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The Star Wars magic is muted but not gone: While We’re Waiting

Last night I went to see Star Wars with the one and only Brian Spaeth. We sat in the comfiest of theaters down in Valley View with huge anticipation. Before I get to that, however, let me tell you about Patreon. You know this story, but we have a new twist. There are some t-shirts getting made for Patreon patrons of a certain level. If you go support and get to your second month at that level, you too can get a t-shirt that nobody else gets. Also, our Patreon supporters got their own private chances to win Terry Pluto’s new book aside from the rest of you. So really, it’s not a question of whether you should support on Patreon. You really can’t afford not to!

Rogue One feeds the Star Wars beast and signals the end of the light-hearted novelty…

When I saw The Force Awakens it was special. In many ways it felt like a return to the first time you ever saw a Star Wars movie. The idea that you ever get to do something for the first time twice is counter-intuitive, but that’s what made The Force Awakens so special. It was the first film after Disney bought the franchise and it was the first foray into brand new territory in a post-George Lucas world. It wasn’t perfect, but it was damn close. We saw Leia, Han, Chewy, and were launched back into the universe with new captivating characters like Rey and Finn. J.J. Abrams captured all the magic and fun of the originals, even if it did capitalize on the previous material like a new hit song that steals the very drum beat of “Hey Ya!”

Rogue One was never going to be like The Force Awakens. It wasn’t meant to be. If The Force Awakens was the fun, light-hearted Iron Man, Rogue One is the more pointed and serious Captain America. That’s not a bad thing, but it just goes to show that the playbook is going to be varied in this brand new Star Wars future. While the larger narrative will always retain some Star Wars elements, the tones will apparently be different. The real question I have is whether there will be a Star Wars equivalent to one of its pre-show trailer counterparts, Guardians of the Galaxy. Also is there an R-rated Star Wars in the Deadpool vein? I digress.

Rogue One is a Star Wars film to its core, but it’s not the same PG-13 Star Wars experience that I knew would play just fine with my five-year-old a year prior. My son might be six now that Rogue One is out there, but after seeing it, I think it’s meant for older kids. It has a much more pointed plotline playing on the politics and dynamics of the pre-New Hope universe that led to Luke Skywalker versus the Death Star. The whole time I watched this film I wondered how it would play for my first grader who is scheduled to see it at a birthday party over the weekend. I’m guessing he’s going to enjoy it because it’s Star Wars, but he’s never going to request to see it again (and again) like he would The Force Awakens.

It’s an interesting time to be a Star Wars fan because we knew this was going to happen. You can’t make a continual habit of revisiting a universe without cheapening the emotion of arriving back there. There had to be a comedown from The Force Awakens, but I had no idea just how much of a reality-check Rogue One could be until I saw it.

Rogue One was downright gritty and dirty. Where previous Star Wars films felt like there was a clean sheen over them, this one felt like it was soaked in Dagobah juice. Felicity Jones was great as Jyn and credit to the Star Wars team for doubling down on strong female characters in the first two movies of the Disney era. This universe always felt like a place where strong women could thrive, even if it did feature a half-naked Princess Leia at the beck and call of Jabba the Hut in the original trilogy. And (spoiler alert) she gets her revenge on that oversized Fraggle. In the Star Wars world with Rey and now Jyn, it feels authentic rather than some cheap nod to “grrrrl power.” Even with the feminine energy, however, the grit and dirt of Rogue One was overpowering.

At its core, Rogue One is a war movie about a militia. Even more than the original trilogy marking the rise of the rebellion, this movie gives voice to the politics of the rogue nature of the rebellion. They’re clearly the good guys, but even with the moral high ground, the implications of war smack you in the face frequently throughout this saga.

In the end, we were back in Star Wars, and they shoe-horned some nods to the universe almost to annoying effect, but this one felt far different. It wasn’t like the magic feeling of seeing Han Solo again. The actual plot was far too dark for that from beginning to end. That’s o.k. of course, but it was a smack to the face of what this Star Wars universe is to become. Rogue One is a dark military tale at its core. It won’t be as universally loved as The Force Awakens and I’m guessing that’s just fine with the Star Wars execs and director Gareth Edwards. They’ve got plans for the biggest movie universe in the history of entertainment, and it’s going to take a lot of breadth to fill as many lanes as it seems they’re intent on filling.

Song of the week is a re-run…

While I was talking about the Star Wars movie, all I wanted to listen to was Los Campesinos. Naturally, I picked Hello Sadness, and as I was typing this very end section, my favorite song came on. It’s To Tundra.

  • mgbode

    I bookmarked this for reading after I see the film next week, but I did get to this line:
    fun, light-hearted Iron Man

    I know the general consensus is that Iron Man is this way, but I have
    never viewed it as such. Sure, there are more snarky lines. But, we’re
    talking about a film that starts with a person being captured and
    tortured in a cave, kills everyone to escape, then slowly descends into a
    paranoid madness that almost ends all of humanity (Ultron) before
    sparking a war between the supposed heroes when who knows what evil
    monsters were plotting (Civil War).

  • Natedawg86

    I will assume this comment section will be SPOILER FREE:
    I saw it last night(9pm) with the kids (kindergarten/2nd grade). I really enjoyed it and thought it really tied some of the other movies together well. I don’t think it is not meant for younger kids. I don’t see how the violence is much different than the other versions. I have not had a chance to talk to the kids yet about much they liked it. If I were a Star Wars newbie, I would possibly start the series with Rouge One. I enjoyed it much more than the last 4 star wars released. There was humor mixed in but I don’t think it was force’d.

  • JM85

    I’ve seen enough cheesy and happy Star Wars movies. I’m really looking forward to this.

  • Harv

    Today my Friday fiction novel recommendation is a little different (since I’m currently trudging through a piece of non-fiction that I’m determined to finish, all 600 interesting but never-ending pages):

    “Homecoming,” a new podcast series by Gimlet Media. It’s a psychological thriller revolving around a case worker who treats vets returning from combat, and it is mesmerizing: top acting, great structure and an intimacy that only something without video can achieve: you are eavesdropping on something that feels completely real. It’s presented in a series of short 20 minute segments. I’m only 3 episodes in but totally addicted. Available in Stitcher and presumably other outlets.

  • RGB
  • Pat Leonard

    Hahaha… I will always remember that laugh at the end of the article. Takes me right back to the day.

  • Hopwin

    If you signed up with Patreon, do you not show until the first of the next month?

  • maxfnmloans

    the rug really tied the room together?

  • maxfnmloans

    theres nothing better than that laugh

  • mgbode

    Sent this question to the appropriate channels.

  • Hopwin

    It is NOT pronounced kielbasy???

  • mgbode

    My siblings and I have always said it like the jackals said Mufasa in Lion King (complete w/ mocking tone)

    Kiel-Bah-Saaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh

  • CB Everett

    Hey Bode,
    I signed up for it when it first came out (couple mos ago?) and haven’t seen anything go through. Before I re-entered the payment info/avoid getting double charged–can you advise as to what the payment name will be under (as in what does it show up as on the CC statement)? Thanks!

  • mgbode

    I don’t handle any of the Patreon stuff, but there is a thread for it offline. So, I have put both of these questions there and will give the answers once I have them.

    Always feel free to ping us with these questions as they happen. We are thankful for all of you support us but also are new to using it. There are bound to be some initial hiccups.

  • nj0

    There’s like a dozen things I miss about NEO. Swenson’s, Dortmunder, Joe Tait, Chuck Schodowski… All on the list.

  • RGB

    Strickland’s.

  • nj0

    What’s the 600 tome?

    That’s a problem I run into with a lot of non-fiction. Fascinating, compelling reads that are really, really long and too much for me to finish. I end up getting a quarter of the way through then skimming the rest to get the general gist. Yes, I’m a horrible person with a short attention span. Come on, book. I’m not asking for you to be twitter or Youtube. Just understand that I have other stuff I need to get done.

  • Names have been updated on the widget.

  • CB Everett

    Dr. Ben Krazy, the Kielbasa Kid….man thanks for the memory lane Friday trip! I used to love that (and Benny Hill and Sanford & Son) as a kid.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/14e1d3b9b798cc3a9f34a1262648a4638c7ffb381e56eb0b00c1503c200bbdca.jpg

  • RGB

    Channel 43 star movie…Super host and John Lanigan.

  • CB Everett
  • Harv

    David Welky’s ” A Wretched and Precarious Situation.” Pretty compelling story of arctic exploration by a few of Admiral Peary’s acolytes, including Donald MacMillan. It’s like the author devoted so much of himself to getting this right I feel duty-bound to finish. It’s not that it’s boring, it’s that I’ve about had enough at this point.

    Per this review it’s only 512 pages. Just felt like 600 when I nodded off and the hardback brained me.http://books.wwnorton.com/books/A-Wretched-and-Precarious-Situation/

  • nj0

    It makes me think of Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of LBJ. Four volumes finished, all like 700-pages plus, fifth and (supposedly) final volume still on the way. In the end, he’ll have spent 35 years on the project.

  • Harv

    Exactly. Robert Caro is like ” I love you, but dude, stop.” Philosophy seems to be: more is more.

  • JM85

    Great point. He pretty much was the villain in Civil War.

  • CB Everett

    Ok, I re-tried it (and it took me three tries which was/is prob just a personal tech fail issue on me). It’s possibly I pledged like 5 times like an idiot so that might be a good day for Patreon!

  • mgbode

    I would argue he was also the villain in Ultron

  • Hopwin

    I had a similar experience, not an intuitive UI.

  • Hopwin
  • mgbode

    Hopefully not, but please do double-check what actually comes out. This is what it should be.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/74892b89809a755c434cacc65259b544a76334ea95c31dc02bec68aa1e7c8a8b.jpg

  • jpftribe

    Saw it this afternoon with my teenagers and completely agree. Liked it much more than the last 4, and I liked the last 4. Good flick. Only critique is that the 3D didn’t seem to add much.

  • jpftribe

    Wow, now that is something I haven’t seen in at least 35 years.

  • NankirPhelge

    Yeah, but “general consensus” is redundant, so that ruins the whole thing.

  • Elizabethiwallace

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  • Marjorietsilva

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj211d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !mj211d:
    ➽➽
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash211TopWorkGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj211d:….,.