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Star Wars

[Warning: Spoilers!]

Star Wars

 

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

Today was the day that I had been waiting for for a decade.
Ever since Star Wars Episode III marked the ending of the Skywalker saga, I and millions of other fans from around the world had been waiting for news on another Star Wars movie. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm it wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for, but for me my fears melted away as I saw the trailers and on-set photos from the production and I have to admit I was hyped beyond reason for this film (called ‘Awakened Force’ in Korean, by the way).

I didn’t really realize at first. Today, I just got up like usual and went to school like usual, but then I got home and realized that in a few hours I would be going to see a new Star Wars movie… When I stepped out the door, I was actually trembling with anticipation just thinking of seeing that opening crawl in cinemas, and indeed when I finally did I actually teared up right there in the theater.

Unfortunately…the opening crawl was the highlight of the film for me.
I’m still not 100% sure if the reason for that is that I’ve become so jaded and cynical that I can’t enjoy anything ever again or just that the movie really just wasn’t that good. To be fair, I really enjoyed Avengers: Age of Ultron even though I didn’t even go in there expecting to like it so I don’t think I’m all that jaded yet, and as I mentioned I was hyped as hell from watching the trailer so I’m inclined to say the movie frankly just wasn’t that good.

t23

[This sure is a pretty shot though]

The main reason for this, in my opinion, is that it lacked soul. The plot, characters, locations and dialogues are clearly trying so hard to make you feel like you’re watching Star Wars but in the end that’s all you feel; like someone is trying to trick you into thinking you’re watching Star Wars. All the characters from the Original Trilogy are back, all the plot points from A New Hope are back and they even recycled some dialogues just in case you didn’t get that this is the sequel you’d been waiting for but it all feels so incredibly hollow. There’s no love in any of it.

Add to that the second biggest problem; being a predictable, paper thin plot with horrendous dialogues and you’ve got something that can be ‘good enough’ but quite honestly can’t even live up to Prequel level. It’s rather strange…since Kasdan (co-writer on both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) actually worked on this script, I expected it to at least be comparable to the fun-but-by-no-means-deep plot of the original films. The plot hits all the notes it wants to hit (Death Star 3.0, Emperor 2.0, I am your father 2.0, Death of an important character 2.0) but as mentioned has so little feeling and meaning behind it that it’s hard to care at all for anything going on. I mean seriously, everybody loves Han Solo and he was extremely charming in this outing as well but his death scene was an emotionless husk of what it could have been. And the same goes for the rest of the film, unfortunately.

There was so much in the trailers and, in fact, in the film that could be worked with to create a more interesting story than ‘We have to blow up the thing and there’s a guy with a red lightsaber’ that it’s almost offensive how simple the plot ended up. The beginning of the movie starts off so promising and Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver, one of the only highlights of the movie together with Harrison Ford) could’ve been an immensely interesting character with so much potential but instead we focus on cardboard cut-outs Rey (abysmally played by Daisy Ridley) and Finn (done justice by John Boyega) and the Resistance that’s just…kind of there, I guess? And then their X-Wings show up?
There’s very little world building going on (and that in one of the most fleshed out fictional universes in the world) and every plot point is just an excuse to get to the next set piece.

Perhaps worst of all was the fact that the music was utterly forgettable.
Don’t get me wrong, John Williams is and always will be a genius, but where he created some of his best work for the Prequel Trilogy, here he seems content just recycling old arrangements and adding some generic ‘epic’ Hollywood filler music. Okay, I didn’t expect him to come up with something on the scale of The Imperial March, Binary Sunset, Duel of the Fates or even The Droid Invasion or Across the Stars but there really was not a single recognizable arrangement present until the credits actually started rolling and a piece reminiscent of The Droid Invasion started playing. If it was JJ’s or Disney’s decision to limit Williams to this because ‘fans love your old music, John!’ it’s a real travesty and if it’s just that Williams is old as hell now and just can’t perform at the same level he once did then..well..there’s nothing we can do about that I suppose..but it’s still sad.

t22

[I guess I should also give some points for the practical effects – some of the creatures and aliens were really nice]

On the plus side, as I mentioned there were some amazing shots, especially early on in the film, and Ford and Driver both delivered absolutely great performances. It’s a shame the same can’t be said of Ridley who hopefully will grab a few acting classes before the next film starts production.
Some of the dogfights, though unfortunately not very numerous, were choreographed very well and apart from the strange fascination with really close close-ups the camera angles were quite refreshing.

I’m afraid this time either the Mouse or Abrams stopped their movie from truly becoming something good and from truly becoming Star Wars, but with Ren surviving, Luke looking badass as hell and Boyega being a lot better than I had feared I think we might actually get a proper Star Wars movie the next time around if JJ takes a few steps back.

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This entry was posted on 22 December 2015 by in Film, Reviews and tagged , , , .

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