Rogue movies and others

Only sometime in the last few days did I learn that Star Wars: Rogue One was directed by Gareth Edwards. Somehow I had not gotten around to seeing this film.

There is always lots to do, life is busy, the friends I had wanted to see it with had already seen it. There are a million excuses for not seeing a first-run blockbuster film.

But then I found out who the director was, and I knew I had to see it. Gareth Edwards is the plucky guy who, seven years ago, directed Monsters, one of my favorite Sci Fi films of all time.

And the beautiful thing is that it was something of a rogue movie. Edwards’ budget for this feature film was $15,000. Not $15,000 for special effects, but $15,000 total.

Like any truly groundbreaking film, its user ratings on IMDB are mostly either 10 stars or 1 star. People were either completely enthralled by it, as I was, or they were deeply offended by it.

Even though Monsters featured giant scary extraterrestrial creatures, it was nothing at all like the sort of big budget super-heros and villains CGI heavy extravaganza that today passes for science fiction. At its core it was a relationship film, about two people who weren’t even likeable.

In other words, it was the opposite of a fan-boy friendly comic-book film. I loved everything about it.

So when I found out that Gareth Edwards had directed the latest Star Wars film, I rushed out and saw it, just this afternoon. And I was not disappointed.

Unlike most movies that pass for science fiction these days, Star Wars: Rogue One actually makes thematic sense from a psychological perspective. The exposition makes clear, on a moral and ethical level, in a way that emerges naturally from character development, why the good guys are the good guys, and the bad guys are the bad guys.

And it doesn’t do that in a cheap or easy way. It makes its characters earn their right to be on the side of goodness.

It’s interesting to compare the two films in terms of budget. By my calculations, Star Wars: Rogue One cost about 10,000 times as much to make as Monsters.

Yet both are good. That’s quite a range. Three cheers for the brilliance of Gareth Edwards.

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