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March 26th, 2017

Max’s View

Rogue One
***
Picture it: You just finished a feast at a Chinese buffet.

You had six plates of food. Five was clearly the best, but the whole meal was wonderful. As the check is coming, you remember how tasty the beef with broccoli was and you foolishly eat one more heaping plate. Now you feel terrible. That last plate was a big mistake.

That final plate of beef with broccoli is “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”

“The Force Awakens” (2015) is a sentimental, uninspired artistic failure. It was as if JJ Abrams was doing a Star War touchdown dance, without acknowledging that it was George Lucas who scored the touchdown.

In 2012, The Disney Corporation bought the rights to Star Wars for $4 billion. So there is no doubt that we will be watching new Star Wars movies for the rest of our lives. The question was whether they’d ever make real films or just an endless string of two hour commercials for BB8 merchandise.

“Rogue One” answers that question.

“Rogue One” is not brilliant and it’s not perfect. But it’s a serious film for adults by adults. And that’s good enough.

[Spoiler Alert] The story takes place in the time between the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader in Episode III and the introduction of Luke Skywalker in Episode IV.

The newly formed Imperial Empire is trying to solidify its hegemony in the galaxy. And they’ve found a perfect way of doing it: the planet-killing Death Star battle station.

The Death Star will be able to wipe out uncooperative planets and annihilate the rebellion. Fortunately, Galen Erso – the scientist who designed the Death Star – secretly sabotaged the space station by leaving it vulnerable to attack from a single shot inside its core.

You know that already. But now we learn about the brave band of soldiers who stole the plans for the rebellion – led by the scientist’s daughter Jyn Erso.

At its heart, “Rogue One” is a gritty, WWII-style action film. There are no cutesy droids or silly animated creatures. There’s a lot of battle sequences and a lot of death. This is the first Star Wars movie that is absolutely not made for children. I liked it a lot.

“The Force Awakens” was a sickening bowl of beef with broccoli that we weren’t hungry for. “Rogue One” is the solid, wholesome meal that you eat for lunch the next day that makes you feel healthy again.

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