As I have mentioned Harrison Ford in my last two posts, I though I would tackle the subject of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in this one.
As the release date for the sequel grew closer, I couldn’t help getting a little excited. We booked tickets to go and see it during the opening weekend in the same cinema where I saw the original way back in 1977 (the Savoy cinema in Dublin).
Two things made me want to keep a lid on my growing excitement:
- The disappointment of episode 6 and then episodes 1-3
- The fact that I have never really enjoyed anything by J.J. Abrams (his two “Star Trek” movies were no more than OK).
I’ll start with the good news:
- I enjoyed the movie while I was watching it. It is very well executed
- I liked the characters Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)
- I liked the way they introduced the characters from the old movies (starting with the Millennium Falcon)
- I liked BB-8 (very cleverly done)
The most disappointing thing about the movie BY FAR was that there was no new story! Just a reworking of old stories!
I seem to remember George Lucas lamenting the fact that he had used up his blowing-up-the-death-star idea in the first movie and then he had no new idea so he blew it up again in the third one.
So here we are over 30 years later and Abrams and his team could not come up with a new idea! They just had a much bigger Death Star (and a graphic to show us just how much bigger it was). Pathetic!
And is spite of everything which the rebels achieved in the first 3 movies, there is once again something like an empire, something like an emperor, stormtroopers, and a resistance. How did that happen!
And then they had to rework all that father-son stuff once again. Pathetic!
I guess in hindsight I should have expected some of this: look what Abrams has done with Star Trek after all! But I could not have expected such a lack of fresh thinking.
Some members of the old guard have also been critical:
- Lucas criticised the movie for a failure to innovate. He gave examples of “planets” and “Spaceships” specifically (rather than the failure to have a new story!)
- Samuel L Jackson had some faint praise for the movie during an interview and said “I think the kids need to go to lightsaber fight school” (the fighting was definitely not as good as in episodes 1-3).
Other things I did not like about the movie included:
- Domhnall Gleeson (whom I love as an actor) was wasted as General Hux
- Similarly wasted are Max von Sydow and Gwendoline Christie (so good in Game of Thrones)
- There were far too many unanswered questions (I read – whether it’s true or not – that Abrams has not answered some of these questions himself – leaving them for the makers of the future movies).
The biggest surprise for me in the movie (and it was a very pleasant one) was recognising Yayan Ruhian and subsequently seeking that Iko Uwais was in the movie too (I did not spot him at the time).
I may be in a minority however in being disappointed by the movie. I have seen some fans raving about the movie. And it has a respectable rating of 8.5 on IMDB (episodes 4 and 5 are only slightly higher at 8.7 and 8.8 respectively while the abysmal episode 6 is only slightly lower at 8.4).
Still it could have been worse – at least there are no kids, no Ewoks, and no Jar Jar Binks!
Here is s shot of Rey from the movie: