Every once in a while I like to write a small review of a movie I’ve seen. Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now the fastest movie to ever reach $1 Billion worldwide, it seems fitting to write a little about my feelings about the movie. If you have not seen the movie yet, this is a good time to click over to another site, because it is littered with spoilers throughout.
Still here? OK.
First of all, this was a good movie. It was entertaining, included great special effects, and harkened the older viewers (like myself) back to 1977 and our first visions of the Skywalker clan.
And yet, I came away feeling the hype was way over blown, and my friends who thought this was the greatest movie ever somehow got it wrong. It took me a bit to process it all, but it came down to this: I was watching more of a 1977 remake than a franchise reboot. And that disappointed me.
We see these same kinds of scenes played out in both movies:
- Luke Skywalker is an orphan raised on a desert planet riding around on a hover car and desperately wanting to get off the planet. Rey is an orphan raised on a desert planet riding around on a hover motorcycle-looking contraption and desperately wanting to leave the planet, but afraid to do so because she hopes her parents will return someday. Granted, from there the two characters diverge radically. Luke is a whiny teenager prone to temper tantrums while Rey is a valiant, no-holds barred, strong character who evidently knows a lot more about mechanics than she could ever have learned picking over old ship debris.
- Although he didn’t need the mask and voice manipulation, Ben Solo takes on a persona reminiscent of Darth Vader with his black helmet and flowing black clothing. They both talk to holographic images of their dark lord leader. Darth Vader feels a disturbance in the force when Luke is nearby. Ben feels one when Han is nearby. Again, their characters diverge hugely as well. Darth is strong-willed and confident in his role within the dark side of the Force. Ben…well, Ben is the equivalent of Luke Skywalker’s snot-nosed, little boy tantrum, self who has no real identity of his own other than some teenage rebellion that never really got out of his system.
- Princess Leia has a really weird scene in a bikini with Jabba the Hut. In this new movie the spy for the bad guys is a prostitute in a bikini next to a Jabba type character. Did we really need reminding as badly as that?
- Darth and Luke meet on a catwalk for their final light saber duel before Luke’s hand is severed. Ben and Han meet on a catwalk for their final time before Ben runs him through with his light saber (like we didn’t see that coming).
- One has a Death Star. One has a Death Planet. Its odd, because with all the technological advances necessary to build the Starkiller in 30 years or so, none of the military weaponry has advanced at all.
And then there is just simply the bad parts of storytelling.
- Out of the hundreds of thousands of stormtroopers, there is only one, Finn, who still has a conscience. Is he the son of Lando Calrissian? I’m not really sure we care. He has great heart, but he’s not courageous the way Rey is.
- When Han is killed, Leia knows. While she has some connection to the Force through her own lineage, this just seemed contrived to me. It would have been so much better for someone to return and tell her. The way it was portrayed there is little drama associated with her feelings. Something was lost for me.
- People can walk for miles and miles in the space of about 2 minutes. Just before the Starkiller is set to explode, Rey and Finn have walked at least a mile in 2 minutes flat. Even in space fantasies we shouldn’t have to suspend ALL of our disbelief.
And let’s not forget the ONE thing Disney left out that would have made the entire movie better:
- When Han and Leia finally talk about their feelings for one another in the original trilogy, Leia tells Han she loves him. Han replies, “I know.” It would have been SO cool during their reunion in this movie for Han to tell Leia that he loves her and have Leia respond with, “I know.” What a missed opportunity.
Of course, with all of that, it was still a very good movie. It opens us up to questions we all want answered. What happened to Luke? Did he go into self-imposed exile because he was afraid of going over to the dark side himself? And who is Rey? Someone online has speculated she is Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter. It would explain why she has such a powerful understanding of the Force before receiving any training. Will Ben Solo ever really grow up to be a true villain? They need one. In this movie he wasn’t really it. And, of course, the question all of us want to know, will we ever see the Ewoks again?
Your thoughts? Feel free to comment below.