Thoughts on the force awakens

So The Force Awakens opened a while back. N and I saw it in 3D at Southbank the day prior to the big move. Life has been such a blur since that, until now there really hasn’t been opportunity to record my thoughts on the film.

I can’t talk properly about this film without spoilers, if you haven’t seen it yet I suggest passing over this post for now.

 

 

 

You were warned. Also be advised that this post contains TV Tropes links proceed at your own risk.

 

 

The prequels were such a steaming pile of shit that I really don’t think they can be redeemed. Although I have downloaded a fan edit or two, which supposedly remove the most egregious problems,  I have never yet gotten around to giving them a shot. For this and many other reasons I am now very glad Lucas passed the IP on.

I entered the cinema with very low expectations and I was on the whole entertained, impressed and occasionally even surprised, I would like to see it again so that I can watch for missed details and with a more critical eye, but that’s not going to happen prior to dvd.

I have in the past questioned whether JJ Abrams had been given to much power and I maintain that giving one man the mantle of reinvigorating both Star Wars and Star Trek seemed risky. His Star Trek reboot was fun but flawed, fortunately he did a better job with my more beloved of the two galaxies. That they have chosen to use a separate director for the next two films is a concern but we will just have to wait and see.

I do want more, I’m curious and even a little excited about the forthcoming standalone film Rogue One.

I enjoyed the reprisal by the classic characters and I found the new leads, supports and droids engaging and likeable.

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I am so grateful to have a Star Wars that passes Bechdel. As both a teacher and a parent I find the lack of female character agency in most hollywood storytelling very disappointing. 12 minute TED talk about this.

I love that our heroine is not sidelined in the final battle, the moment when she takes Luke’s saber is fantastic.

There is a moment in this film, a ‘will he, won’t he’ character turning point. Some of the audience gasped, I would have been genuinely surprised if he hadn’t. I suppose the great advantage of storytelling for children is that cliche only registers after repeated exposure to the trope.

Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher clearly enjoy stepping back into their roles. The killing of Han allows Harrison to bow out with style, hopefully Carrie will get more screen time in the films to come.

There are a few editing and storytelling choices that have bugged me. Chief among them is the way Chewie walks right past Leia on his return, this just seemed completely inadequate to the length of their relationship.

The other is the flippant service given to the annihilation of an entire solar system, or maybe the worlds were supposed to be further apart than that somehow. It really wasn’t very clear who was being targeted or to what end beyond showing off the big gun and there wasn’t even a real disturbance in the force moment in response to what must surely have been billions of deaths.

The action sequence with ‘Beholders’ aboard the junk ship was to my mind an unnecessary diversion in which some more exposition or character development would have fit equally well. Every film in the series has had some kind of beast moment though, so perhaps the filmmakers were just checking that off the list.  Finn’s plot armour in this scene bordered on the absurd.

The old trope of a ‘one biome planets‘ has always kind of irritated me, but that is hardly new to this film.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the new installment and I intend on initiating L in the joys of the Star Wars galaxy before to long.

 

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