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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

By on December 21, 2015

Star-Wars-The-Force-AwakensThe biggest movie of the year – perhaps the generation – and people are going wild for it. But is it as good as everyone says?

People will no doubt crucify me for saying this, but I thought The Force Awakens was ok – not amazing. If you’ve listened to the Soggy Popcorn podcast I run on our Wild Bore podcast channel you’ll hear me say exactly why I think this, but for those who would rather read it, then I’m going to set out below the reasons I thought The Force Awakens was sub-par in Ten Points. Beware though, for there are SPOILERS ahead!

I should begin by saying what I enjoyed about it. Firstly, the characters were great and enjoyable to watch, I found the humour very funny and the action scenes were epic to say the least. It had everything a Star Wars fan could want – and that was the problem. It caters so heavily for fans that it loses almost all originality. But you guys know what was good about it, so let me point out the bad.

  1. It’s The Same Story as A New Hope

A droid is given a secret message to deliver, the bad guy arrives almost immediately into the battle wearing a mask and dressed all in black, there is some torture of a rebel on the enemy ship for information, a young protagonist on a horrible desert planet has family problems and is reluctant to take on the adventure, they find a father figure that helps them on their journey – that then dies, they visit a strange bar with lots of strange characters, young protagonist finds they are strong with the force, they stop a huge planet sized space station from destroying the rebel base by shooting at a weak point after its already destroyed a planet or two, they all celebrate the downfall of space station. Is this A New Hope or The Force Awakens? I have to say I thought it was lazy and low-hanging fruit. Remember they did exactly the same thing for Return of the Jedi and at the time, people thought having another Death Star was lazy enough, let alone having another one – also the graphic of showing it’s a thousand times the size of the Death Star made me cringe. OK we get it – you’re trying super hard to be better and bigger than before – just don’t be so lame about it.

  1. The Old Characters Were Crap

OK so Luke was in it for about 30 seconds in the longest, stupidest end shot there ever was (helicopter shots to make it look epic don’t take away from the fact that someone is holding something out for someone to take for what must have been at least a good minute – I think we all would have got annoyed if we were Rey), BUT Harrison Ford is a terrible actor at the best of times – his ability lessening as the years pass – but here he looked tired, old and a parody of Han Solo rather than the man himself. It looked like it was something from an SNL sketch, or a cameo on Jimmy Kimmel rather than the actual film. Seeing as it was his responsibility to bridge the old with the new – I felt he couldn’t shoulder it properly or with enough enthusiasm and his inevitable death had been on the cards for a long time (end of Empire Strikes Back anyone?). On top of all this, they’ve seemingly woken Carrie Fisher up from the dead and smothered her face in plastic so that there is no longer any way she can visually emote any more. It was a sad state to see Leia not taking more of a role here.

  1. It Was Too Long

They could have made it a much more succinct and explosive film by tightening it up and getting rid of superfluous scenes like the tentacle alien chasing them through the corridors, or having so much time spent on Jakku. The character development was needed, but time on certain characters, scenes or stories should have been extended and instead a lot of the faff could be cut out.

  1. Kylo Ren Should Have Been Made Scarier

In the original trilogy, any scenes with Vader sucked any humour or light heartedness from the scene. He was a sight to fear, he was the epitome of evil and it counteracted the playful nature of Luke and the gang by having such a dark enemy. With Kylo Ren, his childish strops are splashed with a dose of humour and it totally takes away from the danger I want to feel from him. It’s Abram’s sense of humour that is completely misplaced by trying to be self-referential and not taking itself too seriously. You should always take the bad guys in Star Wars seriously, even Lucas knows that.

  1. The Characters Form Relationships Way Too Quickly

Am I right in thinking this whole thing takes place in only a day? Do they sleep? Change? Eat? It seems pretty non-stop and these guys act like old friends when only hours ago they didn’t even know each other existed. It’s fine to feel that connection, but their over-zealousness feels false and cheesy.

