My “Force Awakens” review *With Spoilers*
My “Force Awakens” review *With Spoilers*
As a traditionalist wary of changing the beautiful past, I was skeptical going into theater to see Star Wars The Force Awakens last night. Having been burned before (I still have not picked up the pieces from that animated Hobbit prequel to my beloved Lord of the Rings classic) it is understandable that I would be critical when change comes to great things of the past.
Though I was never as invested in Star Wars as I was with Lord of the Rings, I was still invested. Star Wars is after all a legendary series with light sabers, lasers, space travel, and eastern religion. Who would not like that? Exactly. Everyone likes Star Wars and I am no exception to everyone.
But it was more than the “newness” that made me hesitant for the much anticipated film. George Lucas had stepped down and Disney had stepped in—not maybe my prescribed recipe for success. The cherished characters had now become really old, which always brings challenges to any resurrected series. How do you adapt and move on while still keeping Star Wars, Star Wars? The pressure was on for Director J.J. Abrams.
After watching the movie and having some dialogue with friends, I have come to the conclusion that I really liked The Force Awakens. Both new characters Finn and Rey were great additions to the series, and I will have no restraint rooting for their successes in the future. Rey especially was a great female lead role (one that I was slightly skeptical of beforehand) who was strong and yet maintained a youthful femininity.
The effects and visual were top notch as expected—and could never be “overdone” because, after all, it is Star Wars. The music was tremendous, harkening back to older themes; and what was perhaps most important is that it all felt like Star Wars. The scenes looked like Star Wars. The characters looked like Star Wars. Star Wars was back.
In fact, the plot was about identical to Episode 4, but I didn’t mind: A droid carrying top secret information is being hunted by the “Empire” and finds a force sensitive youth. The youth proceeds to escape a future of drab mediocrity on an arid planet and rendezvous with none other than Han Solo and Chewbacca. Together they get roped into a galactic conflict and destroy a colossal weapon with multi-planet disintegrating technology; while throughout, the force sensitive youth discovers the force and a higher calling.
There is a strange feeling that we have been here before, but I found it nostalgic rather redundant. I think most will agree with me.
Hopefully with the success of this movie, the next episode can be a little more free to expand and venture into the new. While I like the old, I want to explore new planets, see new innovations in Star Wars technology, and meet new characters. The new series has achieved its goal: it has earned my trust—and that says a lot.
Thoughts and Questions:
· How did it come to this? How did the grand ending in episode 6 (with the establishment of the New Republic) crumble so quickly and the Empire re-emerge in the form of the First Order? Poor government policies? Leadership vacuum? Crumbling of the family unit? I think the film did a good job bringing viewers up to speed, but I need more details.
· How does Finn go from being a cookie cutter Storm Trooper his entire life—to being a funny, dynamic character with a big personality? Seems strange. His prior life of Storm Trooper training and indoctrination seemed to have no lingering effects.
· Kylo Renn was very disappointing. Let me get this straight, this bad guy who has impeccable mind extracting power, can stop lasers in mid-air, can force choke and force push with Darth Vader like fury—this bad guy is humiliated with ease by a young girl who has never wielded a light saber before in her life?! I guess light saber duels are not one of his strengths. Disappointing.
· Also, keep the mask on Kylo.
· What is with the Empire and destroying planets? If I was an evil Sith Lord, I would want to control and subdue planets—not blow them all up. What will they do when all the planets are gone? To me more planets = more dominion to conquer!
· I am really amazed at how quickly Rey picked up on this whole force thing. In the Old Republic, jedis would train a lifetime (with master apprentice relationships), and only the most elite of elites could reasonably stand up to their dark side counterparts (Remember even Yoda and Mace Windu could not even subdue Darth Sideous). Rey not only reads Kylo Renn’s mind—but (as previously stated) practically slaughters him with a light saber the first time she uses one. Either the force is really, really strong in her—or this is all a stretch.
· I am okay with Han Solo dying. He is old, and if you got to go—getting brutally stabbed by your evil Sith-son is a great way to go.
· Who is Rey? There has to be more to this character. (After talking with friends after words, I am convinced she is Luke’s daughter).
All you Star Wars nerds, let me know your thoughts in the comments.