COMMENT While I am a big fan of George Lucas’ iconic ‘Star Wars’ franchise myself, I shall look at ‘Rogue One’, its latest cinematic installment, sans the usual technicalities.
I shall not talk of how canon it was or how it is not, how much retconning it does, how computer-generated imagery (CGI) were used to nostalgic or visually jarring effect, how shallow the characters were said to be, or how it was the perfectly orchestrated easter egg-filled set-piece to link the timeline and movies together.
Although there is much debate in all of the above, I would like to focus on the story, and what it tells instead.
For it speaks of not only a tale in a “universe far-far away”, but of something we all can relate to in the confines of our own reality, without the sci-fi addendum and operatic trappings.
Today, I would like to speak of hope in the face of unimaginable odds.
Of fighting against a seemingly unbeatable regime, with all the powers of a death star at their disposal, with all the might of the stormtroopers on their side, and all the facilities that an entire empire, or government can bring to bear.
Much like the ‘empire’, we too, are facing in our own time. One strengthened with draconian laws that it wields without compunction, much like the death star.
Super-weapons by which they hope to cow, terrify, or destroy us, if we but raise our voices or ballots, if not literally blasters or fists.
An empire whose dictates are enforced by unquestioning automaton-like soldiers who do their masters’ bidding with no mind for right and wrong. Just as theirs are clad in white, ours are those that sully the noble colour and royal emblem that they wear.
All in all, a regime long entrenched and loathe to unclench its talons’ grip on power, a coldly smiling mien that has grown unafraid to show naked brutality ad wield power abusively, despite its congenial we-are-your-saviours-who-shall-save-you-from-yourselves spiel.
It can be a daunting and seemingly hopeless endeavour.
“If the empire possesses such a weapon, what chance do we have?” asked an unnamed Rebel Alliance council member.
The council meeting itself a scene reminiscent of our very own ‘rebel’ alliance, which spends time mostly fighting with itself and still trying to find a footing, beyond that of the hero-worship of the ‘Jedi’ they have found no alternative for.
And the movie’s protagonist Jyn Erso provided the perfect comeback.
“What choice do we have.”
For truly indeed, faced with such a Hobson’s Choice, what choice does free men and women have, if they want to remain free, but to join the fight, or surrender to the empire and remain cowed forever.