Awakening Force

Wednesday January 20, 2016 at 12:45pm movies, star wars Comments (0) »
 © Star Wars: The Force Awakens
© Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I don't go to the theatre often.  Before last night, the last time I'd seen a movie in a theatre was the summer of 2012.  I actually have to be in the right mood to even want to watch a movie (though, the theatre experience does make it come much more easily).  I kind of have a hard time with passive entertainment like moves, books, tv shows, etc.  I can do it for a while, but I tend to want to do something creative more often.

But this was different.  This was Star Wars.

Like a lot of people, I always loved Star Wars - especially when I was a kid.  Also, like a lot of people, I thought the "Prequel" movies were, at best "meh" and, at worst, "awful".  Honestly, I'm pretty easily amused, and I can enjoy watching pretty much anything when it comes to Sci-Fi.  I can seriously nit-pick, too, however.

When this latest movie came out, I heard a lot of positive things - with many people saying that it felt much more like the original trilogy than the prequels.  And that was the reason that I was excited about it.  So, a month after release, Sheri and I finally went to see it.

First off, the movie was good.  We had a good time watching it, and talking about it thereafter.  If you like this sort of thing and you haven't seen it yet, you should.  Really.  Also, you should stop reading, because I'm about to spoil some things.


Things I liked (read: "Yay!"):

- In terms of narrative and screenplay, it did feel quite a bit like the original trilogy.  This was probably the most important thing to me, and I think it did a good job.  The directoral and visual style/feel was a bit more modern, however - but, though this did degrade the consistency in feel a little for me, I think it would have been a mistake to have shot it in an older style.  Also, there may not actually be any more difference between 6 and 7 than there was between 4 and 5.

- Inclusion of characters and actors from the original trilogy - and that those characters were totally consistent with their prior selves.  This was a simple but effective means of series cohesion.

- The new characters were well-developed and compatible with the setting.  Particularly love the "fallen" storm trooper.

- The action scenes were dynamic and exciting (my favorite was the escape from Jakku in the Falcon).

- Visuals were stunning but without an in-your-face, look-at-our-fancy-effects attitude.

Things I didn't like (read: "nit-picks"):

- The nominal goal of the story/protagonists: trying to recover a "map to Luke".  Really?  A "map" to a person?  Seemed a bit...trite.  Also, that the Resistance should be convinced that this one person is critical seems kind of dubious.

- R2's sudden awakening seemed to come out of nowhere, yet nothing was made of it suggesting that there might have been a cause beyond ex machina (e.g. even someone saying "what could have caused that to happen?") - and, of course, he has the rest of what they were looking for all the time. 

- The scope-creep of the ever-larger super weapon that must be destroyed.  Also, some of the other direct, plot-level duplications: the droid that has the missing piece, the nobody from the sand planet, the villain related to a protagonist, the "cantina scene" etc.  Don't get me wrong, all of this was well done, it just didn't win prizes for originality.  Also, I don't know what I would have preferred in its stead - it all was very "star wars".

- I would have ended the movie with Rey and Chewie flying off in the Falcon.  While I just complained (a little) about things being copied from the originals in terms of plot, that would have been a nice nod to the end of Empire.  The scene with Luke I found to be a little...meh...and it didn't really add much.  Though it might have dissappointed some people, I think they should have started with that on 8 so they could develop it.

- Also (biggest spoiler) Han Solo's death.  No no - the scene was dramatic and well done.  And really, it was the only way someone like Solo could die.  My reasons for disliking it are simply that I hated to see the character end.  If it was a character I hadn't known since childhood, I'm sure I'd have applauded it.  But I just...can't.  :(


There is probably another thing or two on each side of the ledger, but I think those were the big ones.  Though perhaps not perfect, it was a great time.  Definitely worth going to see.



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