  1. There’s Still Too Much CG

Why is the new evil guy a CG giant? How come Abrams made such a big deal about using real props when for the most part, everyone still seemed pretty CG (the trader, the small orange thing). There was way too much for my liking. Space battles and background scenes – fine, important characters with faces and expressions – not fine.

  1. Poe and Phasma are Used Too Little

I love the Poe character and he was a great person to see the perspective of this new Star Wars world from – then after about 20 minutes he disappears from the action altogether coming in about 2 hours later to save the day – twice. He then becomes nothing more than a skilful space pilot. Shame. Captain Phasma has about 5 lines and after building her up as an important character, she instead comes across as an incompetent soldier that can’t get her troops in line and in the end actually helps the enemy. Useless.

  1. Coincidences and Key Plot Points Shrugged Off

I want to know why Luke’s lightsaber ended up in some crappy city, but it’s ‘a story for another day’ – and why didn’t they find the Falcon earlier? They should have ‘checked the western front twice’. It’s examples like these lines that signal a lazy script where plot holes or insufficient explanation are just thrown out the window to get the plot moving. It’s cheap and nasty and will always, consciously or subconsciously, rub a viewer up the wrong way.

  1. Jakku

For someone who seems to live in a cockney market, Rey is awfully well spoken. Jakku is trying so hard to be Tattooine it hurts, but it’s not even as good. At least in A New Hope, I felt the vast scale of the planet – here it feels like a small exterior set. Also in a place where everything is stripped for parts, having the Falcon be sitting there and fully operational seems far-fetched and why would it be garbage? Surely someone would have taken a look and seen it’s potential? Or is the Millennium Falcon a really shit ship after all?

  1. Shouldn’t the Empire Have Been Defeated?

The film shits all over Return of the Jedi by suggesting that the Empire weren’t defeated at all – in fact, it looks like it has become stronger than ever. Maybe the events of Return of the Jedi – as heroic as they seemed – actually made things worse. Where are all these stormtroopers coming from? They come from child soldiers? Is that correct? How can they build such an incredible station in such a short space of time? Surely the First Order would have been defeated now seeing as I imagine ALL their troops were on that planet? Why would Luke have been a myth? It was only 30 years ago and still within people’s lifetimes to remember everything.

So that’s it. There’s just some of the reasons why The Force Awakens is not the best Star Wars film – I don’t even think it’s the second best Star Wars film. Don’t get me wrong, I loved BB8, I loved Rey and Phin, I loved Kylo Ren but I just wish these characters had a more interesting, original story to work in. This felt like what a fan would imagine would happen next, using a huge budget and being too scared to go out and do an incredible new story.

It could have been so much more. Instead, it’s an okay film with some great scenes and better characters, but this isn’t a Star Wars revolution … just yet.

I guarantee you Rogue One will be a better film. Now I’m going to sit back and wait for the hatred – just remember, before you go too heavy on me, hate leads to anger etc. etc.

Rating: 7/10

About The Wild Bore

5 Comments

  1. Paul

    December 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Episode VII, Mr Critic…

  2. Simpson

    December 22, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Could not agree more with every point you have made here. This is the exact same verdict I came to! In every point. Qual review and the truth, unless you were a Star Wars fan looking for a rerun

  3. Ian

    December 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Re: jakku, could this be a red herring -Could it be the Order made a big effort to destroy the hope that Luke gave by making the Jedi seem a myth and destroying evidence as so far as the new star killing weapon kill one of tattooines Suns, a near geniside and renaming it? Then in one of the next films will be a planet of he apes type reveal what the planet actually is? Rays speeder looks to be made of part of one of the pod racers from episode one even….

  4. londonlatic

    December 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Finally – an honest review. Completely agree. Great fun but could have been so much better and more original. Far too many plot holes and sticking plasters. Basically a remake of Ep IV plus Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings in space.

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