A review of the new star wars movie
|After first a 15 year absence from the big screen, followed a couple years after that with the obligatory and doomed to fail prequels, we are finally given a completely new fresh slated continuation of the Star Wars series. Picking up 30 years after the events that ended "The Return of the Jedi", "The Force Awakens" aspires to bring back our beloved heroes of the original trilogy while introducing the characters set to inhabit the galaxy of the new trilogy.
The film I will say fulfills this achievement, as it achieves many of the cinematic accolades affiliated with the revered space-opera series and yet it is not without it's shortcomings. Ultimately I can summarize the experience as a fine sci-fi adventure, yet after reading review after review promising what I had been for years been longing for, that star wars "feel". That all-engrossing, captivated, invested in the characters, on the edge of your seat, wanting to jump up out of your seat and cheer for the good guys type movie going experience that ONLY Star Wars can produce. I cannot say this movie inspired that in me.
The Good: The opening scrawl, fills you in on Luke, the past trilogy's main character, lets you know about the current state of the galaxy and introduces the new bad guys. Given these things are mostly limited to about three short paragraphs, what more could you want?
The settings and sets. Even though the pass through the desert, forest and ice worlds may seem a bit a conservative chore, there isn't much room to have done more given the circumstances. The sets revolved around the "First Order", this trilogy's new "Empire" (Which isn't as memorable, having gotten out of the theaters a few hours ago I had to look up, almost calling it the "New Order"), were well done. I have to say the most immersive points for me besides the obvious Millennium Falcon scenes were the ones where I found myself in enemy territory.
The main characters. Excellent casting work here. The movie could not have succeeded without it. Always strong point of the original trilogy, I'm glad they took they're time with auditions to get those specific type individuals that were just born to belong in the Star Wars Universe.
The Bad: The music. Not bad enough to be ugly, but certainly not up to Star Wars standards. I suppose you can blame it on an old, disinterested John Williams. I have a feeling he works best with George Lucas.
The side-characters. I don't mean like Chewie and C-3PO, in fact they were particularly outstanding with their role reprisals. I mean those quick stop, move along the story, in the background type characters. You may think this an insignificant detail but in the Star Wars series it stands to have become to me a crucial factor in the immersion equation. When you think back to how memorable and inspired the inhabitants of the Canteena Bar of "A New Hope" or the servants in Jabba's Palace in "Return" were, it's an important layer of texture that add tremendous depth and immersion. The chick with the glasses at the bar, those things that attack the Millennium Falcon, even the guy given out the rations on the desert planet were not given the treatment they needed, evoking more of a "WTF" type of a response rather than the "ahh, Star Wars" effect you look for.
The story. Not as big a deal as you'd think. Given the movie's pace, the over abundance of characters and the fact it's the first in the series. It was just there were too many ideas plucked right out of the original with expanded size and scale, had you going "That's just like in ____" too much.
The Ugly: The Villains. Villains are more to a movie than you think, this is doubled in the Star Wars Universe having had such a storied cast of baddies to tout. Part of me feels they did the best they could the with bad guys and there is no living up to names like "Vader, Jabba, Boba Fett". Then again you know things simply cannot go well when the characters designed to invoke fear and terror turn into a laughing stock.
The Twist. I won't give it away, though it has been so speculated upon you probably know what I'm talking about. I was in denial with the theories prior believing there was no way to successfully pull it off. About the twist I'll say you see it coming a mile away, it was so poorly executed and it leaves you feeling no remorse for one of the series' most beloved characters.
The Ending. Not as bad as you'd think until to stop to think what potential there could have been with only a couple lines of a badass monologue. To reuse a joke from earlier in the movie to berate the ending "So you going to talk first or me. How we going to do this?"
Side Notes: Even though I didn't find myself laughing much, I do recognize the successful reintegration of humor this series has sorely needed.
Dog fights and ground assaults rocked. Light saber fights were meh.
The cinematography has it's moments.
Too early to score before hype wears off. To any Star Wars fan I'd say go see it, but you'd enjoy it more, or be less disappointed if you look at it creatively as a spiritual successor to the prequel trilogy than to the actual successor to the original trilogy it really is.