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FLICKS: Rogue One

Posted on 24 December 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


Forty years ago this week, Dino DeLaurentis’ version of King Kong was released on the big screen. Pompano Cinema had an actor in a gorilla suit roam around the marquee growling at patrons. Despite making the cover of Time magazine, the film was a disappointment, given the big budget and poor special effects. Six months later, Star Wars was released and movie special effects have been a constant on the big screen for 39 years.

The biggest use of special effects of Rogue One is not the space battles or spectacular fight on a sandy beach, but digital recreations of two characters from the original Star Wars. To reveal more would be considered spoilers, but know that the uncanny attention to detail will be honored at this season’s awards ceremonies.

Rogue One is an experiment from the Star Wars cannon. It is a standalone film from the Star Wars universe that George Lucas created that Walt Disney studios now owns. Some classic Star Wars characters from the previous seven episodes make appearances, but Rogue One introduces new characters and tells an original story.

Much like the late Robert Oppenheimer’s nuclear experiments, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is a scientist who creates a weapon of mass destruction. When Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) forces Galen to design the Death Star for the Empire, Galen hides his daughter from the Empire’s gestapo.

Fifteen years later, Galen’s daughter Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is found by the Empire and is jailed. Led by Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), the Rebel Alliance break Jyn out of prison. With hidden motives, the Rebel Alliance recruit Jyn in an effort to stop her father from building the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

Unlike the opening of the seven previous Star Wars movies, Rouge One opens in a leisurely way. The middle of the film drags a bit and suffers from some murky cinematography. But it redeems itself in the final third of the film with spectacular action sequences. With tragic overtones, Rogue One is not as kiddie-friendly as previous Star Wars movies. It is a pure war movie, with echoes of The Guns of Navarone and The Dirty Dozen.

Is Rogue One the movie to see this Christmas weekend? It most definitely is if you are a science fiction fan or a devotee of Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury or Robert Heinlein.

For a more human-driven drama, this holiday weekend offers award nominees Fences, starring Denzel Washington, and the animated Sing, featuring the voices of Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey.

Merry Christmas!

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