‘Star Wars’ brings generations together

By Tyler Panlilio, Columnist

The weekend is over, and if you haven’t already seen it, you’ve probably heard a friend talking about how much they loved or hated it.

“Rogue One” unsurprisingly dominated the box office as this weekend’s No. 1 grossing film, making it the third-highest weekend-opening grossing film of 2016.

It’s one of three announced stand-alone films as part of the Star Wars Anthology, a series of backstory films that reside in the Star Wars universe, but aren’t considered actual episodes. Either way, these films provide important context for the series as a whole, which is something that even casual fans can rejoice about.

Walking into the theater, I clearly saw this movie catered to essentially all age groups; there were teenagers like myself, but also elderly couples and whole families.

And that’s one of the most overlooked parts of Star Wars: the continuity of the series, which spans almost 40 years and counting, reminds older generations why it’s a global pop culture sensation and sparks that same kind of feeling into younger generations like my own.

When the first Star Wars film came out in 1977, my parents were still in their early teens and they watched the film with their parents. When “The Force Awakens” released last December, my whole family watched together. You can kind of see how Star Wars encompasses practically everyone.

Where “Rogue One” lies in the Star Wars timeline is also extremely important. It’s set essentially as a prequel to “A New Hope,” which gives older viewers a pleasant blend of nostalgia and modern CGI and special effects.

But the film also introduces new people, most notably younger kids, to the extensive universe that is only going to get bigger. And I can speak on behalf of all seven-year-old children across the globe when I say that seeing Star Wars as a kid is absolutely terrific — I was seven when “Revenge of the Sith” came out, and it was a blast.

In terms of the story itself, people should remember that the film is technically a spinoff: it isn’t directly about the Skywalkers, or even Jedi in general. It focuses on the grit of the footsoldiers, the pilots and the Rogue One Squadron in their suicide mission to steal the plans to the Death Star.

The film, despite being a science fiction fantasy space opera, is quite realistic — especially as the plot unfolds.

While there remains criticisms for the film’s arguably shallow cast, it delivers in terms of telling a story about the conception of the most iconic science fiction base in history. The action sequences are terrific, the CGI goes above and beyond in recreating old actors and the ending leaves you wanting more.

If anything, the film does its job in exciting fans in the lead-up to Episode VIII next December. And with the next anthology film covering beloved space smuggler Han Solo, the Star Wars universe will continue to expand at an accelerating rate. And along the way, it’s giving new hope to casual and diehard fans alike.

Tyler is a freshman in Media. 

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