A story of two battles

Written on 14 May, 2020

Watching films in bitesize chunks (which is often the case with things the rest of the family don’t want to watch) has one benefit: Sometimes I’m watching a bit I really like just when I’m in the mood for it.

When released, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story became my favourite Star Wars film. I’m not sure it still is, but it does remain my favourite outside of the original trilogy. Why? It’s the only modern one that talks to me now as an adult, not me as I was then.

That’s not a criticism of the prequel and sequel trilogies. Star Wars has always been, and should remain, something that attracts an audience including younger children (the original film has a ‘U’ rating in the UK despite its severed arm, destruction of a planet, and traumatic death). It just means now I’m not a child I prefer films that complicate their story with less ‘good v evil’ and more ‘People doing good things for sometimes complicated reasons’.

Before release, Rogue One underwent rewrites, extra shooting, and some re-editing; especially around the end of the film. Certainly there is a difference between the street-level, insurgent, battle on Jedha and the cleaner, brighter, space and foot battles during the finale. Does that signal a different hand guiding the direction, or is a deliberate choice to emphasise how the rebels have gained experience, resources, and organisation?

That’s not a question I’m equipped to answer; what I do know is I love both battles in their own right. The first puts you in the middle of the fighting; delivering a visceral experience. The second is built on spectacle and pushes you breathlessly through the finale and right up to the end credits.

Rogue One is a wonderful Star Wars film.