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'Rogue One' forces 'Star Wars' traditions forward
Whats in with Justin
Rogue ONe
"Rogue One" introduced a new set of characters to the ever-growing story. - photo by Studio photo

"Rogue One" is the first spinoff of the "Star Wars" series set between "Revenge of the Sith" and 1977’s "A New Hope." If this first one is any indication, then as far as future spinoffs are concerned, well, the Force continues to be strong with this one.

Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, a rebel who joins up with the Rebel Alliance to defeat the evil and powerful Empire. She is used by the Alliance in hopes of retrieving the battle plans against the Empire’s main weapon, the Death Star. You may be familiar with it, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since 1977.

We do get new and interesting characters that join Jyn on her quest, such as Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, a blind Jedi named Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and a new droid called K-2S0 (Alan Tudyk). Think of him as C-3P0 with a backbone and just as much humor and charisma.

Forest Whitaker also stars as a veteran from the Clone Wars in Episode II. In this film, he may be an Empire sympathizer or he may be a Rebel. I’m not sure which side he was on, but it was exciting to have his welcoming presence.

As usual with a "Star Wars" film, we get a lot of sensational special effects sequences. The best involves the climax with the Rebels invading a planet with the plans to the Death Star intact. And it hits more than enough nostalgic notes, harking back to Lucas’ original trilogy. Try to remember the more exhilarating moments in Episodes IV and V.

I don’t think "Rogue One" hits the near-perfect heights of "The Force Awakens," but it does continue to extend the "Star Wars" mythology into something greater and it does have me looking forward to future spinoffs. The Force is still with it and will be for a long time to come.

Grade: A-

Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi action violence.

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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