December 19, 2015
As an external processor, and someone who enjoys writing, as well as science fiction, I thought it would be best to combine the three into my list of what I thoroughly enjoyed, and what might have been better, for the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie.
I’ll briefly start by saying I completely loved the new movie and have some plans to see it again. My criticisms are my own, and no one else may share them, and that’s okay. Also, I will try to speak to generalities, so that those who haven’t seen the movie won’t be spoiled, but those who have, will understand.
What I liked:
True to the past. The new movie is a fantastic extension of the original trilogy. Abrams takes all the parts and pieces that we love from A New Hope and The Return of the Jedi to create a new classic within the franchise. While as a fan this can lead to some predictability, it does so with the audience along for the ride, and even adding a bit of humor when appropriate. Speaking of humor …
J. J. Abrams. Yep, I love what he did with the movie. Within the first 120 seconds, I knew I was seeing one of his creations. His unique stamp on projects is instantly felt and helps not just honor the original trilogy, but also builds into a new tradition for a new generation. His use of humor to break the tension within the continuation of this epic saga is both appropriate, surprising, if not a bit alarming at first. But well worth it.
Characters old and new. Throughout the ENTIRE movie, it’s a brilliantly woven story that integrates near flawlessly the original cast, as their characters, with new faces and leaders that are sure to be fan favorites. One possible spoiler here (continue on to next bullet if you don’t want to read) is the breaking of the gender roles within the rebellion. I noticed almost instantly that women were part of the crew, mechanics, leadership (even on the dark side) and were also pilots of the X Wing spacecraft. Well done Abrams.
Music. Mic dropped. I’ve been a huge fan of John Williams’ scores for as long as I can remember, and while there isn’t a large amount of new music, the sound editing of his brilliant classic is so perfectly layered building emotion and feeling that does what it should, exactly when it should, bringing viewers each and every moment. I’ve already started shopping the soundtrack, as I do have all the previous trilogies.
Success at seven. Yes, this is the seventh full feature movie of the franchise, which isn’t done often, but has done so incredibly well. I honestly never hated the prequel trilogy as much as fans have berated the plots, characters, cast, etc. And in true Star Wars fashion, the ending leaves everyone wanting more, but provides much of the movie closure that fans missed with Empire Strikes Back and The Phantom Menace.
Okay, what I didn’t care for, or could have been better:
Predictable, at points. This is likely a challenge of simply writing and creating an “original” piece of artwork that can still harken to the previous six movies. However, the plot was a bit more predictable than I had expected wanting. Abrams does a good job with several directing mechanics and the script (see point above on humor), and is overall somewhat resolved with a few of the origin stories of the new characters, while leaving us wanting more on several others.
Final battle scene. This likely goes to the above, but should be called out separately, as did anyone expect it to end differently? We’ve seen it before (see predictability AND the usage of the mechanics of the original trilogy). I won’t say much more here, but even the “size” of both the rebels and the First Order seemed out of scope, especially for a galaxy far, far away.
The Millennium Falcon. It’s back, shocking, we all know this. But its own story within the movie feels forced in an attempt to bring everyone back together. While the ship has seen better days, and moments aboard are familiar for fans as they’re experienced by characters old and new, I’m curious why new and restored isn’t the approach. The ship absolutely serves a purpose within the story, and as a storytelling device. I just think it could have been better.
Kylo Ren’s mask. Seriously? We needed to give him a menacing mask, which he takes off only when he needs to be “vulnerable” or crazy menacing with his mind. I get whyit adds to his character, but it just seems dumb. Couldn’t they deliver a better, smarter way of creating his origin story to inspire the need for the mask? I get we’re supposed to think it’s an hommage, tribute, whatever. I simply think it could have been integrated better, verses what comes across as a Bat Man movie mechanism.
Plot holes. Yeah, I’m sure this is where I’ll get yelled at, and I’m by no means supporting an authentic, unquestionable story line, but even the characters point it out from time to time. For me, it’s the new First Order mega weapon, which seems to be built for one or two uses. Maybe I missed a key element, which I’ll try to circle-back on when I rewatch, but all that work for something that functions twice? Really? I understand it’s supposed to be, “epic” and this is one way to do it, but maybe explaining more of, “how,” or “what’s next,” would help justify the need for its destruction.
Yeah, I’m quibbling here at the end, which is why I’m finished.
I truly hope you enjoyed the movie as much as I did and see it hundreds of times.
BB-8, C-3P0, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Leia, Movie, R2-D2, Star Wars, The Force Awakens,