THE LIGHT AND THE DARK SIDE OF ‘STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS’.
When the closing credit rolled on “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” way back in 1983, fanboys dreamed of one day seeing the rumored first and third trilogies creator George Lucas had in his mind.
In 1999, we finally returned to that galaxy far, far away. But episodes I, II & II left us uninspired and we didn’t feel the force flow as we had hoped. So it was with mixed emotions when the Disney acquired Lucasfilm for a whopping $4 billon and announced Episodes VII, VIII & IX. After Lucas tinkered and tinkered…AND TINKERED with our beloved story (Han shot first), I felt “cautiously optimistic” that someone was ready to tackle “Star Wars” again.
But knowing the Disney machine, I was worried about how they would over-saturate the world with “Star Wars” and make it less special.
Enter J.J. Abrams. My optimism turned to “Hope”. Abrams reboot of “Star Trek” fueled my enthusiasm. Yes, I am a fan of the reboot. So like many fans, I counted the days, building up the release of “The Force Awakens” in my head. I reached unreachable expectations. But I pulled back so I didn’t disappoint myself and finally went in with and open mind and encouraged expectations.
As the credits rolled, I turned to my family and asked what they though. My wife, not really into “Star Wars” (gasp) said she liked it. My daughter, a somewhat bigger fan, said she really liked it a lot. Me? This geeky super fan that had been waiting for this since 1983? I said I liked it…A lot. But didn’t love it.
Spoiler Free Details: There will be nothing below to give away the details of the film. But if you’ve seen the trailers, the movie posters and even a few interviews, none of the following should give anything away.
“The Force Awakens” has all the elements of a great “Star Wars” film; vast planets, most impressive effects, strong characters new and old, new creatures and a return of conventional effects and real settings, unlike the CGI-ridden prequels.
It’s a ride across the galaxy everyone should enjoy. The dialog is strong, unlike George Lucas’ writing. (There I said it – discuss). The action is on-point, the Falcon, the lightsabers and stormtroopers can actually hit something, even if it’s standing in front of them. And “The Force” awakens at one point of the film which should have audiences cheering. Even the light-hearted moments and jokes are extremely well done.
The characters are strong with this one. Finn, Poe and especially Rey are solid characters. Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey, is and will be the Han Solo of the franchise. Add in loveable BB-8 and the new band of heroes will win your heart.
And let’s not forget our beloved original heroes, Han Solo, now General Leia Organa, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. You can’t help but get choked up upon their return. Luke isn’t seen in any promo or trailer prior to the movies release. So we won’t comment on him.
On the dark side, “The New Order” villains Kylo Ren, General Hux, Captain Phasma and Supreme Leader Snoke, are a mix of true evil and a subpar baddies. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is a perfect blend of pure evil. Conflicted, heartless and an emotional badass. This tormented soul is everything Anakin Skywalker should have been in the prequels and he does a hell of job doing it.
Hux and Captain Phasma never gel properly, with Phasma having very little to do. A great concept of a female villain, but she never gets her moments.
As for Snoke, we’ll keep him shrouded in mystery, exactly as they did in the original trilogy…and there lies the problem.
The movie is good. Damn good at times. But it’s laced with many confusing plotholes and problems. So much of the story is riddled with an attempt to remake “Episode IV: A New Hope”. The heroine is from a desert planet (Luke on Tatoonie). The villains have a superweapon (the Death Star). There is a race to find a droid who has something the New Order wants. ( the droids we’re looking for). There is even a bar scene reminiscent of the original Cantina scene.
Without giving away major plot points, I can’t detail the reason I was disappointed.
Maybe many of the potholes and issues will be answered in the next chapter. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just poor writing. But we won’t know for sure until “Episode VIII”.
Am I being too critical? That’s possible. Only time will tell. Hell, I originally loved “Attack of the Clones” when I walked out of the theater. But I came to my senses like I was doing the walk of shame.
Fans, casual and die hard, should enjoy it. Love it even. A few will hate what Abrams did to the franchise, much like those who hate what he did to “Star Trek”. I can finally understand that point of view.
Now, please excuse me. As a fanboy, I have to go spend another $15 dollars and see it again.