Movie Reviews

Movie Review – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It’s good that Obi-Wan, Yoda and Vader didn’t live to see this. This seventh installment of the Star Wars saga once again proved that the Force is no longer with George Lucas. The Force Awakens failed to live up the standards of the original series.

Let’s begin with the overall story. The bad guys, called “the First Order” this time, are after secret data. (Sound familiar?) The information they’re seeking has been hidden in a droid. (Sound familiar again?) A guy who gets dragged into this situation (John Boyega) and a woman tired of her life on a remote planet (Daisy Ridley) end up with the droid. (Is John Williams’ soundtrack running through your head at this point?) And, here’s the big surprise: they need to get this material to a remote rebel base!

But wait! There’s a problem! The Galactic Empire, I mean, the First Order have designed a weapon powerful enough to destroy a planet! Actually, this one’s so powerful: it can destroy multiple planets at once! (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.)

To make matters even worse for the Rebellion, the bad guys have a really bad guy on their side. This one dresses all in black (real original) and wears a mask! (Adam Driver) Brace yourself for this one: he’s studying the…wait for it…Dark Side of the Force!

Is it really any wonder that R2-D2 battled the robot version of manic depression during the film?

The Force Awakens did have one original plot point. The story began with the quest to find Luke Skywalker. (Mark Hamill) I wondered if he disappeared after reading an advance copy of the script. It turned out that Luke encountered difficulties with one of his student Jedis and decided to throw up his hands, give up and disappear. Apparently, the Jedi are going through a rebuilding phase.

Then there was the “Rebellion.” After three movies of “rebelling” against the Gallactic Empire, they’re “rebelling” again. That’s all they ever do. Do they know how to do anything else? The way this is going, they should change their name to the Conservatives.

And what’s with the rebel army? It seems like everyone in it becomes a general. Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) received her stars prior to the movie’s beginning. About the only person in the organization who’s not a general is Admiral Akbar. I’m wondering if he’s going to fill out his transfer papers in the next movie.

And then we have the First Order. Their talent pool isn’t much deeper than the rebellion’s. Kylo Ren had the maturity of a two year old. That’s not a good trait in someone supposed to instill terror into the hearts of his enemies. Numerous times he lost his temper and smashed things with his light saber. In addition, he didn’t have “daddy issues”, he had “granddaddy issues.”

I found Poe Dameron (played by Oscar Isaac) The most interesting character in this film. Unfortunately, he only appeared on screen for about five minutes. He crash landed a TIE Fighter after escaping the First Order. As quicksand absorbed the craft I presumed him dead. Then with no explanation he showed up with the Rebel fighters to attack the enemy. It would’ve been nice to know how he escaped that harrowing situation.

I also couldn’t stand the soundtrack. It’s not that I didn’t like the music, though. To my ears it sounded identical to the one in the original 1977 film; and I mean note-for-note. Just a thought, but maybe it’s time to give John Williams a rest and bring in some new talent. How about asking Danny Elfman to score the next picture?

To be fair, the movie did have some excellent action sequences. I liked how Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) stole the Millenium Falcon and led TIE Fighters on a wild chase through the desert. The scene on Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) freighter where they had to fight bounty hunters while corralling monsters was well done, too.

For some reason while watching The Force Awakens I kept thinking back to the first film. The original Star Wars contained excellent action along with a compelling story and memorable protagonist. I found every facet of this movie a weak carbon copy of it. No amount of adventure can compensate for a banal script.

If someone asks me to watch this flick again, I’ll make the Kessel Run at five parceps to avoid it.

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