Last week, Master Johnny and I found ourselves alone when Miss Katherine returned to University and Lady Barton St Mary was called away on business of international importance. This meant that we could treat ourselves to a night out, starting with a meal at Nando’s (I bloody love Nando’s) followed by a trip to the pictures to see a new Star Wars film called Rogue One.
Now, I am not a massive Star Wars boffin. My friends queued outside the Leicester Square cinema for the premiere of the first one in the seventies (they were even caught on camera, the grainy footage of my nerdy schoolmates in their tank tops and flares turning up on the occasional Star Wars documentary on TV) and I loved the first three, but had lost interest when the fourth one was made years later.
However, I did enjoy the last Star Wars film – The Force Awakens; the one with Hans Solo and Princess Leia, but when they’re much older. In fact, Hans Solo looks like he’s been left next to the radiator and has melted a bit. Also, The Force Awakens has the same story as the first Star Wars film in the seventies. Anyway, full of spicy chicken and coleslaw, we settled into our seats for the performance.
The story is about a girl called Gin (I’m amazed that Lady Barton St Mary never called Miss Katherine this). Gin looks like my sister in law Ellie, which was a little distracting; Ellie is not part of the Rebel Alliance, exactly, although she is Welsh and lives in Swansea, so as close as you can get, I suppose.
The action moved at a very brisk pace – Ellie Gin as a little girl hides in a hole and turns into a grown up. There’s Forrest Whittaker as a goodie, dressed up in one of Wallace and Gromit’s inventions, with a chest plate made out of an old kitchen sink, including the plug hole.
There’s a suave, exotic character who might be a goodie or a baddie. We’re not sure. However, all the super baddies wear lego bricks on the front of their shirts to make things easier, except for Daft Ada, of course, who has his own style.
Also a new robot, too; a taller, black C3PO, showing that Star Wars can do characters without turning them into racial stereotypes (I’m thinking of the Womble with a Jamaican accent in the crap Star Wars films). Also a fair bit of kung fu action, which appeals to all the 50 something men who used to bunk into the cinema underage to watch such shinnanigans.
Everything moves along at a pleasing pace, without too many interruptions to explain who everybody is to the watching audience, but it wasn’t long before I was confused once again. This time it took several seconds to sink in. One of Daft Ada’s famous henchmen from the first Star Wars film suddenly appeared on the screen. What was the character called? Moss Bros? Muff Top? Big Moff? As I searched my memory, I realised that Peter Cushing had been cast in the role once again. Hang on. Peter Cushing? Still acting? Looking the same as he did in 1977? Let’s just say he looks fantastic for a man who’s been dead for 20 years. Grand Toff! Grand Pop Larkin! Moff Tarkin! That’s it!
The film built to a climax, Ellie Gin helped by an air force consisting of a group of World War 2 RAF pilots and rejects from the 1970s auditions for the part of The Six Million Dollar Man.
I won’t give away the ending, just to say it is very dramatic. Like all the other Star Wars films, the plot is driven at such a pace that you hardly have time to care for the characters. It’s an enjoyable, entertaining yarn that everyone can enjoy.