Thursday, 24 December 2015
THE FORCE AWAKENS REVIEW (MOVIE)
Hey all and hope you are all getting a chance to unwind today. Here is my review of The Force Awakens. Sadly this is quite short compared to what I originally had blogged. I was going to break down every character, relevant scenes, and explain hidden easter eggs, spoilers, and more. The new movie has been lost on some people even a few SW fans as it is a little vague in parts if we are to be truthful. Sadly I had to rush this review so its more of a bullet point like/dislike approach.
I've had no choice, but to reduce this review drastically as I'm incredibly busy with uploading radio shows then also getting ready for Christmas vacation. Hopefully I can still present the general idea of the movie without giving away too many spoilers.
I shall leave the negative until the latter part of the review. I want to state that The Force Awakens is a very good movie, but it has a lot of problems, which I feel would not be over looked if the film itself was bad. I've read many reviews and its hard not to get enveloped in the hype, but after watching the movie 3 times & discussing it with others its now the right time to share some thoughts.
The Force Awakens is a decent movie, which has tried to steer us away from the prequels. The cinematography is excellent, and one of my favorite scenes was at the beginning with the new First Order storm troopers in the APCS heading to the surface of a planet. A great opening scene and the new storm troopers are one of my favorites in the film. They are much more of a professional trained force that hit what they shoot at. So I really liked this feature and the way they left the APCS was more realistic with how troops emerge.
BB-8 steals the whole show and is so cute. Pretty much the new R2, but a welcome addition who I'm eager to see along side C3PO & R2 in episode 8. BB has the same cheeky personality as R2.
Rey and Finn I really liked and were solid in their roles along side Han Solo and Chewbacca. Rey who is the soon to be new Jedi reminds me of Asoka Tano in a way as she is a likable person that I can pledge my support too. I do feel John Boega who played the role of Finn put in a good performance and really stood out for me.
The scenes and effects are all of a high quality as to be expected and they carry the movie nicely.
I'm trying to refrain from discussing the negative to avoid giving the impression I didn't enjoy the movie when I did. Its just full of problems that I feel stopped it becoming a great movie and instead we a got a very good movie, but not what it could of been. With reluctance I shall delve into the bad factors I guess, but just because I'm a sci fi/sw nerd doesn't mean I will accept everything and fall to fanboy fanaticism & dare not criticize it.
I'm not sure where to start, but Kylo Ren is a bit of a disappointment if I'm going to be honest. I actually liked the new light saber and even more so after seeing it in action. For me Kylo ended when he removed his helm. Before this the Darth Revan lookalike was quite a nice new villain who I was excited to learn more about. He's not a Sith yet and badly needs to be one so he can be held in the same awe as Darth Maul and Darth Vader & so on. However, I understand where they are going with his journey and evolution I'm just disappointed as he does not carry the same presence as Darth Maul or Darth Vadar.
Kylo is more of a recent convert to the dark side akin to a naughty jedi with a little bit of the dark force. That's pretty much him. The problem is when his mask is removed he isn't menacing or convincing as an actor. Adam Driver was quite weak and came across as someone from the Twilight vampire movies experiencing a bad day. I guess imagine a bad Shakespearean actor and this is maskless Kylo. Hopefully this improves for episode 8 with another needed villain who is much more of a Sith. We need the Sith as much as the Jedi.
Personally the dark side faction were not menacing or sinister enough. Snoke was cool, but we only got a glimpse of him and if he isn't who all SW nerds think he is then I'll be very surprised. General Hux didn't look the part and was a bad miscast. The only character to draw me in was Captain Phasma, but she is only a bit part as well. So it was the light side faction aka The Resistance, which had far stronger characters and more presence on screen. The only person who I thought wasn't a strong lead on the Resistance was Poe Dameron. A forgettable character in my opinion when compared to Finn & Rey. There is worse though at least its not Jar Jar Binks.
Overall this is a good movie, but it is let down by the rehash and remake method. The plot is a little weak to be fair, but we could actually call The Force Awakens 'A New Hope Awakens with a slight nod to The Empire Strikes Back'.
There simply isn't enough new to give the film weight and I did feel it lacked a bit of grit and substance. Yes I really enjoyed it, but it could have been so much more. However, I personally think the reason this happened is Disney wanted to play it safe with audiences to see how it would be received considering the travesty of the prequels. The prequels had a fine enough story, but were let down by terrible acting and some sub par CGI.
No risks were taken with The Force Awakens and that is exactly what you get with JJ. He remakes older movies and adds a little here and there and provides a filler (as we say in hip hop) dumbed down script. Luckily it wasn't dumbed down to the level of the recent Star Trek movies.
To conclude its essentially a set up film and a good one playing it safe, but we need a deeper story, and a director or directors that can deliver an above standard pop corn script to do justice to the characters. I'm happy JJ has essentially done what he was hired to achieve, and it is the next best SW movie after the OT. For episode 8 and 9 we need higher level directors whether sci fi fans or not that will deliver the deeper story arc needed.
The Force Awakens doesn't quite awaken and its a shame as it could have been great, but it is still a good movie setting it up for better directors to do the franchise justice. The 4th best SW movie in AZ's opinion.