Film review: Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)


I wrote recently about how I had abandoned watching the Star Wars series after being disappointed with Start Wars I: The Phantom Menace but a review of the latest entry Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi suggested that it had somewhat progressive politics that might make it worth watching. But my son-in-law, who is an aficionado of the series, suggested that before watching it, I should see Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens because otherwise the plot of the latest film would be hard to follow.

So I watched The Force Awakens yesterday. It was fun but (or maybe because) the story did have a very familiar feel, recycling many tropes those from the first trilogy: a dysfunctional father-son relationship because one person chooses evil over good, a Darth Vader-like villain complete with black robe, mask, and wheezing husky voice (in this case for no apparent reason other than to mimic Vader), the aerial dog-fights, the plucky young adventurer (in this case a woman) who discovers she is imbued with the Force, and a climactic battle with yet another Death Star (or whatever it was called in this film). They even brought back the cantina with all the weird-looking characters and someone who looked like Yoda. The light sabers, spacecraft, other weaponry and technology also looked pretty much the same and not advanced much in the 30 years that had supposedly elapsed since the end of the first trilogy.

But while the second trilogy can be (and in my case was) ignored, it does seems like the latest film would be pretty mystifying if I did not know the backstory created by The Force Awakens. Here’s the trailer.

If you have already seen this film (or do not mind spoilers) you can see the Honest Trailers take on it.

Comments

  1. starskeptic says

    “I should see Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens because otherwise the plot of the latest film would be hard to follow.”
    Mano – that is the funniest sentence I’ve read in a long time; some of us found the Last Jedi pretty mystifying even knowing the backstory of the Force Awakens…

  2. sonofrojblake says

    Reginald Selkirk’s entitled to his opinion, but to be honest I think Disney are, so far, nailing it with Star Wars. It remains to be seen whether the Han Solo movie is the disaster many are predicting, but it’s got Phoebe Waller-Bridge in and I’d watch her read the phone book, so…

    My take on VII was that it was Disney’s “It’s OK, we got this” movie. They had to reassure fans and the public that this was not going to be a Phantom Menace situation. To do that, they effectively remade the first film, but for the 2010s – female lead, major character of colour etc. All of which was great.

    I personally enjoyed the fact that Maz Kanata’s bar is quite clearly and recognisably at the south end of Derwent Water, near Keswick, and the battle for it takes place partly over Thirlmere, with Blencathra and Skiddaw clearly identifiable in the background despite some digital tinkering.

    Rogue One, on the other hand, felt like “now we’ve got your attention, here’s a different kind of movie”, ironically actually coming across as an actual war film rather than a rollicking adventure. It also takes some big risks, most of which pay off.

    Last Jedi seems determined to rip up the SW we all know and warn us that the next film is going to be COMPLETELY different – which without giving any spoilers, given the state of the plot and real life considerations at the end really has to happen.

    I’ll say one thing about Last Jedi: in a film so full of bright colours, fast movements and loud noise, the most affecting moment played out in complete silence over what was almost a still black and white image. It was literally breathtaking. You could have heard a pin drop in the (full) cinema where I watched it, until one woman at the back managed to say “Oh, that is…”. And she was right. It is.

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