Okay, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Read no more of this post if you have not seen the film, plan to, and care about this subject.
You can, of course, read on if you don’t care. 😉
I REPEAT: LAST WARNING: Do NOT read on if you care about spoilers!
I ventured into the small Windham Cinema yesterday here in upstate New York with absolutely NO preconceptions. I knew NOTHING about the plot and had no clue what to expect. I knew only that some of the characters from the first three films reprise their old roles.
When it was finished, my initial reaction was, yes, I enjoyed the film. It held my attention throughout and was a pleasant diversion on a quiet post-Christmas Monday. Kids in the cinema REALLY seemed to love it!
As for the new characters, I was pleased a woman held the major leading role. I liked the new characters generally, too – although there weren’t all that many. One disappointment is there is no prominent “heavyweight” actor-type lending a “gravitas” to the youthful proceedings, which we had seen in all of the earlier films – an Alec Guinness, a Peter Cushing, a Liam Neeson, a Christopher Lee, a voice of a James Earl Jones. (Unless you count Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, which I don’t in this context.)
What I consider the big letdown. As author of three novels (so far) of a continuing drama, I’m always conscious of how life is unpredictable and ever-changing. That is reality. Yes, similarities between happenings can and does occur, but really only up to a point – and when you reach that point and pass it by as a fiction writer you are pretty much just repeating (and arguably even “plagiarizing”) yourself.
Apparently, though, doing that is fine in the Stars Wars universe. In the 1st film (A New Hope), the plot eventually climaxes with outgunned, outnumbered, nobel “rebels” (who are presumably good people fighting for good things), desperately seeking to destroy an evil “Death Star.” Repeating that somewhat could be excused in the 3rd film (Return of the Jedi): the Empire was building, umm, a “better” and even more “deadly”…. “Death Star.”
Now, in The Force Awakens, in 2015, the 7th of these films, and with the filmmakers possessing a virtually unlimited budget and surely access to the best sci-fi writing minds in the entire, uh, galaxy, the rebels once more had to destroy yet another “Death Star?” That’s 3 “Death Stars” in only 7 films? Nobody could come up with something else?
I’m sorry, but in my humble opinion that is underwhelming to say the least. The imagination is infinite, and filmmaking technology has also moved on by leaps and bounds since 1977 – almost anything that can be pictured in the mind can now be put up on screen. One would think the story possibilities were therefore virtually endless?
Did the filmmakers go what they considered the “safe” route? (Indeed, once more they are also on a desert planet at the beginning.) Did they fear being too inventive and merely sought to produce another outer space shoot ’em up extravaganza that would bring in gazillions of dollars, euros, pesos, sterling, yen, etc., globally at the box office (which it clearly is doing) merely by putting “Star Wars” in the title? Whatever the reason, while the Force may have “awakened” in this film, and it’s a fun watch, sadly the overall storyline is essentially sleepwalking – and that is a shame.
Just my personal reaction.
Hope you have a good Tuesday, wherever you are in the world. And may the Force be…. 🙂