Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Took my girls to see this on Saturday. Many of the familiar features of the Star Wars universe are in the film. The Empire's Death Star super weapon, snazzy space ships, stormtroopers clad in white plastic armour, laser guns going 'whoosh, whoosh, whoosh', and so on. But none of the 'goody' characters. No Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Wookie, R2D2 and that. Baddies get a look in, mind; Darth Vadar and his henchmen. We'll have to wait for the follow up to The Force Awakens to see what happens to our familiar heroes. 

Not that this spin off was altogether lacking on the hero front, with the feisty Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones leading the charge. 

Saga-wise, Rouge One fills in some gaps between Episodes 3 and 4. We discover that the Death Star was built with a deliberate fatal flaw. The drama concerns a mission to discover the plans to the Death Star that will enable the rebel alliance to pinpoint its weak spot and finally destroy the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.  

Cynical types may dismiss Rogue One as superfluous spin off, designed to part fools from their money as fans of the franchise impatiently await the next film in sequence to The Force Awakens. But it's a decent enough contribution to the series. A bit slow to start with, some good action sequences and a pretty gripping plot. Interesting new characters. Fantastic visuals.  

At the start the Rebels are a sorry lot. The will to fight sucked out of them by the apparently overwhelming power of the evil Empire. Resistance seems futile. But Jyn rallies the insurrectionists to action with the words, 'Rebellion is built on hope.'

Interesting thought. The powers of darkness in this world appear so unassailable. There seems little point in resisting the reign of sin and death. But there is hope in the form of a weak and vulnerable baby, born around 2000 years ago. Of him it is written, 'For this purpose the Son God God was manifested, to destroy the works of the evil one'. 

Zechariah, father of John the Baptist prophesied of Jesus,

"the sunrise shall visit us from on high
 to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
(Luke 1:79)

Through his lowly birth, redeeming death and mighty resurrection the Son of God has triumphed over the kingdom of darkness. When the Lord returns in glory death, the 'last enemy' will be destroyed. 

In the meantime those who belong to Jesus are called to join the rebellion against sin's tyrannical rule. Here are our marching orders, 'Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14). 

Resistance is not futile. With the high praises of God in our mouths and a two edged sword in our hands (not a lightsaber! - Psalm 149:6), we march in to battle. Confident of victory. The note of praise we sound is not servile and demeaning; it is the liberty song of redeemed rebels,  
Praise is the great act of rebellion against sin, the great repudiation of our wicked refusal to acknowledge God to be the Lord. (John Webster, Holiness, SCM Press, p. 76). 
Jyn was right. Rebellion is built on hope. 

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