Review: Star Wars - The Force Awakens
Director: J. J. Abrams
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford
12A, 135 Minutes
Warning: contains spoilers. Big time!
It has been almost a month since the new Star Wars movie was released, yet the great hysteria around the movie continues, and as much as I would love to say this is happening due to the huge amount of fans of the original films, to my mind this is actually the result of a clever PR campaign around the new one.
Now what's so special about Star Wars? Being a kid of the 90s myself, by the time I got interested in sci-fi the so-called Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, the first of the prequels that disappointed a whole generation of original Star Wars fans, had already been released. It took me years to realise how silly the prequel movies were and what kind of damage they have done to a simple neat story told in Episodes 4-6, but once you start noticing these things it's impossible to un-see them.
Back to the original trilogy: as far as the technology of sci-fi movies is concerned, the first Star Wars movie was groundbreaking: it was a step forward from the cardboard space ships and cheesy visual effects in other movies of the time. Another thing that made the original movie was the plot. An exciting storyline with adventure, action and romance - the characters evolve in front of the audience, and the things they do make perfect sense. That's it really, that's what makes the original movies worth watching for me.
Thirty years later we have Disney trying to revive the story/make more money by playing on the Star Wars fans' feelings. Surprisingly, it worked (if you ask me, that doesn't make the movie any better than average though). We see the old movies' beloved heroes, the Millennium Falcon, references to the old trilogy, and cool special effects, and overall watching this movie didn't hurt as much as it did to watch Attack Of The Clones. Still, something didn't feel right.
In short, here's why The Force Awakens left me disappointed:
1. Unimpressive storyline
A lot of people have been stating that the story is practically a remake of A New Hope, but so far nobody has really mentioned that it's a failure. The Force Awakens was never announced as a remake of any of the original movies, so why do we praise them for doing exactly opposite of what they promised to do? I mean, how many more times should we watch the destruction of the Death Star before it becomes utterly boring?
2. Weak villains
Kylo Ren and Snoke and Hux altogether don't seem threatening enough to justify even the whole existence of The Resistance. Having watched the movie, I didn't quite understand why The Resistance was still there, why they were scared of a bunch of wannabe super villains, and - oh wait, they also mentioned The Republic, right? Has anyone seen The Republic in the movie? Sigh.
3. Unjustified plot decisions
Let me get this straight, so Han Solo had to die because Harrison Ford is too old to be in the next movie? Never mind that the way he was killed destroys a great deal of the character's personality.
4. Holes in the script
The Republic wasn't the only thing that was left out. For instance, the new Jedi seem to know what the Force is and how to use it as soon as they're told they have it in them. To me, that felt more like something from the Harry Potter movies, not Star Wars.
5. General predictability
Basically after the first hour where we get a taste of the old Star Wars awesomeness they take it away by making things so obvious it loses all kinds of logic. The Death Star destruction, the droid being a key to everything, all the main characters being related (thank God for Finn, though let's see, maybe he will turn out to be Boba Fett's distant relative - ugh), Solo's death, the grand finale with Luke - well, I guess I'm old-fashioned, but I like some suspense in my movies.
Having said that, there were some things I enjoyed about The Force Awakens:
- Superb visual effects
- BB-8, the new droid, is super cute
- Chewie's back, and for a little while Han Solo is, too - those two work great together
- The first hour of the movie really brings back the magic of the original Star Wars; maybe that's why I was so disappointed by the second half
A lot of people have told me to go see the movie one more time. Apparently this is supposed to change my perspective and might change my opinion on some of the things mentioned above. Would I go to see The Force Awakens again? Sure, if you're paying and if I don't have to sit through the whole movie.
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