History, both personal and political, have a way of forever changing how we see the world.
Dirty Dancing (1987) is out and out classic. It’s one of those movies will always appear on “best of” lists. It is not a stretch, therefore, that some movie exec came up with the idea of a sequel.
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) is somewhere between a sequel and prequel to it’s predecessor. In 1958, Katey Miller (Romola Garai) is an American teenager who moves to Havana for her father’s job. While living in a hotel, Katey meets Javier Suarez (Diego Luna). Javier is a local boy who works at the hotel.
When Javier is fired for being friendly with Katey, she takes it upon herself to help him financially. She hopes that entering and winning a dance contest will make up for the loss of the income. But as they rehearse and fall in love, the Cuban Revolution comes ever closer to their doorstep.
I have to admit that I have not sat through this movie completely. But, I saw enough to know while it gets an A for effort, it does not hold a candle to the original film. While I appreciate the injection of history and an interracial romance, I don’t get the same feeling that I have when I watch Dirty Dancing.
Filling in the gap between Revenge of the Sith (2005) and A New Hope (1977), Rogue One takes place just as the empire is tightening its grip on the universe. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the daughter of a scientist, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) who has appeared to turn his back on rebels. She is raised by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) after her mother’s death and her father’s abdication to the dark side. We meet Jyn when she in imprisoned by the Empire. After being rescued by rebel forces, she joins the fight against the empire. Joining a team of rebels that includes Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), Jyn is not only fighting to free the universe from the empire’s grasp, but is also seeking to find her father.
I’ve heard this movie being compared to The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. While both films are the best of the best of within the Star Wars series, this film certainly comes close. The two qualities of the film that I especially appreciated and loved was not only how badass Jyn was, but also the film talks about the true cost of freedom and the cost of rebelling against tyranny to attain that freedom. And for me, as a Janeite, the cherry on the top of the cake was knowing that I first was introduced to Felicity Jones when she played Catherine Moreland in the 2007 Northanger Abbey.
This film is a must see and one of the best of 2016 for me.