December 19, 2016

Rogue One: The Perfect Prequel

I was born in the mid-70's so I grew up with Star Wars. My childhood was dominated by the films, and one year I remember waking up Christmas morning to find the lower branches of our tree decorated with several action figures. I loved Episodes IV-VI and have seen them countless times. As I grew older I came to appreciate that Empire Strikes Back was the best of the trilogy. I have no doubt that my love of Star Wars had a major influence on my choosing Information Technology as a career field.

When Episode I came out in the late 90's, I was finished with college and greatly looking forward to the new trilogy. I remember after having seen it that while Darth Maul was awesome, the movie lacked the same energy as the original trilogy. I still liked it, but not nearly as much a I liked the others. Then came Episode II and I was like "OMG WTF" because it sucked and to date I have only seen it one time, and that was in the theater. Episode III came around and redeemed the trilogy a bit because it got us to where we always knew it was going.

When news first broke that George Lucas had given up the Star Wars world to Disney first, I was on the fence. I knew Disney would market the crap out of it and try to cash in every which way, but they do have quite a knack for that sort of thing. I'm happy with their handling of the Marvel stuff. When it was announced that J.J. Abrams was going to do Episode VII, I was not that excited. I thought Lost was a horrible TV show because of all the misdirection with the writing, and I felt like his take on the new Star Trek series was good, but not great. After having seen The Force Awakens, my first impression was that I liked it but didn't love it because I thought it recycled too much. With repeated viewings I can now say I really like it, primarily because Kylo Ren is a great villain and the casting of Adam Driver turned out to be masterful.

When Rogue One was announced, I felt about the same way I did about J.J. Abrams doing Episode VII. I knew I was going to see it because it's a Star Wars story, but I was less enthused because it was a prequel and the problem with prequels is that you already know how they will end. 

Tonight, I finally saw Rogue One and loved it. I left the theater happier than I had felt about the prequel trilogy or The Force Awakens. If I had the Blu-ray I would have gone straight home and started watching again. This new one has a momentum about it that makes it better with each progressive scene. It escalates from start to finish and never lets up with action and surprises. The last two minutes are the most cheer-worthy thing I've ever seen in a Star Wars movie. Many people in the theater gave applause tonight.

After all this time, I can say honestly that Rogue One was the kind of Star Wars movie I've been waiting 30+ years to see.

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