In which two fans — or possibly two sides of my own brain — debate which of the new crop of movies is better: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
POINT: Rogue One is better than The Force Awakens.
COUNTERPOINT: How can you even possibly say that?
POINT: Rogue One has a beginning, middle, and end. It introduced a host of amazing new characters into Star Wars. It perfectly transitions into A New Hope.
COUNTERPOINT: Uh, the reason that Rogue One has a beginning, middle, and end is because it’s all by itself. All the main characters die! Pretty convenient, wouldn’t you say? And what about The Force Awakens’ new characters? We have the original Big Three, plus Rey, Finn, and Poe. New baddies, too – Kylo Ren, Hux, Snoke… and a seven-foot tall murderous chrome woman!
POINT:… who gets stuffed into a trash compactor…
COUNTERPOINT: Neither here nor there. How about story? The Force Awakens is a perfect continuation of the Skywalker saga.
POINT: Is it, now? So Rey is a Skywalker?
COUNTERPOINT: We have no idea, but Kylo Ren is definitely a Skywalker. He has the hothead attitude and perfect hair to prove it. Oh, and he’s Leia’s son, so there’s that, too.
POINT: Okay, back to the point – no pun intended. I like Rogue One because Jyn is a scrappy, tough fighter who gets by any way she can. Chirrut and Baze are very interesting characters who reflect some of the older, more mystical aspects of the Force. Donnie Yen is such an exciting martial artist, too! Cassian was also a great addition to the Star Wars universe. Anger and commitment to the cause are at the heart of everything he does. Saw Gerrera, as a reachback to The Clone Wars, was fun to see. Forrest Whitaker was wonderful. And the Death Star….
COUNTERPOINT: … yep, the Death Star. Again. Granted, I don’t have room to talk about that, what with Starkiller Base and all.
POINT: Exactly. Starkiller Base was a rehash of the Death Stars – plural. At least the Death Star in Rogue One was just back in its old role, if you will.
COUNTERPOINT: I’ll give you that. Back to the new characters, though, don’t you think that Rey was a breath of fresh air? Daisy Ridley killed it!
POINT: She did, yes. I won’t deny that. I’m eager to see what becomes of her in The Last Jedi.
COUNTERPOINT: Okay, and that’s one of the reasons that The Force Awakens surpasses Rogue One. The Force Awakens’ story isn’t over yet. It’ll continue into The Last Jedi and Episode IX. There’s more to come! The saga continues!
POINT: I don’t like having to wait for it. I want the story NOW.
COUNTERPOINT: Patience is a virtue, padawan.
POINT: I also like that Luceno’s and Freed’s novelization add so much to the story. While the technical history of the Death Star wasn’t the most engaging thing I’ve read, Catalyst did help explain Galen and Krennic’s relationship and definitely set the stage for the story. We got NONE of that prior to The Force Awakens. So much of the political environment was left to our imaginations. Freed’s novelization let us know what the characters were thinking. In particular, the omniscient view added so much to Jyn and Bodhi’s characterizations.
COUNTERPOINT: So you’re admitting that the movie was NOT a stand-alone, then?
POINT: Nope – good try though! The tie-ins just improved an already fantastic story. I am firmly convinced that the movie did just fine all by itself.
COUNTERPOINT: How about the scores, though? The Force Awakens was done by the maestro himself, John Williams!
POINT: True, but you have agree that Michael Giacchino did an excellent job with the Rogue One music.
COUNTERPOINT: Yeah, but it’s not JOHN WILLIAMS… so it didn’t-
POINT: DON’T SAY IT! DON’T SAY IT!
COUNTERPOINT: -feel like Star Wars to me.
POINT: Ugh! No! You said it!
COUNTERPOINT: I still liked it, but just… it wasn’t John Williams.
POINT: Well, I can’t argue that. It wasn’t John Williams. It was still fantastic, though. So much tension is built in “The Master Switch.” “Your Father Would Be Proud” is very sweet. And “Hope?!?” AMAZING! Well, maybe it’s just that I love the juxtaposition of Vader being Vader, and then the Tantive IV… and Leia… it’s just too much!
COUNTERPOINT: Don’t tell me you didn’t love “Rey’s Theme,” “March of the Resistance,” “Farewell and the Trip,” “The Jedi Steps….”
POINT: Of course I did. Shall we just agree that both of the scores are amazing?
POINT: To wrap this up, I don’t think either one of us are going to change our minds.
POINT: Can we agree that Rogue One was at least a GOOD movie?
COUNTERPOINT: I never said I didn’t love it! I just like The Force Awakens more.
POINT: Gotcha. I assume, then, that you’re looking forward to The Last Jedi?
COUNTERPOINT: Does a one-legged rathtar swim in a circle?
COUNTERPOINT: Never mind. Yes, I already have my tickets!
POINT: As do I. Perhaps we should meet again after we see it, and start this all over again?
COUNTERPOINT: Let’s do it!
Until next time, thank you for reading, may the Force be with you, and remember –