Review: Star Wars The Force Awakens
So, the long awaited sequel to the original Star Wars trilogy has arrived. Star Wars The Force Awakens continues the story started by Lucas in 1977. Is it good? Yes. Is it as good is it could have been? No. It all boils down to one thing: sacrificing originality for the sake of nostalgia and safety. J.J. Abrams was appreciated for his revival of the Star Trek movies, so the expectations for the new Star Wars movie were high, sky-high.
Star Wars The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the events in Return of the Jedi and shows us a galaxy divided between The First Order, remnants of the Empire and the Resistance, the military force of the New Republic. Leia sends her best pilot, Poe Dameron, on a secret mission. On the planet Jakku, Poe finds the information, but is captured by Kylo Ren and his stormtroopers, not before leaving the intelligance with his droid BB-8. Of course, BB-8 is found by Rey, a young girl with a mysterious past, struggling for survival on the desert planet. And so, the adventure to save the galaxy begins… again.
“Nothing will stand in our way…
I will finish what you started.”
Kylo Ren said the above quote, but he doesn’t seem to want to do it another way. Even though I do not want to bash this new movie in the Star Wars saga, I have to start by complaining about the script. Yes, the script is not at all original, taking most of the story of A New Hope and some parts of The Empire Strikes Back, making them bigger and badder, but not necessarily better. If you’re a fan of the saga, then you will start to see the patterns right from the beginning. Replace some characters with others, put Jakku instead of Tatooine, make that thing bigger and throw some beloved characters in there to bring the nostalgia factor. Remaking scenes (literally) from the old movies isn’t the way to make a good sequel, just have courage and change something. Newcomers to the Star Wars saga will find it easy to immerse in the story and will be given a massive entertaining story. This is the solution proposed by Lawrence Kasdan (yes, the guy who wrote Empire and Jedi) and J.J. Abrams. Why try something new, when you can use an already proven recipe? Well, because fans want a new and different story. This solution sort of worked with another classic movie sequel, Jurassic World (which broke many records at the box office), but with that movie, bigger and badder is better because what is Jurassic Park if not for the dinosaurs. Of course, the scenes where beloved characters make their appearance are very emotional and will make any Star Wars fan feel something.
“Chewie, we’re home.“
Now, let’s get to some positive stuff, because Star Wars The Force Awakens has its merits. The new trio of heroes works really well. Rey is cute, but strong, Poe is courageous and Finn… well, Finn is in love. This being her first real movie, Daisy Ridley does an amazing job as the “new hope” of the sequel trilogy. Oscar Isaac is a proven actor and he delivers, even though he has less scenes than the others, making Poe a likeable character (let’s hope he has a bigger role in the upcoming movies). Moving on to Finn, played by John Boyega. He is very interesting at the beginning, showing us the psychological impact the action of the First Order has on people, but they fail to explore this side of him. He meets Rey, falls in love (though they do not admit it in the movie) and then he starts becoming annoying, making bad jokes all around. The older cast also does a good job. Harrison Ford is amazing and really gets into the role of a grumpy, but still adventurous Han Solo, along with Chewie. Carrie Fisher as Leia doesn’t appear as much in the movie, but she does her job, albeit not as happily as Ford. And finally, the villain, Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. Menacing when he wears his mask, powerful with the Force, Kylo rapdily shows his angry teenager side, throwing tantrums whenever he gets bad news.
“It’s true, all of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real.”
The best part of Star Wars The Force Awakens are the special effects. Combining practical effects with CGI, Abrams manages to bring life into the world of Star Wars. Learning from the prequels, he uses both methods to achieve the best results. You can see the epicness of the world, but also feel it. You can see the actors reacting for real when they see the Millenium Falcon and also watch epic space battles. The most dissapointing part is the music. John Williams created a memorable score for the original trilogy and went further with the prequels, composing an even more grandiose music. In Force Awakens, he just takes some cues from the original trilogy, remixes them a little and throws some generic action-adventure music here and there. Everything is forgetable, no awesome song to use as a ringtone, no strong sounds to make you think of Star Wars.
I don’t want to be misunderstood. Star Wars The Force Awakens is a very good movie, but as a sequel to one of the best sagas in cinema, it fails. It brings nothing new for the fans, it is just a remake of Episode IV and V with some slight modifications here and there. I hope they just played it safe for the first movie and will get bolder in the next chapters.