Geek Moments: "Star Wars: the Force Awakens" versus "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Updated: May 29, 2020
I know I'm being PETTY and NEGATIVE and VINDICTIVE and yadda yadda yadda... but it made me ever so tickled pink to hear that George Lucas was NOT HAPPY with ”Star Wars: the Force Awakens” ( 1 ) but LOVED “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” ( 1 + 2 ).
FIRST, because Jar Jar Abrams ( click name for elaboration of vague statement ). SECOND, because now that I've seen “Rogue One”, I understand why Mr. Lucas is of that opinion.
"The Force Awakens” was a very well executed homage/tribute to Episodes IV, V, VI. The film tips its hat to the original films—for example, the wipe transitions between scenes—but it is clearly distinct from the original trilogies.
Though I DESPERATELY wanted to hate the movie, because of the director, I frelling loved it.
Until it was pointed out to me, I didn’t notice that it basically was a rehash of Episode IV:
Everything from the protagonist... 'a young youth from desert-like planet who is talented at piloting and engineering TURNS OUT to be the chosen one.'
Their task... 'rescuing a droid with LIFE or DEATH top secret information.'
Which inevitably leads to... 'infiltrating a Death Star.'
As well as... 'a climactic battle between GOOD untrained Jedi and BAD experienced Sith Lord who is—essentially—Darth Vader.'
And finally ends with... 'victory party at the rebel base! Woot! Woot!'
However none of that hindered my enjoyment of the movie one bit. Nope.
Though the story itself might not be very creative—what with it having been told over and over again with a white male lead—I found that the characters in this particular retelling provides much needed representation for minorities both in the film and North American pop culture in general. The protagonist is female, which is in VERY short supply, who wasn’t sexualized nor a romantic love interest for a male protagonist, which is almost unheard of! So having a three dimensional female protagonist experience this over told journey ( who drives the plot, accomplishes task after task, kicks butt for herself and not to visually please the male audience, etc. ) is AMAZING!
And all the better that she does so with a monkey wrench and a lightsaber.
The other two protagonists are men of color, one a Stormtrooper and the other an X-Wing Pilot. They are a part of the Star Wars universe WITHOUT being walking talking racial stereotypes ( very important. VERY. ). Though only the Stormtrooper was full-fledged three dimensional character onscreen, there are whispers that the X-Wing Pilot will be fleshed out in the future films ( and they better follow through! ). And while both have significant amounts of screen time and are integral to the plot, the X-Wing Pilot—again—could definitely do with more of both which—again—the whispers say will be granted in future films ( I'll believe it when I see it! ).
To have actors from minorities in successful leading roles and the promise of reprising these successful leading roles in the already planned sequels IS VERY IMPORTANT because it might inspire other films to diversify.
Progress is to be encouraged. <3
HOWEVER! All of this aside, next to “Rogue One”, ”The Force Awakens” is akin to a high budget kid’s macaroni fan artwork made for the father of Star Wars.
“Rogue One” IS one of the original films.
It IS Episode III point V.
( in my opinion, anyway ) “Rogue One” is a seamless addition to the trilogy!
The texture of the destroyers, ATATs and Chicken Walkers were spot on!
The use of makeup, props and costumes really integrated the environments in this film with those of Episodes IV, V, VI.
The miraculous digital resurrection of Peter Cushing to posthumously reprise the role of General Tarkin was just... Wow. Just WOW! The first scene I saw him in, I had completely forgotten that the actor had passed away. But even after I finally remembered—which was the rest of the movie, to be honest. ^^;;—I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that it WASN'T him on screen. AMAZING!
The tie-ins to Episode IV such as cameos by R2-D2 and C-3PO, the use of original footage of the X Wing Pilot leaders from Episode IV, etc...
BONUS: This is the SECOND Star Wars film to have a female protagonist. She’s a roguish vagabond with no special powers except for impressive adaptability and incredible strength of character. Watching her in action my first thought—LITERALLY—was 'Omg... I can be Aladdin...'. True story. ^^;; Basically, what I'm trying to say is 'OMG! This is so refreshing!'. <3
BONUS: The other protagonists—and A LOT of the prominent Rebel characters—are a beautiful tapestry of diversity and a very good example of what ‘minority representation in media’ looks like and how IT IS NOT scary or weird. <3
PENALTY: Major. Character. Death. As in quality and quantity. Everybody you love DIES. T_T
Except for that penalty, I think it’s pretty frelling perfect! *wipes away tear of joy*
In Summation: "FRELL YOU, Jar Jar Abrams!!! Mwa! Ha! Ha! Ha!!!"