Star Wars The Force Awakens was a really really stupid, bad film. And the worst SW film yet by a distance.
To start on the most positive of all notes, at least JJ Abrams won’t be directing (or writing?) any more Star Wars.
Star Wars being a saga, a continuing and developing story, why does The Force Awakens Episode 7 instead blatently try to reboot A New Hope? Even if this was a good film in its own right, that alone would be enough to warrant heavy criticism that we’re just not seeing any of. But it’s not even good either, it’s crap, really crap. The Force Awakens screwed up so much, it actually undid some of the original trilogy story. JJ Abrams threw out the idea of Star Wars as an epic story in favour of a dumbed-down 2015 Hollywood 3D Fan-fiction reboot of a New Hope.
This was defection to the dark side of hollow, unimaginative Hollywood tropes and remakes mixed with the most unoriginal nonsensical fan-fiction. It was so bad it’s going to take depressingly long to explain all the reasons why.
‘J.J’ is actually open in his will to plagiarize episode IV and some of V and VI in their entirety in his own more shitty and less imaginative, dumbed down way. Let’s start there.
Off the bat let’s go through just how much TFA stole it’s entire story, settings and characters from A New Hope and other original Star Wars so we’re in no doubt at all this is an unforgivable REBOOT, not a new Star Wars 7.
- Rey is a Luke and Anakin clone, right down to the desert, missing family, untrained, clothes, attitude.
- The goal is to destroy the Death Star ( a bigger one). (Which guess what they know how to do now because….they’ve done it before!!!!)
- A Funny Beepy Droid, who has important information hidden inside its memory, flees the surface of a desert planet with the all important info on board.
- Rey and Fin use, like Luke and Obi Wan, guess who, Han and Chewie and the Millenium Falcon to smuggle them to a green a lush planet destroyed by the Empire as a show of force. Never seen that before.
- Rey, like Luke, is asked to learn the force, but like Luke, resists, until like Luke, she learns the darkside probably killed her family.
- Kylo Ren is Darth Vader II, for some reason. This works a bit better as its implied he is actively trying to outright be Vader, again for some reason unknown. Nevertheless a black masked guy with funny voice and red saber who has some growing command of a ship and conflict with the main evil commander of ship who are both led by some background evil force weirdo Emperor is now repeated in this film.
- The surprise being, he is actually the son of Han Solo. Of course we have never ever seen anything like this before in Star Wars. A father-son battle of the force. That ends of a narrow bridge on a ship. That ends in one of them dying.
- Oh yeah, JJ Abrams killed Han Solo for his stupid film. I guess he needed something shocking, this was an easy get out.
- For Han Solo’s death scene, JJ wasn’t happy with only copying Luke and Vader scene, he also aped Obi Wan’s death scene at the hands of Vader. Two characters that go way back, and Obi Wan’s death is watched on from afar from those who saw him as a mentor, and of course both watch by poor Chewie.
- Maz Kanata is the new Yoda replacement, orange instead of green. And looked awful cheap CGI.
- Even the guy commanding The First Order’s ship was a rip off.
This goes on and on really right down to locations, still shots of sunrises, same old X Wings, Tie Fighters, Death Stars, Falcons, similar planets, Cantinas, rebellion/resistance fighters, Mary Sues.
There was nothing new in the entire film.
Not only was it an unoriginal remake, JJ’s plot made no sense in the worst kind of fan-fiction fashion. Non of the politics were explained. First of all, who are The New Order? Are they The Empire? I thought the Empire was destroyed by the rebels? Now apparently they’re back as strong as ever? If the Empire was destroyed then the Republic is the ruling order, and The New Order must be the rebels. So why are Republic fighters calling themselves “Resistance fighters” who are “part of the resistance”? How is the ruling group (Leia’s republic) calling themselves the rebels versus The New Order, who are actually the real rebels, effectively a new terrorist organisation planing terrorist attacks on the ruling state?
All this is never explained, is incredibly non nonsensical and basically just a complete mess. Apparently JJ Abrams doesn’t give a shit about a story. You can’t just not explain the story, in a a Star Wars film. It’s not your typical Hollywood bullshit, action first story last thing. You can leave information out, mysteriously like they did in previous films, but they would never have completely disregarded it for the sake of more loud explosions like he did in TFA.
Onto the main theme of the film, which was…to find Luke Skywalker. I’m not sure how that been allowed to pass as the main plot of the new highly anticipated SW film. They couldn’t do any better than that? A map to Luke? I’ve seen better story ideas in Chip and Dale’s rescue rangers.
In New Hope, the droid contained the information that told you how to destroy the Death Star. That was a solid, understandable plot that an audience can get behind and enjoy. Now the droid holds the map to Luke. “Looking for Luke Skywalker somewhere” is not an exciting plot. It doesn’t build any tension. Just feeds on a shallow nostalgic desire.
The plot point of Han taking Rey to a new planet, he doesn’t tell her why he’s taking her there, but somehow Luke’s lightsaber is there, that has memory powers, Rey finds it, and somehow kicks Kylo Ren’s ass with it. Non of this makes sense, it’s dumb. Abrams basically wanted Rey to have Luke’s lightsaber, but couldn’t think of a cool way to do that.
This film’s story basically makes what happened in the original trilogy pointless. All that work defeating The Empire was for nothing, as they’ve apparently just reformed a few years later like nothing happened. It made everyhing they fought for in the original trilogy meaningless.
Don’t get me started on the magical gorge that splits up the Rey and Kylo fight.
