*Spoilers* My Episode VII Review
Okay so I’m coming out of blogger retirement to talk about this film, and once again, I want to explain that there are spoilers in this review, so go away if you don’t want the film spoiled for you.
But since you clicked that you want to read more, I have no sympathy if you have the film spoiled by this post. By now it’s been long enough that you should have seen it at least once.
So was this a great film? Yes, it was… it certainly washed away the bad taste left by the prequels. But it wasn’t the greatest. Some places rate it even as high as 2nd, behind Empire. Not me. This falls middle of the pack. So of the films out now, here’s how I would rank it.
- The Empire Strikes Back (5)
- Star Wars (aka A New Hope) (4)
- Return of the Jedi (6)
- The Force Awakens (7)
- Revenge of the Sith (3)
- The Phantom Menace (1)
- Attack of the Clones (2)
Aww, you’re just saying that because you are old and you’re blinded by nostalgia!
That may be the case. But I don’t think so in this instance. We have to ask ourselves if this film can work with no knowledge of the original trilogy. I guess it is something I’ll never know, but I think a lot of the humor and set pieces don’t work unless you have. For instance, when our heroes are trying to find a ship to run away, and they say there’s a good one and a piece of garbage, and they are forced to go with garbage because the good ship is destroyed, the garbage is the Millennium Falcon. You wouldn’t know that unless you’ve seen the Millennium Falcon before though.
There’s also a subtle line that Finn speaks, where he asks why everyone wants to go back to Jakku once he’s left the planet. This is J.J. Abrams digging at Lucas… who featured Luke and Anakin’s homeworld of Tattooine in 5 of the 6 films he was involved in. Finn is essentially saying, we’re off the Desert planet. Why do we need to go back? We have a whole galaxy to explore. Stop going back to Tattooine! Tattooine is like South Dakota. Why is this place so central to a story about intergalactic civil war?
Both those lines are only recognizable if you’ve seen the Star Wars films already… but it’s okay… because you have.
Basically this is the film we all wanted. I have only two gripes though.
First, I don’t like Lupita Nyong’o’s CG character who’s name I had to look up (Maz Kanata). I’d have preferred it if she just played the part in a costume. While not as annoying as Jar Jar Binks, it’s just weird to have CG interacting with real people. She looks like she belongs in a Pixar film. I also think it was a wasted opportunity to feature a prominent black woman in this film looking more like herself. I think it would have made the character even stronger if they didn’t CG her.
Next, there are far too many coincidences that bring the cast together.
You can’t complain about the coincidences here and not in A New Hope! The Princess just happens to be flying over Tattooine where Luke and Obiwan are, and just happens to put the plans into R2D2 who is captured by the Jawas, who is almost not sold to Luke, but the other R2 unit just happens to have a bad motivator facilitating that the droid is sold to Luke, and the droid happens to know the way to Obiwan’s house, and Luke happens to be away just as the storm troopers murder his parents, and then they happen to go to the cantina on the day that Han Solo happens to be there. THAT’s not a coincidence?
Well honestly no. See, the story of Star Wars (or a New Hope as it is known today) is that the average Joe farmboy from bumblefudge gets reluctantly pulled into this gigantic conflict, and ends up ultimately being the hero. If it can happen to him, well then it can happen to anyone, even ME! Keep in mind when you see that film alone, you don’t know who Luke Skywalker’s family is, you don’t know what the force is, and it’s a story of the little guy becoming greater than he ever possibly imagined.
But in the Force Awakens, we already know what the Force is. Rey isn’t just some random girl… she’s been trained in the force as a kid. Now what are the odds that the planet she is stranded on also happens to be the same location of the Millennium Falcon AND that Han Solo himself is making a run over that planet right at the point they are trying to escape? That part is a little too hokey for me.
I also didn’t like the music.
The MUSIC? John Williams scored this one!
Yeah, he did, but it missed the mark when not playing a tune we’ve already heard. The prequels still had a Star Wars feel when it comes to the music. This one did not.
But overall, it was a good film, and I actually cried in the scene where Rey forcegrabs the lightsaber away from Kylo Ren, and the scene where Luke appears. I don’t remember crying during any other Star Wars film.