News & Politics

Reviewer Bashes 'Rogue One' for Thinking 'Solution Is to Blow Things Up'

Entertainment exists for one reason above any other, and contrary to what some leftists believe, it’s not to browbeat you over the head with how much you suck.  Entertainment exists solely to entertain. Nothing more, nothing less.  As a result, those who make their careers in entertaining you often have a vested interest in keeping you engaged.

You’d think someone at a book-review site would know that.  Apparently, that’s not always the case. A reviewer named Nancy Jane Moore laments that so many movies, including “Rogue One,” actually have action in them.

I was primed to be reflective about the movie because it was preceded by twenty minutes of trailers for truly dreadful movies that I don’t plan to see. About halfway through them, I said to myself, “No wonder the world is falling apart.” The prevailing narrative seems to be fighting and war as a response to everything.

Many of these movies strike me as right-wing narratives (though I suspect most of the people involved in making them don’t vote that way): Humans fighting either evil aliens or evil supernatural creatures. Others focus on the outsider who fights for us all, but gets no thanks – not a story about people coming together to solve their problems.

Right, because Castro gained power in Cuba through diplomacy, right? How did the Soviet Union come about again? I’m sure the Romanovs just handed power over to the communists. Or is communism now a right-wing ideology?

The author has more to say.

Stories like Rogue One might be seen as having a liberal bias – rebels fighting a fascist, dictatorial regime. But in every case the story assumes that the solution is to blow things up.

Seriously? A case can also be made that it has a libertarian or conservative bias — rebels fighting a fascist (really a left-wing ideology pretty closely related to socialism but with a stronger nationalistic element to it), dictatorial regime.

It’s not the violence and killing that I’m objecting to – I agree with pacifists about many things, but I’m not one – but rather the idea that those things are the only solution. A lifetime in the martial arts has taught me that while there are times when a physical fight (or a war) may be the best choice, those times are few and far between.

Here’s the thing about storytelling that I’ve been told by both New York Times bestselling authors and award winners (and you’d be surprised how rarely those two are the same people): stories need conflict.  What is war but the ultimate conflict?

While the real world does include many instances where fighting may not be the best course of action, so what? Let’s be honest: Most of those times are boring.  Sure, in the hands of a skilled storyteller, they can be made entertaining…for some people.

The truth is that the entertainment industry exists to entertain and it does so in hopes of making a profit.  Stories with violent action have done well for decades, and for good reason. They’re engaging and they have plenty of built-in conflict without having to be manufactured.

But apparently a scolding reviewer at a book-review site knows what’s really good for us.