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Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the most disappointing film of my life

Spoiler Alert!

Before I write anything of note in this review I have to point out, I love Star Wars, and I mean I really, really love Star Wars. These are the films which got me interested in film and storytelling as a whole, I’ve seen them each dozens of times and will happily watch them all again and again whilst reciting every word of dialogue to myself.

Now Force Awakens, the seventh film in the Star Wars canon and the first produced since the purchase of the franchise rights by Disney has had years of build up to it and the collective hopes of fanboys, nerds and geeks worldwide placed upon it.

But there sadly has been a massive disruption in the force, as if billions of voices called out in adulation and were then silenced, I sense something terrible has happened.

BUT NOBODY ELSE DOES! And I mean that, praise for this film has been near universal, with critics seemingly only willing to go so far in terms of criticism as giving the film “minor praise”, this film broke the opening box office record like a wrecking ball going through a wendy house and at the time of this review, has grossed more than $1.5 billion. Now that’s no real surprise I mean come on this is Star Wars, but the fact remains that with so much hope and expectation resting upon this film we as fans deserved better.

The only way in which I can really describe the impact this film had upon me is “ok did you see A New Hope? Ok imagine that but only that Lucas couldn’t have cared less”.

This is in no way the original and engaging film I was expecting, it’s a film which copies almost to a beat, the plot of A New Hope. We start out on Jakku, a desert planet that looks exactly like Tattoine, with a mechanically gifted young teen, this character comes across a droid carrying information vital to helping the resistance defeat the First Order, meets a father figure/mentor, who is killed by a formerly good person turned to the dark side and the big evil death machine is defeated at the end by being blown up by x-wings. It’s the same film! In the words of Mugattu “am I the only one who realises this I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

The development of the characters is all over the place as well, when they’re introduced we know little about them and by the end of the film we still know little and I don’t even feel engaged enough to care.

Then there is the rank commercial feel of the entire film, although I should have known that this film was all about money when I saw Disney’s long shadow and the fact that Kylo Ren toys were in stores months before anyone knew who the hell he was. Remember the silver Stormtrooper from the trailers?  Captain Phasma? A female Stormtrooper played by Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie? Well despite appearing in so much of the promotion material in this film she does absolutely nothing at all. She effectively serves the Boba Fett role, doesn’t do anything but my god wont she make a cool toy!

Now all of this being said, did I enjoy the film? Well I enjoyed parts of it, the action was good, the effects were cool with the CGI having come along massively since the prequels, but I simply could not shake the intense feeling of disappointment brought on by the whole experience. This was a film which added nothing new to the canon, a lazy retreading of the plot of a better film.

Will I be going to see episode VIII next year? Of course I will. Am I certain of an awesome experience I will look forward to for the next twelve months of my life? Not really, and when a Star Wars film leaves you feeling lethargic towards the continuation of the series you’ve got a major problem.

 

By Kyle Sutherland, Entertainment Editor

Header Photo courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock, http://www.freerangestock.com, photographer Jack Morreh

3 Comments »

  1. I appreciate your alternate viewpoint, but personally, I was very impressed with the film and was even incredibly sceptical and cautious on my way to see it the first time. It may have been safe in terms of its structure, but certainly not its content. A female lead? Black central character? Latino central character? Characterised villain right off the bat? That’s some good work there. This similar structure that you are sensing is not solely the A New Hope’s story structure, this is the structure by which all major Fantasy and Adventure tales follow (see The Hero With A Thousand Faces for more, Lucas certainly did).

    This ‘ripping off’ that everyone seems so allergic to, is not new to Star Wars, nor even this Star Wars film in particular. I had a hard time finding plotholes to be honest, this film explains itself quite well and the characters are some of the most expressive and characterised in decades.

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  2. I appreciate your alternate viewpoint, but personally, I was very impressed with the film and was even incredibly sceptical and cautious on my way to see it the first time. It may have been safe in terms of its structure, but certainly not its content. A female lead? Black central character? Latino central character? Characterised villain right off the bat? That’s some good work there. This similar structure that you are sensing is not solely the A New Hope’s story structure, this is the structure by which all major Fantasy and Adventure tales follow (see The Hero With A Thousand Faces for more, Lucas certainly did).

    This ‘ripping off’ that everyone seems so allergic to, is not new to Star Wars, nor even this Star Wars film in particular. I had a hard time finding plotholes to be honest, this film explains itself quite well and the characters are some of the most expressive and characterised in decades.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The film was far too safe. In essence, it combined elements from Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, served only to reiterate what we’ve seen before. There was no real originality to it. Plus, of all the people to kill off, why take a leaf out of George R. R. Martin’s “Kill everyone” play book? It was an enjoyable enough film, that has spawned a few entertaining fan theories, but it stayed true to the George Lucas School of Film making: sell merchandise, lots and lots of merchandise.
    I’m not even going to start on the decision that this film nullifies the Expanded Universe…

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