As I sit here, reflecting on the movie I just saw, I am afraid to write this review.
My weariness of the promotional oversaturation is no secret to those who know me. I just couldn’t fathom how so many people got so pumped for a continuation of a franchise where half of the movies are just plain bad.
However, two weeks ago, the bug bit me and I got excited for a blockbuster that didn’t have superheroes punching each other. I even held off from creating my top ten list of 2015 because I was saving The Force Awakens a spot wherever it liked.
All that said, George Lucas was right, JJ Abrams has created a movie that fans will like. The Force Awakens will not make you cringe through racial stereotypes, wooden acting or goofy characters. In fact, there is only a passing reference to the prequels.
Daisy Ridley as Rey is the type of character that’s easy to love. Much like Leia in the original trilogy, she is a proactive hero that never need rely on anyone to make her decisions. Like Luke in THE trilogy, this is her hero’s journey and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.
John Boyega as Finn is a dynamic character that the audience will relate to most. He is a passerby in the rush of space drama that unfolds around him. He provides the majority of the comic relief, without ever becoming annoying.
These two characters are the best new thing about Episode VII. I wanted Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to play a bigger role, but he’s just subjected to being a great pilot that shows up infrequently. I’m hoping for a more 3-dimensional character in the future installments.
No seriously, this is Star Wars episode IV: A New Hope. It just has a very shiny coat.
I’m writing this review with no intention of giving any story details. The only problem is, you’ve seen the entire story laid out from the 1977 classic. Abrams is clearly a fanboy of the first movie and it’s all too evident by the direct rips from it. In a big way, TFA suffers from a Star Trek Into Darkness vibe. The big reveals are weightless and are lazy retreads.
I’m already sensing the eye-rolling and the standard “Kenny is a cynical hipster” comments. Let them come I suppose. I wanted to love this movie so that the old Star Wars magic could return. I understand that most people will love this movie. I view it as Kool-Aid. And the Kool-Aid is flat.
I’m not sure whether it was the uninspired score or that constant references to the old trilogy were thrown in my face, but I sadly felt detached. Moments that were meant to be sad, weren’t. Moments that were meant to be exciting, felt predictable. As bad as the prequels were, at least they had a pulse and they tried to tell a new story.
Ugh, I’m defending the prequels now? What have you done to me Force Awakens?
If you’ve never seen a Star Wars movie, this flick may be the coolest thing to ever happen to you, if you can look past the plot conveniences, chain-smoking Leia and a villain straight out of The Hobbit. That said, we’ve all seen A New Hope. Why do we need another one?
After all this, I lean to the positive side. The Force Awakens is a perfectly watchable movie. Seeing Han Solo and Chewie back together in the Millenium Falcon brought a ton of nostalgic love to my apparent cold chest cavity.
I am excited to see what director/writer Rian Johnson does with Episode VIII. Though, at this point I’m worried we’ll see a shiny Empire Strikes Back.
I’ll give everyone a few months before they get over The Phantom Menace-level hype and hope that we can be happy with the B- it deserves. For now, the Force Awakens just hit the snooze button. If you want to discuss more of the specific problems with the movie, let’s take it offline to avoid giving spoilers.
P.S. BB-8 is adorable
P.S.2. Please don’t hate me