When I first met my husband, hell, even when I married him, I had no idea he was such a huge Star Wars fan. While I knew he loved the series, it wasn't really until Disney bought the franchise that he began the geek out. So probably needless to say at this point, I saw Rogue One, the newest installment in the Star Wars world, this past weekend.
I've always been a Star Wars fan as well, but not to his level. Lately, Star Wars always seems to be on in the background when he's home. But I grew up watching them, and so I was really excited about the Force Awakens when it came out last year. I wasn't so much about Rogue One. While not technically a prequel, it is a precursor to events and ties in so well it is effectively a prequel to the Death Star plot line. And even though as a writer I've written my own prequel, I do have a hard time getting excited about them. But when I saw the one line played many times in commercials leading up to the release, when Jyn Erso says, "Rebellions are built on hope!" I was so sold. It's been a bumpy 2016 for our country and I am feeling entirely rebellious.
What I liked: Once again, Disney (and the franchise itself) has no problem with women characters being strong and self-sufficient and having full agency over themselves. The fact that the two newest movies feature females as the main protagonists and so many geeking out men didn't bat an eyelash, makes me supremely happy. Girl power!
Felicity Jones. I love her. I want to see more of her. There was not one moment while watching her that she was anything but Jyn Erso to me. Her physical and emotional responses were lively, deep, and wrought with fiery emotion, while other times it was more nuanced within the glimmer of her eye. She's angry but vulnerable. More than anything, she's inspired. I got just as much delight seeing her deliver the, "Rebellions are built on hope!" line watching it in the movie as the first time I saw it in a commercial. Having more context just made it better. Sometimes scenes that seem momentous in trailers don't pan out in the reality of the scene, but this one did for me.
Apparently, certain scenes that depict rebel alliance characters from the original movies were actually from never before seen footage. And yet, it was seamlessly woven in. My husband and I discussed the presence of the characters and the possibility they were other actors who looked liked the originals as we were leaving the movie. Yet, it turned out it was actually them!
The story stood on its own despite the audience knowing where it was headed. The relationships between the characters truly came to life. K-2SO, the reprogrammed imperial droid that pals around with our main gang, is by far the best comic relief from a droid ever with his charmingly honest at times, Sheldon Cooper-like responses. The relationship between Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus was one of my favorites. I loved their banter, their obviously loving back-having support. It reminded me a bit of the brotherly bond between Luke and Hans. My husband, though, wondered if perhaps they weren't gay, which has apparently been a topic discussed, at least by Comicbook.com. If they were, more props to the film for integrating diversity, but whether it was a brotherly bond or lover's bond, it was touching.
The battle sequences were epic. I nervously gnawed at my nails while not a moment was wasted of onscreen time. And the Darth Vader scenes were pretty wicked.
What I didn't like: The CGI for Grand Moff Tarkin was a bit funky looking.
It was sad. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of hope. But it was also sad. Sniffle.
Disney's Bad Rap
I am sick to death of articles destroying time-loved classics because of the argument that the princesses in them were repressed or the film itself wasn't feminist enough. One writer—and I wish I could find the article—put it into perfect perspective. And the gist was that Disney has evolved as much with the times as society itself. So if Snow White was a lovely, caterwauling princess, who liked to cook and clean to earn her keep, let's take a look at the era in which it was first made: 1937.
So in my defense of Disney and the heroines that have evolved over years, just like women and men have evolved themselves, here's a list of positive articles detailing the weaknesses AND strengths of Disney princesses:
Disney Heroines: A Feminist Evolution, Part 1: The Classics
Disney Heroines: A Feminist Evolution, Part 2: The Princesses
The Truth About Feminism and Disney Princesses
Disney Princesses Are My (Imperfect) Feminist Role Models
4 Ways the Disney Princesses Created Modern Feminism
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't point you toward Whitney Avalon's amazing rap battles. Snow White v. Elsa is my absolute fave. Regardless of who wins, they both rock it. And of course, the big Buffy fan that I am, Cinderella v. Belle is also is amazing.
K.M. Randall writes fantasy and paranormal for both a general and young adult audience. Her debut novel, an epic fantasy called Fractured Dream, launched in June 2014, and her second book, The Reaper's Daughter, launched May 2015. Randall also published Fairytale Lost, a prequel to Fractured Dream, as an exclusive on Wattpad. She blogs about dreams, female heroines, and activism and its relevancy to the literary and fictional world. And when in the season, sometimes she just likes to talk about Halloween. She is currently hard at work on the second book in the Dreamer Saga series, Shattered World.