Well after 30 years of waiting I have decided that they got the title for the movie half wrong. It was a good strong title yes, but I can think of a few that would probably best fit the movie if you have not yet seen it. I’m partial to calling it A New Hope Part 2. Or even…Return of the Phantom Menace. J.J. Abrams and Disney definitively missed a great opportunity to tell a new original story with the largest movie franchise in history. And they blew it. That being said however; it was still a good movie. Just don’t go thinking this is the movie you have been waiting 30 years for.
Like the human resource sandwich I have to break the good and bad news to you. I have to tell you good things, tell you the bad, and then finish with more good things. This way angry Star Wars fans don’t send me a ton of hate mail.
The Good (or the bottom bun):
- The special effects were Fantastic! The use of imagery to show how how much time has passed and the current state of the Galaxy is made apparent with background imagery. From crashed Star Destroyers being buried by a desert really brings you into the feel that a vast intergalactic empire was dead and things are different.
- John Williams music was NEW and classic at the same time. There was your typical Star Wars fanfare and other action induced tunes we grew up listening to as we watched the films. Then there are times where the incidental music was modern yet reminiscent of an era long past. His soundtrack was amazing!
- Han Solo: Nuff said. He practically carried the movie. His charisma and gruff smuggler charm never went away and you’ll instantly be in love all over again with Solo and Chewie.
- The Mellenium Falcon: Honestly it didn’t even feel like I was watching a Star Wars movie until the very moment the Falcon came on the screen. The audience went wild and so did I! The Falcon has become an important character and is apart of the Star Wars lore that a Star Wars movie without it, just isn’t Star Wars. The Old Girl still has a ton of surprises for you!
- Rey, Fin, & BB8: The new talent for the most part is okay. However; it was Rey who would steal the show. She had the look, the powerful accent, and was a natural and pretty much everything she did. She was what Luke Skywalker was to us, except even more awesome!
The Bad (The contents of the sandwich):
- Just a remake: Unfortunately the movie is really just a repaint of Star Wars 4: A New Hope. If you have seen Episode 4, you can actually not see this movie. I very confident that you can skip this movie and watch Star Wars 8 that you will not even be lost. It is almost an exact carbon copy. Which is basically what I expected from Disney which leads me to my next point…
- The Disney Factor: Luckily Disney didn’t cute the place all up. Actually in a sense they made everything a bit darker. Greys are now blacks, more shadows, darker voices etc…With the exception of BB-8 (Wall-E?), they pretty much left all that cute stuff out of it. However; Disney built it’s empire on retelling other people’s stories. They have not had an original idea since…um…possibly never. Disney (not Pixar) has no idea how to formulate interesting thought patterns. So they have to default to what makes dollar signs. Telling other people’s stories. Which is exactly what I predicted would happen with Star Wars.
- Jakoo: Is basically Tattooine.
- Rey: Luke Skywalker with boobs. Disney is famous for strong female leads. Why should Star Wars be no different?
- General Hux: Is basically Grand Moff Tarkin.
- Plans are hidden in a droid and the Empire/First Order are in a hurry to find the droid before the Resistance does. Sound familiar?
- The Republic: Is now The Resistance (might as well be Rebellion…)
- The Murder Planet: Basically the Death Star with an obvious weak spot that of course the Rebellion *cough* Resistance must fly to and blow the crap out of.
- Poe: Tries to hard to be a sarcastic bad ass and comes off as …not that. The special effects that surround him are pretty sweet and his black x-wing is pretty cool too. However; the actor from Big Ass Spider (Greg Grunberg) was more heroic than he was. Which unfortunately was the case in this film, where most of the extras looked more heroic than our heroes.
- Maz’s Cantina: Basically it’s the same cantina scene from Mos Eisley. Except they change the music to something Bob Marley would do for Star Wars.
- The Garbage Chute: When they catch Captain Phasma where does she end up? In a garbage chute!! Again, familiar?
- Han Owes Someone Money: Ah here we go again.
- Stuck on a Giant Ship: Although not in the same order, Fin and Poe find themselves in the same situation as Han and Luke were in A New Hope.
- Kylo-Ren: Basically a giant Vader fan boy. His voice sucks and becomes completely unbelievable as a villain. He starts off really cool and uber powerful then becomes a giant cry baby with temper tantrums. They should have used a different voice actor like they did with Darth Vader, whereas they used James Earl Freaking Jones! For Kylo…they used the actors voice. Also when his mask comes off, he is further hindered by his face. he had a 3 foot long nose, and is basically the least intimidating guy you could ever see. My Sith Warrior in Knights of The Old Republic (MMORPG) is more of a bad ass!
- Max Von Sydow: Dies too early. He is this supremely powerful actor and they basically threw him out at the very beginning of the film. They could have expanded heavily on him or even used his voice for Kylo-Ren. Max Von Sydow’s awesomeness was wasted.
- Anakin’s Lightsaber: Fans know that Anakin’s lighsaber was lost in the battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Cloud City near the end of Episode V. However; it returns in this film with no reason. No explanations, no nothing. It’s just back and ready for action. Maybe it’ll be explained in 8, but I’m not going to hold my breathe.
- Storm Troopers have sticks: Strangely enough for some reason every storm trooper knows Fin is a traitor and they have an odd clunky melee weapon that spins and contorts. Finn gets beat up by such a weapon but it was really quite a stupid scene they should have left out.
- Deus Ex Much?: When the Resistance fires up the plans to the Murder Planet they try to figure out how to take it out. Not to worry..Finn was an ex-sanitation worker (who somehow became a Storm Trooper…) and he happens to know everything there is to know about this monstrous weapon. Including where you go to lower it’s shields and blow it up!!!
The Good Again (the top bun):
Hey just because the movie is nearly an exact carbon copy of A New Hope does not mean you should not go see it. Despite Disney’s wasted chance for something new, it is still history in the making and is still a great film. My advice is do not go to the film expecting this to be the Star Wars movie you waited 30 years to see. Instead go to it pretending you have not seen previous Star Wars movies.
The interactions between BB-8 and Fin are hilarious and well written! Fin is a good solid character even though somehow he knows everything. His character does have to deal with some serious plot twists and works through them with the equally awesome Rey. Rey is a growing Force user who knows how to fly by the seat of her pants and kick Kylo-Ren ass!
Han Solo, Chewie, Fin, and Rey are your reasons for seeing this movie. The soundtrack, special effects are mind blowing and will have you on the edge of your seat. The script sucks but Harrison Ford will make you forget all about that up until the end.
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens is not the movie people have waited 30 years to see.
Disney could have just taken a story from the Expanded Universe, say Thrawn (BOOM!) and people would have went bonkers over it’s awesomeness. It would have been a lot better movie, however, I feel the execs at Disney and J.J. were a bit too busy to get caught up in the EU or simply didn’t have enough time to read it and sift through it’s awesomeness.
Doesn’t matter though. The movie is good. You should make seeing this movie a definite priority. Go see it and take the kids. Right now! It will be a fun ride of adventure and thrills.
C E Score Sheet (1-5)
Production Quality: 5
C E Metascore: 4 -What are you waiting for? Go see it! The Force is with you!
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