Rogue One: The Second-Best Star Wars Movie

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If you’re a Star Wars fan, then you’ve seen Rogue One, the latest film in the franchise and a sort of standalone movie. (If you’re a Star Wars fan and have NOT seen Rogue One, then you’re not a fan — sorry.)

I went into the viewing with low expectations. Why the hell would they make a standalone film? Money, of course. Disney is milking their cash cow. Fine, that’s their right.

My low expectations were totally wrong. For me, Rogue One was the second best of all the Star Wars movies. It was expertly plotted, with a sharp cast who were all believable. Rogue rogue-one-3one managed to capture the slightly dated atmosphere of the originals while keeping a modern tone. The action was very well paced, and the special effects took a backseat to storytelling.

There were two action sequences that I found unbelievable. One involved inhuman jumping. The other, holding on for life in the pouring rain. Both impossible! But for an action film, such is expected.

Other than that, it was fun as hell. We also got Darth Vader and Princess Leia! I’m not complaining.

So here’s my list of the top Star Wars films so far:

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  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Rogue One
  3. A New Hope
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. Return of the Jedi

Oh, and I’m not including the prequel trilogy. I like to pretend those crappy movies never existed.

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Is Peter Pan a villain?

When it comes to storytelling, who is the villain and who is the hero? Sometimes it depends on point of view.

Take Peter Pan. Originally written by J.M. Barrie, the story of the lost boy from Neverland has been popularized by Disney, on Broadway and on television. We all know the story of Peter Pan, the adventurous, valiant boy who refuses to grow up.

But what if Peter Pan as a character is someone much darker than we want to admit?

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Over at Tor.com, Emily Asher-Perrin writes a terrific essay that reassesses this much loved childhood story, and she makes a convincing case that at best, Peter is a scary hero who comes close to being the true villain of the story.

Here’s a summary of her evidence:

–Neverland is a world that caters to his every desire. He’s the dictator of that realm. Whatever he says, goes. That’s a lot of power—maybe too much power—for a hero to possess.

–When Neverland gets too crowded with lost boys, Peter Pan thins out the herd. In her essay, Asher-Perrin uses a single word to describe this: murder. Ouch.

–He cares little for Wendy or her family apart from their ability to amuse him. When bored, he’ll just find another Wendy to take away.

–And then there’s Captain Hook. We’ve always believed he was the villain. But think about it: Peter Pan cut his hand off and fed it to a crocodile. No wonder Hook is pissed.

These are intriguing arguments. But the most compelling piece of evidence (which Asher-Perrin does discuss) is the sum of all this. Peter Pan is basically selfish. He’s a self-involved character who refuses to grow up, and who creates an entire world—Neverland—which is his to rule.

When you look at Peter Pan in this way — as a character whose growth has been stunted — it’s fitting that he loses his shadow. Carl Jung would have a field day with Peter Pan.

Pan myth

And then there’s the fact that in Greek myth, Pan is a hedonistic, wild, goat-like god. He’s all about pleasure, as is our supposed hero, Peter. When you add this all up, you get someone you’d definitely want to keep at arm’s length.