First and foremost I did thoroughly enjoy this film. I was probably going to enjoy it regardless bar Jar Jar making an appearance, however I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit let down with some key aspects of the film. I just hold a few gripes with it overall for what was otherwise a strong movie.
It felt that it was really just 2 hours worth of fan service. To me it felt as if Abrams knew that if he fucked this movie up he would have millions of angry nerds sending letter bombs to his house and so because of that he decided to play it extremely safe. There was so much reliance on nostalgia that it kind of took me out of the movie and didn’t allow me to become immersed into a rehashed storyline. Anytime there was a not so subtle reference to a previous episode I would think “Oh hey, I remember that” and that’s where ironically a lot of my grievance with the film come. It was a fantastic way to get old fans enjoying it but I can’t imagine those aspects of the film standing the test of time. It wasn’t the references that made me frustrated really, but how it made me realise how much of the film relied on classic Star Wars tropes. Let’s play a game called “which Star Wars film is this?”
It begins a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. A small charismatic droid is carrying important documents which it is imperative to keep them safe. A humble young orphan that lies on a desert planet then comes across this droid, and after some time begins to comprehend the importance to find the droids owner/beneficiary. Along the way the orphaned protagonist comes across and older hero who then begins to mentor the orphan.
Meanwhile we come to the antagonists of the story and boy are they scary! They have this giant planet sized weapon that can entirely obliterate other planets.
Oh and because it’s the first episode of a trilogy the mentor of our new hero has to die, as is tradition.
It just appeared as if it was lazy writing. The scene where they are discussing how they might be able to take down the Starkiller (terrible name as well) every character in that scene felt like they were intentionally trying to break the 4th wall and wink at the camera as if to say
“Hey guys, remember this? it’s fine we have Han Solo, the millennium falcon and another two movies so let’s just find another tiny fault in the schematics and make some cool trench runs and it will be sweet! Works every time!”
There was never any sense that our heroes where in any kind of ultimate danger.
I can understand why they might have chosen to have done the film this way, but it couldn't help but feel like lazy writing. All that being said however, I still really did enjoy this movie. Rey, Finn and Poe specifically are charismatic and have fantastic on-screen presence.
Rey, our new Han Solo, felt like an extremely fun character and they made it very easy to become invested in her story and her past. The allusion to her lineage is most interesting with my favourite fan theory being that she is potentially Luke Skywalker’s daughter and that she was actually trained by Luke previously. Unfortunately after Kylo Ren goes on his rampage, Luke wipes her young memory of the incident to prevent her falling to the dark side in the future. This would explain why she was a more than capable force user after a few days, it would explain her dreams about the ocean and rocks which we see at the end where Luke is, and would also explain why R2-D2 reboots after she returns from blowing up Star Killer.
Finn was cowardly yet brave but also provided enjoyable comic relief. A more relatable and human character that answered questions on whether the storm troopers have a conscience. At first it took me a while to get past the seemingly forced comedic relief aspect of the film but I have come to enjoy and welcome it.
Poe is just a straight up bad ass pilot and they are always a lot of fun to have especially in SW film’s.
As far as Kylo Ren is concerned I think he is an interesting character at the very least, and I look forward to his story arc in the coming movies. The best thing I have heard when it comes to Kylo as a character is that he is essentially what Anakin should have been in the prequels which goes to show that maybe it wasn’t just Hayden Christensen, and maybe it was just the writing. We are yet to find out Kylo’s opinion on sand however.
This film is really just a bridge into the new trilogy. It was a way to whitewash and introduce new characters into a familiar setting, hopefully setting up a more immersive and fresh storyline in the future. Hopefully The Force Awaken’s strengths will really come apparent after episode VIII and we can see what this was all building towards and why this was all necessary.
Regardless it was fun and enjoyable and I'm probably going to go see it again even if its just for the gorgeous cinematography and special effects. Small details like the retention of Chewie’s suit actor to actually building a large number of the sets on-site instead of a reliance on CGI where a welcome homecoming for the franchise and it was nothing short of a gorgeous visual feast.
It was a fantastic Star Wars film and a terrific take on A New Hope in many ways, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. I know the entire world will love it and I hope it really does bring some new fans into the fold, but that’s just my two cents on an otherwise really solid film.
Real life Bond villain Eddie Goldsmith has a passion for photography, movies, basketball and speaking in third person. Like most other sleep deprived 20-somethings Eddie's managed to find a balance between calm and collected to being one coffee cup away from never sleeping again. Writer, Editor, Generous Lover, Photographer and part time funny man I'm always looking to try my hand at something new.