Fans and critics have been sharply divided in their opinion over Star Wars: The Force Awakens. For the detractors, the launch of the new trilogy is a simple re-hashing of plot elements from the original trilogy whilst the supporters feel that the movie has injected a freshness into the franchise after the disappointment of the prequel trilogy.

Stepping back from this argument, one realises is that it is in the nature of the beast itself – by definition a movie franchise carries with it distinctive character types, familiar plot points and the possibility of constant rebooting.

This is an issue that fans of superhero comics are well versed with – considering that most of the beloved superheroes have been around for decades, the need to constantly update storylines and freshen up the characters themselves is a commercial necessity.

There is no escaping this fact – franchise and branding go hand in hand and movie goers have proven time and again that they will pay to watch a franchise movie for that familiar branding – to recreate the experience associated with that ‘quality’ brand. These factors are now pre-requisites to box-office success and are more important than well-written characters or a sophisticated plot structure.

That explains why the biggest movies in recent times have all been franchise movies. Transformers: Age of Extinction, Jurassic World, Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: The Force Awakens have all surpassed a billion US dollars worldwide. Not surprising then that 2017 is also filled with potential blockbusting franchise movies viz. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, Star Trek Beyond, Finding Dory, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Ghostbusters, Independence Day: Resurgence, Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, X-Men: Apocalypse, Zoolander 2, Warcraft and even a Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One.

Whilst no doubt, fans of these brands will be ecstatic, one wonders where the inventive (original) scifi movies will come from.

Indie film.

Yes, indie scifi film is the answer to your cutting edge movie pangs. In the last few years, we have had the likes of Coherence, Predestination, Project Almanac, Chronicle, Ex Machina etc provide us geeks with sophisticated original stories. However, of course, these films are by definition low budget and poorly distributed so it takes some effort to seek and find such gems. Which I guess only adds to the experience. Hopefully, Power of Pop can help in that particular endeavour.

… still there’s more …