The obligatory Star Wars Episode VII review has arrived. The Force has awoken and what did it have to show for it…besides a massive block-buster demolition, making it the highest grossing movie of all time (good-by Avatar)? Does it measure up to the originals? The Prequels? As a Star Wars or Science Fiction movie in general? Find out below.
Warning May Contain Spoilers
Credit has to be given of course to the Star Wars Fandom, which was really good about spoilers. So thanks to them, I walked into Star Wars completely untarnished by the opinions of others.
For those who are Star Wars fans, well you’ve probably already seen it, but let me state that it is better than the Prequels…which really isn’t difficult. Did this movie ruin Star Wars? No. Did it improve Star Wars…only by a little if that.
Being bias free I was able to look at the movie as is: an independent film to bring in new audiences as well as a film within a historic franchise. The film does an okay job of bringing in clueless viewers and while the story is independent, very little explanation is given to who Han and Leia are and why they’re important in the grand scheme of the Star Wars genre, beyond characters in this movie. New characters were introduced to captivate new audiences.
Those characters are Poe, a pilot who can fly anything, Finn, a Stormtrooper with a heart and a new outlook on life, Kylo-Ren, this generation’s wanna-be Darth Vader, and the mysterious Ray, our female protagonist without much of a past. Of course, none of the characters really get much backstory to explain their motivations, background, or change in attitude.
There are several plot holes within the film, that I won’t list here for spoiler reasons, and while the story had some merit it was convoluted. Some have argued that the movie needed to be longer in order to accommodate all the information and action. Some things in all honesty could have actually been cut.
There is plot and action and for a movie like this less action would have been desirable. The writers had to tell a big story in a little time. There were new characters to introduce, a plot to build, and old characters to bring back. The Skywalker family is pretty much ignored throughout most of the movie. This is good for new viewers. Still, for a first movie in a new trilogy it would have been far more interesting to develop the bad guys before delivering a devastating blow. We aren’t sure who the New Order is, how they came to be or what their goals are. Sure they terrorize one little town…but why, they want Luke? Okay…for what to kill the one last remaining Jedi? To do what the Empire failed to do? Probably. They’re very disjointed and yeah they destroy a few planets here and there. But why? Not very intimidating overall and yeah they are basically remnants of the Empire and if they’re going to repeat the same mistakes of the Empire they deserve to be defeated.
For those well versed in the original trilogy the parallels between The Force Awakens and A New Hope are blatantly obvious and honestly somewhat irritating to older viewers because of the expectations of something new. And while we are on the subject of the original trilogy can someone explain why in the three decades since the last of the originals was released it seems like technology of the rebellion hasn’t changed all that much? Even Star Trek had ever evolving technology. Picard had things that Kirk didn’t and Janeway had technology the other two didn’t. The lore has to keep changing and evolving. Perhaps they did not get the chance to show that off given how convoluted the film already was.
As you can see…there are subtle, but clearly little difference between the two. Apparently destroying the Empire (oops. I mean New Order) didn’t include designing a lot of new technologies.
There were some good jokes and the themes of the original are intact. But there is very little wowing or new about the movie. It seems just like the old ones, and that’s both good and bad. Overall the film is just okay. It doesn’t deserve any awards or the high praise it has been getting.
Final Grade: C