Let’s kick things off by saying I’m completely aware that no matter what I say here, good or bad, you’re still going to see this movie aren’t you? Doesn’t matter if your best friend tells you to avoid it, you’ll still see it.
With that in mind I’m going to make the assumptions that you’ve seen all of the previous Star Wars, I’m also going to make the assumption that you’ve seen the JJ Abrams take on Star Trek too. You should also know that some of this may be classed as ‘spoilers’, anything plot wise I’ll try and avoid or flag beforehand. All good? Then let’s begin.
The first thirty seconds or so of the movie is just like watching the original Star Wars. The Lucas Film logo, the writing, the music, even the cut scene from stars to space ship. I’ll come back to this theme shortly.
Lawrence Kasdan (Star Wars Episode’s V and VI, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Oblivion) take writing duties alongside Mr Abrams himself who, as I’m sure you’re aware, also directs. The story isn’t bad, it’s not ground-breaking either but it’s not bad, the pace is good, it’s funnier than previous Star Wars films with voiceless robot BB-8 providing a lot of the chuckles.
SPOILER – HIGH LEVEL PLOT DETAIL
So the high level plot is that this space opera becomes a space adventure. We’re introduced to new characters, the ones you’ve seen on the trailers, they kick off an adventure which sees them bumping into some familiar faces, we see a planet-space-ship-thing with a massive gun and familiar space ships.
If you’ve seen JJ Abrams take on Star Trek then you will be familiar with the style of his writing and directing. This is very much classic Abrams, high octane, nicely shot, rapid pace.
Now you’re expecting me to say I loved it right? The best thing since sliced bread? I’m afraid I can’t do that. I did enjoy it. I thought it was an absolutely fine space set action adventure film. However, it left me feeling I’d paid money to be setup for other films in an ongoing massive franchise. This felt like the first episode of a brand new series you see on Amazon Prime or Netflix. The difference is that they last for half an hour to an hour, this lasted over two.
SPOILER – MORE PLOT STUFF
The other problem I have with The Force Awakens is I kept having a sense of déjà vu whilst watching it. It clicked quite quickly that it’s almost a shot-for-shot re-hash of some of the early Star Wars movies.
We’ve got a Death Star-esq planet/space ship that’s been built with a huge flaw in it that means the X-wings need to fly along it and…sounds familiar right? We have a young girl who just happens to have Jedi powers who is also a bit of a mechanic and salvager, taking things apart and fixing things…sounds familiar right?
We even, and I shit you not here, we even have a bar scene with a whole bunch of aliens you haven’t seen before enjoying a drink and a large not-quite-Jabba-could-be-Jabba’s-brother type alien too. With a bar-owner who reminded me of the Oracle from the Matrix movies, she seemed to know as much at least.
So, the effects are brilliant, the 3D is good although there were a couple of scenes that were extremely blurry. BB-8 is a good addition to the movie, light-years ahead of Jar-Jar Binks anyway. John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac are all fine in their roles.
But I find my ‘whelm’ stored in the ‘under’ position. Abrams takes what he did with Star Trek a step further here by obviously setting up a whole new world (cue Disney singing) and new characters which will come with however many further Episodes we get. Otherwise however, I feel like I’ve just watched an extended version of a pilot for a TV show. A show I’m going to have to wait a year, maybe two, before I see the next episode of.