So sometime ago, I, being the grumpy gremlin that I tend to be, got into a mildly heated debate over the quality of the most recent Star Wars movie. Rogue One. Now, if you want my whole opinion on the movie, then all you need to know is that I found it to be a good, albeit, forgettable experience. Without spoiling too much, I found that the ingredients for an engaging story existed within the movie, I just find that how these were moved around was disappointing.
All those days ago, I wondered to myself why in the Nine Hells (I’m going to start a counter for whenever I use this phrase) these ingredients didn’t come together. I mean, when I say it had the right ingredients, I’m not mincing words.
Cool spaceships, interesting landscapes in a boundless world, laser guns that make silly noises when they are fired, and a whole dose of epic explosions. Yet bearing all that in mind…
I wasn’t feeling it.
Believe me, gentlemen, I tried. I really did try. Since I’m a rather snarky person, I tend to go into all movies expecting to be met with poorly written plots, but I enjoy the Star Wars Universe, so I decided to set my scale down. This did not work.
In most occasions, the elements I stated before should be enough to leave dangling off the edge of my seat. But the opposite was true. I found a cynical text exchange I was having on my phone more interesting than the film.
But why was this?
Well, when I try to narrow it down, Rogue One nailed almost everything. The plot was on point, the visuals had my eyes bulging out of their sockets, and there was a certain visceral edge added to the film that one does not usually see in Star Wars. But there was one thing it got wrong, the characters.
I’ve stared at bricks that have more personality than the statues that starred in this movie. With the exception of a certain snarky robot and a particular naive monk whom came across as likeable, just about everyone else was bland. It took only a few hours after I left the movie for me to forget the names of most of the “Heroes”. And while people say that I’m just nitpicking when it comes to this, I beg to differ.
I don’t care what kind of twists or world-building you have on your sleeve, the fact is, if the characters through which we experience these things are bland, I won’t give a damn about the experience. When I saw all this awesome stuff panning out in the story, I wanted to care, but the lack of any immersion on the part of the protagonists made me indifferent to it all.
In the end, you can distract people with explosions for a little bit, but if your characters suck, we won’t care as an audience. The reason we like stories is because we care for the people going through them. So simply put, if you don’t have likeable people, I won;t care for the story. And this is a valuable lesson for writers.
Of course, these were just my two cents. Maybe you fellows loved the movie? Or maybe you found the characters to actually be relatable (God Forbid). Either way, feel free to say it in the comments!
As always, this has been the QuestingAuthor. Keep Writing, my friends.
PS: Maybe some of you QuestingAuthor veterans will notice that this post is shorter than usual, and that is because I’m trying to develop a shorter style. The idea is that if I get used to writing in shorter lengths, I’ll be able to get back to daily posting in a near future. But please, tell me what you think.