Thursday, December 31, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Thoughts on the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015, J. J. Abrams):
  1. It was highly entertaining and thoroughly satisfying.
  2. It captures the spirit of the original.
  3. The special effects are impressive and seamlessly integrated.
  4. The two young protagonists—Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) are compelling figures who give the piece energy and interest even in the presence of the iconic characters from the 1977 original.
  5. Some portions of the film drag, especially in the first half.
  6. In plot, the new film follows the original.  This is not necessarily a flaw.  The story of a young and lonely figure struggling to survive on a desert planet who discovers that she has an important place in a greater scheme is archetypal.  It’s a coming of age story.  In The Force Awakens we have two characters finding their place in a greater scheme.
  7. How many Death Stars remain to be blown up? How many sleazy alien bars could there be?
  8. The pilots of the Tie fighters mostly no longer look like Radio Shack employees.
  9. Cute robots grow tiresome.
  10. Whatever people might say about the physical appearance of Princess Leia or Hans Solo, they look pretty much as you would expect nearly 38 years after we first met them.  Ford effectively and convincingly carries off his role—he really acts—not something you can always say of him in some of his recent films.  Carrie Fisher struggles a bit.
  11. The film is well suited for 3-D.
  12. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the film’s successor to Darth Vader, comes across as a disaffected bad-boy teen.  No doubt he does much damage and is evil enough, but in the end he is more irritating than fearsome.
  13. This film, more than the others, considers what it means to be an individual living in an oppressive regime.  For the first time we glimpse a Storm trooper’s inner life.  In its portrayal of the brutal and terroristic tactics of the First Order, for which Kylo Ren is a commander, the film seems to invite comparison with political situations and figures within our own world.
  14. Lupita Nyong'o plays my favorite secondary character, Maz Kanata.
  15. I would have preferred less of the original John Williams score and more of the new music he composed for the film.  However, the music remains a key and distinctive element.

No comments: