Movie Review: Star Wars, Rogue One
More powerful than the Death Star
Reviewed by Jesse Walz
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, set between episodes three and four of the franchise, tells the story of the Rebellion’s discovery of the Death Star, and the daring attempt to steal the plans.
“We have hope! Rebellions are built on hope!” It was a tense moment as the Rebel leaders met. Should they risk it all, or simply give it all up as lost? Once the existence of the Death Star was revealed, the Rebellion had only a few paths to choose from. Do they surrender, flee or fight?
Spirits were low in that meeting, even as Jyn Erso made this stirring statement. The power of the Empire seemed too great, the odds of their retrieving the plans were miniscule, even the possibility that there was a design flaw was slender. Yet Jyn had hope, and she inspired hope in others.
There are three “hopes” on display in Rogue One. The first is the hope of the Rebellion. The hope they display is what most people typically think of as wishful thinking, a deep desire for a better future. They have no real confidence. They have a desperate plan, a commitment to continue on until their last breath and a willingness to give up everything for this cause they believe to be just and right. Their hope is wishful thinking: there could be no confidence for them; only an attempt to do the right thing at great personal cost.
The second is the hope of the evil Galactic Empire. Its personnel place their hope in themselves and their power. In their arrogance they protect their information with force and technology. They cannot fathom how any of it could be stolen. Nor can they comprehend that there might be a flaw, ever so subtle, in the design of the Death Star.
It is the third hope that can best be compared with true, Christian hope. It is the hope of the audience. Once the plot unfolds and the problem becomes clear, the audience knows what will happen. Not a guess, as in some movies where the plotline is predictable; nor with the detailed knowledge of someone who’s already seen the film. Instead, the audience has the confident knowledge that the Rebellion will succeed because they know the story of the following films. They know the plot of Star Wars IV: A New Hope. They’ve seen the outcome, even if they can’t quite guess the detail.
Just like the audience of Rogue One, Christians can have a confident hope for the future. Not because they know the details of this life, nor because they can control everything that happens around them. Christians can have hope because they know the end of the story. Christ is risen and ascended, guaranteeing that his work on the cross was successful, and that he will come again, in the same manner as he departed, this time in order to rule, finally, unopposed.
We know the end of the story. So we can have hope, even in the midst of upset, trial and calamity, in the struggle against our relentless adversary. Christ is risen. Christ, our hope.
Jesse Walz is a fourth-year student at the Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne, and on placement at Surrey Hills Presbyterian Church.