Friday, January 6, 2017

Rogue One: From a Certain Point of View

This comment from yesterday's post is a good opportunity to talk about class and perspective.

The OT is told from the perspective of the protagonist heroes, who are the aristocratic elite heroes, saving the Galaxy in Great Man of History style. They see the bad guys like Tarkin and Vader as roughly opposite-equals.

The PT is told from the perspective of Chancellor Palpatine, a cynical all-knowing point of view that is mostly laughing at the idiocy of everyone else, both the "heroes" and his own pawns, but especially the lowest class scrubs like Jar Jar.

Rogue One is told from the perspective of the low-class grunts. We've got the orphan jailbird, the jailbroken droid, the begging monk, and a space trucker pilot. None of them have midichlorians, or the fastest ship in the Galaxy, or political influence - and they're aware that the people above them make the real decisions and are much more frightening.

Some of this means that their perspective on the aristos is one of awe and terror. Which is how the weird CGI actors fit in so well, or rather don't. Tarkin and Leia and Vader are obscene, other-worldly intrusions with their computer generated difference. They are too smooth for this rough world. This mimics the weird distortion when you and your colleagues are having a normal day and oh shit someone super-famous walks in.

From the perspective of the grunts, these aristos have a lot more in common with each other - note the repeated fashion choice for the upper class of "all white with a small cape". Krennik vs Mothma is Space Jeb vs Space Hillary.

Image result for rogue one krennic Image result for rogue one mothma

But the other thing the working class sees in their managers is how stupid and petty they are. So instead of these chilling board room dramatics we got in A New Hope, now we just see the top brass whining at each other over their various power plays and excuses. They're jokes and we're supposed to laugh along as Tarkin humiliates Krennik, until we realize that these insecurities will cost thousands of lives.

This continues the tradition of Rogue One being a war-movie, or rather, a war-novel like Catch-22, where the average soldier views the decisions and political maneuvers of the officers with satirical disdain.

EDIT: One of the best ways to identify the point of view in a movie is which character is the most competent.

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