- Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:40 am
I already gave a pretty elaborate review of what I thought of Rogue One, and I don't think it needs repeating. Movies can be enjoyed on multiple levels, and what one person enjoys, another person might not.
But instead, let me share why I enjoyed The Force Awakens.
I'm not a big fan of JJ Abrams. I disliked his Star Trek movies, because they were loud, noisy, shaky, and didn't do justice to the spirit of the original show (in my opinion). I thought it had very little world building, or interesting cinematography. One of my most favorite scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy for example, is that classic shot from the Empire Strikes Back, where this massive shadow of a Super Star Destroyer slowly falls over a normal Star Destroyer, while John Williams' iconic score plays. It is a perfect example of how sometimes in a movie all you need is images and music to communicate something to the audience. This is also what I loved about the opening of the original Star Wars. So, having seen those new Star Trek movies, I was not expecting to see any of that sort of interesting cinematography in the Force Awakens. I was stunned to see the opening that we got: A massive black silhouette of a Star Destroyer slowly obscures a moon. I loved that.
The Force Awakens has a fantastic opening act. We see the Storm Troopers actually killing people, and torching a village. It effectively sets up three characters: Poe Dameron, Finn and Kylo Ren. The film makers clearly knew that they needed to have an iconic opening for their new villain. I also like Poe Dameron's brief exchange with the old man:
"You have to hide."
-"You have to leave"
I also loved how Kylo Ren freezes a blaster bolt in mid air. I like that they are showing us new ways in which the force can be used. In fact, everything about the opening act, well up to Jakku, with the introduction of Rey, and her and Finn escaping in the Falcon, is brilliantly paced. They also take their time to show who Rey is, without wasting too much dialogue on it. The vistas of this giant starship graveyard are fantastic examples of world building through just visuals.
I feared that I might not like any of the characters. I feared that Kylo Ren would simply be a copy of Darth Vader, but I like what they did with him. Instead he is a misguided and conflicted villain, who idolized Vader, and does not know about his turn to the light side at the end of RotJ. It's great to have a character who is an ex-stormtrooper, and I've always wanted to see a female Jedi. I don't quite understand some of the criticism that the movie is doing nothing new. It seems that they do quite a lot of new things. Especially what they do with Han Solo.
The movie is not without its faults though, and I can see that. The carbon copy trenchrun was not needed, and Snoke is not a very menacing name for a villain (plus they should not have used a CGI character for him). I also think the whole "map to Luke Skywalker" plot is very weak. But there is also just so much to like.
If I had children, I would not be ashamed to have this be the first film to introduce them to Star Wars. I would probably skip over the prequels (no offence to those who like them, but I thought they were embarassing). The Force Awakens is a soft reboot, that includes the original cast, but introduces new main characters, while also including all the ingredients that people loved about the original movie. It also made lightsabers cool again. I really love the restraint they showed with the lightsaber, and the final duel was really good. The lightsaber is one of those iconic movie weapons that you shouldn't see too much of, or it stops being special. And that in my opinion, is one of the big mistakes of the prequels.
There are many ways to reboot a beloved franchise, and I think this is the way to do it. You stay true to the admosphere and style of the original films, and do a gentle passing-of-the-torch with the old actors. A great example of how not to do it, would be the recent Ghostbusters, which missed the tone of the original films entirely, went out of its way to mock/insult the fans of the original films, and disregarded what happened in the previous films entirely. Or Jurassic World: Michael Crichton would be rolling in his grave at the mention of weaponized dinosaurs. Are normal dinosaurs not exciting enough? Do we need to have mutants, Hollywood?
So, I'm excited for the new film. I hope they are not afraid to go a bit dark, like in The Empire Strikes Back. But I also hope they don't try to literally copy The Empire Strikes Back beat for beat. I think that would be a mistake. Seeing what looks like emperial walkers in the trailer, also has me a little worried. Are we also going to see Rey lose her hand/arm in this? I think now would be the time for the new movies to do their own thing, and not look back too much.
Last edited by Imaculata on Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.