Rey. The Luke Skywalker clone. Where to start. I don’t think Daisy Ridley played this role badly but the silver-spoon posh Westminster accent gave me a hard time imagining her as a lonely, rough, scrap hunting desert dweller. And her attitude felt a little forced. But more importantly, her character made no sense. Rey is a classic “Mary-Sue”, she can fly the Millenium Falcon better than Han Solo, she knows the Millenium Falcon inside and out better than Han Solo, who’d been maintaining and flying the thing for a lifetime. Rey also LEARNS JEDI MIND TRICKS OUT OF NOWHERE, without even knowing about or seeing Jedi Mind Tricks before. There is ZERO character growth here, never mind believability. It took Luke over a series of films to learn this trick. He’d seen Obi Wan attempt it, then finally did it himself. Rey figures this all out for herself. She also defeats and sabre master who’s a force master, Kylo Ren, in her first ever lightsabre battle. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Kylo Ren. The Darth Vadar clone. Looked really cool at the start of the film, with his arching, wiry frame looking more menacing than the Phantom Menace ever did. He arrives onto the scene looking powerful, scary and competent. Soon, this all changes, and he becomes an emo-kid who sucks at everything he does, has tantrums, and loses a lightsabre battle twice, to two novices. Only to be saved by a Deus Ex Machina. Although I’m not totally down on Kylo Ren, I actually think he still has a lot of potential as a character.
Fin. Born and bred as a systematic military trained killer, you’d never know it. Somehow he managed to keep his morals for all this hidden since birth during the training and brainwashing expected of stormtroopers. In contrast to Rey, Fin apparently can do nothing well (apart from fight Kylo Ren??). They made him a sanitation worker, rather than engineer or something that could give him something to do or help Fin. He’s a likable, well-adjusted guy. Go figure. But John Boyega is a really good actor, and brought good humour to the film.
Captain Phasma. What happened here? She was supposed to be a ruthless leader and badass fighter. Yet she did nothing. In her scene when she lowers the shield, she just…lowers the shield. No fight put up. Why not have her fight Fin in that scene where fin is fighting a stormtrooper?
Lor San Tekka. Who is he? No one knows. It wasn’t mentioned. Just some guy who apparently somehow had the map to Luke Skywalker. Moving on.
Maz Kanata. Played by Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyongo’o, and for some reason made into a CGI tangerine. No idea why she had to be a a CGI orange, it looked terrible and obviously CGI.
Why are all the new names so bad?
All the characters get on suspiciously well right from the moment they meet almost. It’s sloppy, lazy writing. In Star Wars there was usually resistant friendships that developed over time.
JJ’s directing is turd. I really just dislike his directing. He spends too long zoomed in on faces and upper body, and his constant frenetic cuts back and forth are annoying. He cannot build tension, has no style of his own, and seems only interested in huge action set pieces, that in the end ring hollow. There were no iconic shots or sequences like in previous SW. He didn’t bring any new element, or skill. This is a fairly hollow, forgettable film completely lacking in ideas. Similar in fact to his “Super 8” film, another proud Amblin rip-off which offered nothing interesting itself. Star Wars ultimately fell in to the same hole JJ Abrams Star Trek did, he threw out all the typical Star-Trekky bits and replaced them with loud explosions and constant action. He made a characature and mockery of the characters, and took any serious storylines out of the film. I also felt like he was zoomed into head shots too often, which gave little feeling of scope or of the sets, something that Lucas always did well.
For instance we had this new desert planet, Jakku, however very little is done with it to really give you a sense of it. There are no iconic sets on it, like Anakin’s stone igloo home on Tatooine, just a load of tent roofs that spend most of the time in darkness with you rushing through them. The traders post is barely seen from the outside, you have no real sense of any of the world.
All this is very sad, especially as George Lucas (who played no part in any of this film after letting go of his control of Star Wars) had the story for episodes 7,8 and 9 written out since the early 90s. His ideas were rejected by the new group headed by Abrams. Listening to Lucas’ comments recently it seems as if JJ Abrams has essentially screwed him over behind his back. JJ was selected by Lucas to continue the story, but that was a terrible choice, he probably knows that now.
A crucial element of the films, another example of JJ’s incompetence. The music wasn’t used effectively at all, and was drowned out often by the huge volume of the film in general, and it’s explosions. Another recent Hollywood development for the attentionally challenged.
The nonsense about the prequels being bad really seems even more ridiculous in the dark light of TFA. I’ve always been in the minority of SW fans who enjoyed the prequels(apart from maybe II), and after seeing all the SW fans who loved TFA, I’m more convinced I’m right. What do these SW fans actually want? Do they not want new stories? Episode III being particularly strong, I think they are far better now than people thought they were when they came out. The criticisms at the time seemed to focus around the excessive CGI, which is really funny today as every film now has excessive CGI, and the CGI in Ep III looks really good, better than today’s CGI. Episode I and III especially, with III being the best, II being a drag.
What they did that makes them far better than Force Awakens is have original, developed story lines, new ships, vehicles, planets, places, characters, creatures. Lucas in every film tried to push the saga to new places each time, never just repeating the same thing. Yes, Jar Jar and Hayden were bad, but these weaknesses seem to pail in comparison to TFA fan fiction awful shallowness.
I have a really hard time explaining all the fans who like TFA but didn’t like Revenge of the Sith. It completely baffles me. To hear these fans lauding TFA for “bringing Star Wars back to its roots” is the most inane stupidity. Back to its roots by just copying New Hope in a worse way? That’s boring, not something worthy of praise.
Even though it’s hard to see where this mess leaves the future films, there may be some positives from TFA’s success and JJ’s “Go backwards to go forwards” rip off safe bet ethos. Next director Rian Johnson is great at suspense and plot twists, and the box office success may loosen the next films up to do something different, in theory.