22 December 2015

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

First of all, I want to apologise for this review being late. I was in the middle of writing my review for The Handmaid's Tale when I saw this movie last Friday.

I have to be honest in my reviews, and honestly, I didn't like The Force Awakens. I was very disappointed by this movie. And before I get eaten alive by the fanboys, let me say that I wanted to like The Force Awakens. I went in with a lot of hope and high expectations.

And, this is a spoiler free review. Also, it's a long review. I hate writing long reviews, but I have a lot to say about this movie.

My major complaint about The Force Awakens is the script. Abrams, Kasdan and Arndt basically rewrote the whole original trilogy, plot point by plot point. There is nothing original in this story. The story is so recycled that it becomes predictable. There are scenes in this movie that are supposed to be filled with tension and have you wondering what's going to happen next, but I knew exactly how they were going to end.

It is appalling how recycled this movie is. For instance, the story begins on a desert planet that is not Tatooine, but it looks exactly like Tatooine. I can actually write a whole post about the similarities between The Force Awakens and the original trilogy. And it will be a damn long post.

And this has nothing to do with this movie being set in the same Universe as the OT. It's not an excuse to be recycling the story. Same Universe or not, a movie needs to be original and innovating. The Force Awakens fails to be both.

The original trio - the one that Disney bated us with - has been completely wasted in this movie. Such a shame too, because obviously Luke, Leia and Han have been through a lot during these thirty years, but those events are only mentioned briefly, in between jokes and punchlines. Jokes and punchlines, that after twenty or so minutes become as recycled as the movie itself.

The new heroes are likable. But we have virtually no time to get to know them. In the original movie, we had plenty of time to get to know Luke, before he set out to Alderaan with Kenobi. We knew his motivations, we knew what kind of person he was and what his dreams were. These new characters have as much emotional depth as a pair of ewoks. And it's not the actors' fault. Ridley and Boyega are good actors. They are, perhaps, the only good thing about this movie. Again, it's the writing that fails us.


Speaking of depth, this movie has none. Star Wars is more than just a fun space adventure. All six movies - yes, even the prequels - have depth to them. This is why I love Star Wars. In between the action scenes, there are characters to get to know, there are themes to explore. There are conflicts that need to be resolved. There is no depth in this movie. They don't even take the time to set up the world, to explain what has been going on during these past thirty years. The movie is so fast-paced and chopped, that there is no time to take a break and explain a few things, like the Force. Remember when Kenobi sat down with Luke and explained to him how the Force worked? Yeah, there are no scenes like that in this movie. It's like the writers just assume that we know all the important parts.

Lucas may have dropped the ball on the prequels when it comes to acting, dialogue and practical effects, but at least he had a vision with these movies. Star Wars is his baby, and no matter how we fans may feel about him, there is no Star Wars without Lucas' input. I read that Disney rejected every idea he came up with for the sequel. Well, maybe they should have listened. At least he had a vision, a story he wanted to tell. What vision did Abrams have? What story did he want to tell? I'm not being sarcastic here, I really want to know.

When Disney bought Lucafilm from old George, it was only a matter of time before they would start planning a new trilogy in order to get their money back. I understand that this movie is a cash grab. Yes, they are milking it. But that fact should not stop them from at least trying to write a decent script and coming up with fresh material. Instead they thought it was enough to rely on the loyalty of the fans and push our nostalgia buttons. We'll see anything, as long as it has a Star Wars logo on it, right?

The Force Awakens is not a sequel to Return of the Jedi, it's a reboot of the whole original trilogy. At best. Because sometimes it felt like I was watching a fan made film with a budget of two hundred million dollars.

If you disagree with me, and if The Force Awakens is exactly what you wanted in a Star Wars movie, then I'm truly happy for you. I, for one, will not be watching this movie again. I gave it 3/10 stars on IMDB.

As far as sequels go, The Force Awakens is my biggest disappointment since Terminator 3.

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