society conclude that war is spreading rapidly throughout the Galaxy, with a siege or a shootout happening far too often. Conflict without too much resolution is a widespread theme throughout the film.
This is the part where the film dissolved into bizarreness because it goes from her living a happy, peaceful life as a child with her family to being a sulky, stubborn, and overall senseless criminal in less than five minutes. There is very little information on her upbringing, so we don’t know what caused her to turn out this way. “‘A New Hope’ is the story of a boy who grows up in a tranquil home and dreams of joining a war. What if we have the story of a girl who grows up in a war and dreams of returning to the tranquility of home?” wrote the director Gareth Edwards during an interview with the New York Times. Jyn grew up with the knowledge that war was happening, and constantly longed for her parents once they were taken by the Empire.
Towards the end is where points were regained, with appearances from the original Princess Leia and Mon Mothma among others. Photo and sound effects were at their peak performance when highlighting the final battle for the Death Star’s destruction. After a long, hard- fought fight, Jyn and her fellow soldiers die from the Death Star weapon, leaving the viewer with hope for the future once they see that Princess Leia received the Death Star’s plans that expose its weakness.