If you think reading is for chumps check out the video review https://youtu.be/0NLNn4O70ag
Star Wars: The Force Awakens directed by JJ Abrams is it a return to form for the series that hasn’t had a critically well received film for 30 years? So far fan and critical reception has been largely positive and the film making all the money in the world. But nonetheless I have a couple of small issues with the film.
But before all that I’ll talk about the things I liked in the film. Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron is on the surface level the ‘Han Solo’ archetype for the film. He’s a good pilot and is just a nice, lighthearted guy. He evokes the classic 1930’s Errol Flynn swashbuckling hero.
I really enjoyed the character of Rey especially since we don’t get many female leads as good as her. A common theme of blockbuster movies who try to have a ‘strong’ female character is that they only focus on the physical aspects of the character. For example Shrek had a ‘strong’ female character but the movie only thought she was strong because she could do kung fu. But the male characters on the other hand are so much more three dimensional. Using Shrek again the character he is physically strong but mentally he is tormented and repressed. Thankfully Rey breaks away from this movie trope and not a ‘strong’ female character but just a good character. But anyway Rey was funny and clever and could hold her own against the other male characters which is typified when she’s going back and forth with Harrison Ford in the Millennium Falcon.
The other lead is Finn played by John Boyega who is the main protagonist in the first two acts of the film and then Rey takes over as the lead in the third act. But despite this both Finn and Rey have probably equal screen time and they both have solid character arcs.
In the previous six films we’ve seen Jedi, mainly Anakin and Luke being tempted by the dark side and with Kylo Ren the films Darth Vader style villain we get a refreshing change from that. He talks to Snoke being tempted by the light and feeling its pull. Which is almost the exact opposite of what Luke and Anakin were saying in their respective trilogies. Which I found very interesting.
The real name of Kylo Ren is Ben Solo which I infer is probably a reference to Ben Kenobi as in Obi-Wan Kenobi, as in “I have the high ground, don’t try it, or I’ll cut your fucking legs off.” Although this is a touching thing for Leia and Han to name their child it’s a bit weird. I mean Han only met Ben for like 10 minutes and then he just got cut in half.
There is a very subtle lighting in the scene in which Kylo Ren skewers Han Solo.You will notice when Kylo is unsure in his mind the faces of each character are lit red on one side and blue on the other. Representing the duality in Kylo’s psyche. However when Kylo kills Han both faces are lit entirely in red.
An irony I found with this film is that it follows A New Hope in terms of overall structure but fell flat at the very end. The thing that made A New Hope so satisfying was knowing that Tarkin is dead and at the end of this film no villians really die giving us no real closure. This leaves the film feel like somethings missing because at this point we’ve seen a lot of deathstars blow up at this point. You should be pounding your fist in the air when they destroy Star Killer base not looking blankly at the screen.
The third villian in the film is Captain Phasma who parallels Boba Fett as the guy in cool armour who doesn’t really do much. And that is so unfortunate because she had such potential, with her cool armour and hey we don’t get many females in Star Wars so that’s always a plus. The funny thing is she could’ve just replaced one character in a single scene. The stormtrooper who yells ‘traitor’ at Finn during the battle at Maz Kanata’s place should’ve been Phasma and instantly you’ve got a fight that’s more than just a cool lighsaber fight.
Speaking of lightsabers the Skywalker lightsaber is a main McGuffin in the film. With Rey being strongly connected to it. This is conveyed to the audience through a force vision that Rey has. In her vision she hears the combined the vocals of Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness. Which is weird because we don’t hear Anakin’s voice and he was the guy who forged it, but for some reason we hear Luke screaming ‘Nooooooo’. I guess it would make sense because he had it longer than both Luke and Anakin combined and he should count himself that he didn’t lose any limbs when he was in possession of it.
Skywalkers, bad at keeping hands!
Despite my small quibbles the latest Star Wars is a very enjoyable time and an excellent film albeit with issues. Star Wars- The Force Awakens get 4 stars out of five.