Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My review and disappointment.
This post will contain spoilers. If you do not want spoilers, do not read. You’ve been warned, mmkay? The thoughts in this post are mine alone. I’m not expecting people to agree with me, and I considered not posting it but after seeing The Force Awakens I’m so peeved, I needed to rant somewhere.
I want to preface this by saying I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I haven’t read any of the books, but I can not put a number to the times I’ve seen the six movies – I know them word for word. I also understand the writers of the original trilogy wrote the initial script for this new movie, and I understand George Lucas was consulted. I love JJ Abrams work, and to be fair, I liked what he did with the script he had to work with. And I do believe The Force Awakens is true to the world of Star Wars.
But… I am so incredibly disappointed.
I had been looking forward to this movie for so long. Maybe my expectations were too high, because I expected something different than a rewrite of the original trilogy, with some parallels to the second trilogy that followed, thrown in for good measure.
The world waited, holding our collective breaths, for a REWRITE? I have to admit, when the film ended, I sat there stunned. And not in a good way. Cinematically, it was pretty to watch, the action sequences were great, the strong lead character was female… It should have won on so many levels. But for me at least, it fell incredibly short.
It was a rewrite. I couldn’t believe it.
The similarities/copies are obvious:
Luke, Leia and Han are now Finn, Rey and Poe.
Kylo Ren (Han’s son) is the new Anakin/Darth Vader wannabe, with his political Nazi-like army, that want to take over the galaxy. He even does the Force-chokehold like Darth did.
Kylo Ren must pass a test to prove to his Master he is worthy by killing his father – a scene almost identical to Luke and Darth’s immortalised “I am your father” scene, complete with a fall into oblivion.
There’s a new cute droid (who tbh, reminded me of Wall-E) and cameos from C3PO and R2D2. Remember in A New Hope when a secret message in the form of a hologram was hidden in R2D2? Yeah well, even that’s an identical repeat.
There’s even a new Emperor/Grand Master/Whatever who is Kylo Ren’s Master, training him to be the next Darth Vader. (I have my suspicions as to who this Master will turn out to be.) I understand how the Sith/Dark Side works and I didn’t expect that to change – but the similarities to Darth Vader and the Emperor were too obvious in this film. At least Darth Maul was in canon, yet different.
Innocent planets die, just like (and I do mean JUST like) Alderaan did. They even blow up another Death Star, reminiscent with the X-wing pilot Luke scenes from Return of the Jedi – I mean seriously, they’re almost identical. Even the scenes where the Millennium Falcon flies into the other ship. It’s all been rewritten into this new movie.
Han Solo dies (yeah, don’t even get me started on that) in a self-sacrificial way, a scene that in my opinion was similar to the deaths of Obi-Wan and Vader’s combined, in a scene that is almost identical to Darth Vader’s death. [I am hoping he makes a reappearance in the next films, for Chewie’s sake if not mine. LOL]
Kylo Ren and Rey will no doubt turn out to be twins (parents are Han and Leia, not unlike Anakin and Padme who had twins Luke and Leia) who need to battle it out in the end to see which side, light or dark, wins. I’m going to guess that Rey and Finn will probably have twins at some point so the saga never fucking ends. Good Lord. I mean Ren and Rey, Luke and Leia… at what point does it become a parody?
These are just a few of the similarities – the scenery, locations etc. I mean Jakku was literally identical to Tatooine where they originally found Luke… I mean Rey… Ugh, I’m so confused – they just bleed into each other now even I can’t keep them straight. Oh, and there was a bar scene as well, complete with band playing funky music as per the original trilogy, and a fat slug and pretty girl at its side, just like the infamous Jabba and Leia in a bikini scene. Blah.
See what I mean? It’s all the same. It didn’t just use the Star Wars universe. It stole the plot of the original trilogy.
I’ve seen reviews where people are thrilled at the parallels, citing it’s a “mashup” of the original, or “a symmetrical arc” which is a prettier way to call it what it is. And that’s a blatant, lazy, insulting rewrite.
They basically had unlimited resources and funding. They could have taken this story anywhere – there were literally a galaxy of possibilities – yet they chose to rehash an existing plot and try to glorify a masterpiece. For what? A new generation of Star Wars fans?
What about the fans who have loved it for thirty years? Did we not deserve some creativity? Some plausible plot maybe that took the Resistance to new and greater (or simply different) things? But, in my opinion at least, to simply give us what we already had, is insulting.
Now bear with me for a moment. I want you to imagine this… I magically obtain the rights to Harry Potter. (*snort* we can dream, right?) And I unveil my plans to add more books/movies to the franchise with an unlimited budget. It’s going to be huge! There’s so much anticipation and secrecy and OMG it’s going to be so awesome. The eighth book will surpass all expectations!!!!
And you wait and wait and you finally get your hands on the book and your heart is in your mouth as you start to read… only to realise I haven’t continued the story at all. I’ve just added three new main characters, and simply rewritten the first few books (but I’ve added some familiar characters for a few cameos to appease the old fans – so that makes it okay, right?) and there’s a new Voldemort to defeat and the new characters have to find a Philosopher’s Stone and a Chamber of Secrets and a Prisoner from Azkaban, exactly the same way Harry and friends did. AND the MC turns out to be a girl orphaned because her mother died protecting her, she has black hair and glasses and doesn’t yet know she’s a wizard but she gets chosen for the house of Gryffindor…
That’s what the new Star Wars movie was. In a nutshell.
I know I’m in the minority here. Most people I know LOVED it. Will I watch the next movies? Of course. It’s Star Wars. Of course I will watch it. But I will watch it with my expectations firmly in check. After all, I’m sure the scenes were Luke trains Rey
on the swamp planet of Dagobah until she is summoned by the new Darth Vader will be awesome.