I love going to the movies. Having two kids now, I don’t get to the theater as much as I used to, but for the big films, the ones I really excited about, I make a point to carve out time and go. This year I’m insanely excited to see the new Star Wars movie, “Rogue One.”
I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. I still have most of my original Star Wars action figures from the 1980s, have an office full of Star Wars Legos and collectibles, and own all the new books and comics. I’ve written before about how exciting Star Wars has become lately, with the “Star Wars: Rebels” cartoon series on Disney (and “The Clone Wars” before it), but “Rogue One” has the chance to be something special.
The first of the major movies to not be part of the Skywalker family saga, “Rogue One” tells the story of the Rebel soldiers in the trenches. The part war, part heist movie unveils how the Rebels stole the secret plans for the Death Star.
It evokes a little “Dirty Dozen,” some “Where Eagles Dare, and even some “Saving Private Ryan.” “Rogue One” takes place in the days just before the original Star Wars movie (now known as “Episode IV: A New Hope”), and has a diverse cast led by Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, played by Felicity Jones and Diego Luna respectively, and including scene stealers Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe and Alan Tudyk as K-2SO.
Along the way we get a taste of what Star Wars must have been like for everyone not named Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando. After all, the main characters from the original movie trilogy were but a small part of a much wider rebellion. Those rebels were mostly soldiers, pilots, and support staff, not the glamorous lightsaber-wielding heroes we saw documented on screen before. This movie shines when it focuses on those in the trenches moments of battle.
Of course it couldn’t be a Star Wars movie without Darth Vader, so he makes an appearance as well, including a Sith-tastic demonstration in the movie’s final scene demonstrating why he’s the best Star Wars villain.
I won’t spoil too much, because you really should see it for yourself, but I highly recommend it. “Rogue One” has gritty ground fighting, amazing aerial combat, and a driving plot that makes for a great time at the movies. It is however, not a movie you should take your little kids to see. My five-year-old son, who is a devoted Star Wars fan just like his daddy, will not be seeing “Rogue One” anytime soon.
Now what’s the best way to enjoy this intense Star Wars film? With beer, of course! Thankfully, some movie theaters today have moved beyond overbuttered popcorn and gigantic sodas, instead serving burgers, salads, pizza, and more. They also have beer, wine, maybe even cocktails. The trend owes its popularity to a real treasure here in Austin: the Alamo Drafthouse. This theater chain is known for great food that is often themed with the major movie release of the moment, a fantastic selection of beers, and unique only at Alamo events like Master Pancake Theater (think live action Mystery Science Theater 3000).
For “Rogue One,” Alamo didn’t disappoint. They have a great menu inspired by the tropical planet of Scarif that includes island sliders, shrimp avocado toast, and tropical cocktails. The sliders were the perfect food for “Rogue One.” While it would be absolutely acceptable to down a beer or two at a midnight show, I took a different approach and embraced one of my favorite things: the beer milkshake!
Beer is a great breakfast drink, always awesome for an afternoon with your buddies, and perfect for a hearty dinner, but don’t forget its ability to contribute to dessert! When I first went to Alamo Drafthouse back in college, something that immediately caught my eye was their Guinness Milkshake. Yep. It combines that hearty dark beer, a beer you can chew, as they say, and the rich flavors of ice cream all blended together, topped with whipped cream, and delivered to your seat. It’s perfect, absolutely perfect, and my favorite accompaniment to any movie.
For “Rogue One,” it’s the ultimate melding of the Dark Side (Guinness) and the Light Side (vanilla ice cream). They mix it all up to produce a cold, creamy, boozy dessert that reminds you that beer isn’t just a breakfast drink, it’s for dessert too!
So if you have an Alamo Drafthouse in your area, head on over to see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and be sure to order yourself a milkshake with the added Force of beer. May the Force be with you… and cheers!