Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 2 hr. 5 min
I so wanted to love this. As each trailer landed, I watched them (several times each), tears welling up in my eyes as John Williams’ score blasted over iconic yet juicy new footage of the Millennium Falcon being chased by Tie Fighters. This would be the one that washes away the bad memories of the prequels, and restore balance to the force. I tried not to let the hype get to me. Remember the prequels I said to myself, remember the prequels.
I left the theater today, crestfallen.
There are moments, but the prequels had moments too. BB-8 is adorable, and a fantastic new addition to this universe of characters. Its new (relatively unknown) stars, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega do well despite their character’s patchwork development, and Adam Driver is a layered, if somewhat light representative of the darker side of the force. This is a Star Wars movie for a new generation. One that can’t sit still for more than 3 minutes, and take the time to properly set goals for its players, or patiently tell a story that makes sense. Cause leading to effect, putting situations, places and people together and give them a logical reason for being.
The Force Awakens is loaded with contrivances, and once the dust settles after this massive movie’s opening weekend, I suspect people’s minds will start to look past the nostalgia and razzle-dazzle CGI, and ask some important questions. Like how some characters just seem to know how to fly ships they’re not familiar with well enough to fight off their more seasoned opposition. And how others who discover their connection to this universe’s magical elements, can suddenly pull off Jedi tricks with no training.
For me, it was too much to forgive. A recycled plot, convenient turns in the story and poor character development. This film will make a lot of money, but so did the prequels. I just wonder how long people will wear the rose-tinted glasses this time around.
This looks and sounds like a Star Wars film, but the devil is in the details. If you care about them – this film might disappoint. If you’re looking for some nostalgic fun and epic battles, then you should enjoy this film. The Force Awakens is rated PG-13 for some moments of intense science fantasy violence.
It’s a Star Wars film – of course you NEED to see this in a movie theater!
Best Element: << mild spoiler >>
BB-8. A great character, and a joy to watch as it interacts with the live action cast. Its little thumbs up moment with Finn (John Boyega) was a highlight.