Monday, 4 July 2016

Why Rogue One Has the Potential to be Better than The Force Awakens

by Alex Gibson

The seventh instalment of the Star Wars film franchise was released in December 2015 and instantly broke box office records: it grossed $1 billion in less time than any other film (12 days), as well as taking a stunning $529 million on the opening weekend alone. 

However, this year sees a new dimension of Star Wars. Rogue One, the first in the new Anthology series, is set to be released towards the end of the year. With several images being recently publicised and rumoured information about the plot circulated, Star Wars fans have been contemplating whether or not this may be better than the new breed of mainstream films.

In this article, I don't intend to focus on the visuals, directing or even acting, but instead on the potential of Rogue One - and the weaknesses of The Force Awakens.

For some fans, The Force Awakens was a revitalisation of the franchise, and was therefore viewed as a brilliant film. For others, it was seen as a weak film, which was not worth the anticipation. I partly agree with this latter view for a variety of reasons.

Let us start with the plot. The Force Awakens opens with stormtroopers attacking an underprepared target in possession of key information. This intelligence is given to a droid by an important character, who is subsequently captured and imprisoned on a star destroyer. Fleeing to a desert planet for safety, the droid is taken in by a Force user unaware of their power for the time being. At some point, the protagonists escape on the Millennium Falcon, accompanied by Han Solo and Chewbacca. One of the climaxes of the story is that these characters have to rescue a captured female, who is on board a planet-like construction, which is perfectly capable of destroying worlds. Following the discovery and release of the captured girl, one of the characters, during the escape, confronts and is ultimately killed by a villain clothed in black and wearing a mask. This character has been associated with the light side of the force but has turned to the dark over time. The last main action involves a small assortment of rebel fighters completing a trench run to in order to destroy this formidable station.

Which film am I referring to: The Force Awakens or A New Hope? Both? Exactly - and that was the main issue of the film. For a universe that was so well created, in my view, the plot was extremely weak as there was a distinct lack of original material. For a film that was so highly anticipated, surely there is a sense of disappointment for all fans?

In addition to this, the characterisation was poor. Daisy Ridley’s Rey seemed to be ‘perfect’ – she could do everything: pilot all ships, speak to a variety of people, use a lightsaber and just accept the fact that she had the Force and instantly understand how to use of it. Of course, some of these traits were needed in order to breathe life into the character, but by having so many, the character was ruined. There are several other weaknesses of the movie, such as Kylo Ren’s childish demeanour, but we would be going round in circles. I would much rather focus on the new film.

Firstly, despite the film being a part of the Star Wars franchise, it does not have to follow the mainstream idea whereby all of the leading characters are either a Skywalker or a Solo, which is why I believe The Force Awakens could have been better. This will allow many new ideas and events to take place in a large universe, which I’ve already made reference to being brilliant. Moreover, the scene is somewhat already set for the finale as we know what happens, but Star Wars fans must be excited to see the adventures of a completely new set of heroes, whilst still being able to enjoy the character of the iconic Darth Vader, who is known to be making an appearance.

The idea of Rogue One being better than The Force Awakens is a completely subjective opinion, but I am convinced that this new series will be an improvement as it is not weighed down by the mainstream storyline; as a result, this will make for a more refreshing film while still being in that world where anything can and ultimately will happen.

Source for statistics: Wikipedia 

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