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Review: Star Wars Force Awakens
Eric Schaen (12/31/2015)
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Related: Clix Craves: Star Wars
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Star Wars Spoiler Free Review
The original Star Wars trilogy was a true hero’s Journey, that’s a big part of what made it great. Luke Skywalker trained to use the force over the course of three films and became more adept as he went. At times he is overwhelmed, impatient and opponents even get the better of him. Luke even needs his friends help to survive through the original trilogy. These faults increase his characters relatability making him an every-man.

Unlike Luke, Rey seems to be wholly capable no matter what situation she finds herself in. She can fight, pilot ships and seems to speak any language she needs to, even though she hasn’t left this junky sand planet for the majority of her life. A little less girl power would have done wonders for her character. She is only on a journey in the destination sense and seems to have all the skill and knowledge she requires. Worse, she wields the force in multiple ways without any instruction or even basic knowledge of how the Force works. I know there are all sorts of speculation going on about her character being more fleshed out in future films, but sorry any movie should be able to stand on its own without multiple installments to explain something this crucial to its narrative.

Its True Heroclix Star WarsIt just comes of feeling way too Deus ex Machina.

de·us ex ma·chi·na (noun) - an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.

While I actually enjoyed John Boyega’s (Finn) acting in the film, I’m not sure I get Finn’s Reason for Treason. Being a Stormtrooper, Finn has been raised since preadolescence to be a loyal subject to the First Order. Yet for no good reason he breaks his programming and goes AWOL. The First Order is the only family he has ever known, yet he deserts them with no good reason. For a guy who has never even disobeyed a single order up to this point to make such a transformation without anyone showing him the virtues of another path, well… it’s just not very compelling this way.

These matters may come off as nit-picky to some, but they are not. They are fundamentals that help to ground the story and develop the characters with some semblance of dare I say it, realism. As it stands most of the choices made by the character feels pretty artificial.

By far my biggest gripe with the Force Awakens is that I couldn’t help but feel like I had seen this movie before; I did. It was called Star Wars: A New Hope. The movie doesn’t really offer much in the way of original content and this makes its payoffs completely predictable and in truth rather disappointing. All the plot points and beats from the original Star Wars are present and accounted for. The missing droid carrying vital info, the plucky hero from a backwater sand planet, a cantina scene, and even a planet destroying super-weapon; yep there is another ginormous space station that needs to be destroyed… again. The whole world just shelled out a billion dollars to basically see the same movie they saw in 1977.

Mickey Mouse and his goofy pals are laughing all the way to bank (but he’s used to that by now).

The Force Awakens is pretty entertaining but its convenient characters and retreaded plot keep it from living up to all the hype. It’s not bad, it’s not great, but it is Star Wars.  

3 out of 5 Stars.

3 out of 5 Stars

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Your Comments:

Lies: "TFA wasn't the worse movie ever made, far from it. but its the only movie that had fans leaving the theater afterwards actually mad. Mad at the film and Abrams. With all the problems in the prequels, they never had THAT reaction. "

Lies: "nobody has a problem with "midichlorians", its just part of the universe."

I remember quite a bit of rage. As a refresher, George Lucas took one of the most iconic villains ever, and turned him into a failed Jesus Christ complete with virgin birth! Compelling lines like "Yippee!" and "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo" caused the treatment of Vader to be worse than Jar Jar or anything in Force Awakens.

Posted by: Kragnorak on 9/20/2016 11:29:37 AM
@Lord Vader

I think you mean that the prequel films were better then TFA. Sure, the original trilogy was even better (that should go without saying) but the prequels at least were true to the created universe and were they're own stories. TFA was a fanfic retelling of A New Hope with a Mary Sue character - that's worse then Jar Jar Binks. Think about it - worse then JAR JAR BINKS - that's bad, that's really bad, but its true.

TFA wasn't the worse movie ever made, far from it. but its the only movie that had fans leaving the theater afterwards actually mad. Mad at the film and Abrams. With all the problems in the prequels, they never had THAT reaction.

3 out 5 stars is generous and um ... nobody has a problem with "midichlorians", its just part of the universe.


Posted by: Truth on 7/28/2016 12:11:17 PM
@ freindly - I'm not so sure it should read: "It's not *a* bad bad bit of filmmaking". (bad twice)

Nothing worse than correcting someone on an error while making one yourself. And to think, you didn't even have to write multiple paragraphs to make an error. You go dude!

As for me I enjoyed the film. Sure it has some problems but anything is better than Jar Jar Stinks!

Posted by: Wade on 1/7/2016 5:49:10 PM
Excellent review. TFA is better than the prequel films but it is a bit disappointing when compared to the original trilogy.

@ Friendly, it would be nice if you actually commented on anything regarding the movie or the points the reviewer brings up about the film. As it stands you just come off like a pathetic troll.

Posted by: Lord Vader on 1/7/2016 5:23:07 PM
Page 1, Paragraph 3, Sentence 1
Reads: "...pitchforks and torches just here me out."
Should Read: "pitchforks and torches just *hear* me out."

Posted by: @FriendlySpellchecker on 1/7/2016 1:44:52 PM
Page 1, Paragraph 2, Sentence 2
Reads: "It’s not bad bit of filmmaking"
Should read: "It's not *a* bad bad bit of filmmaking"

Posted by: @FriendlySpellchecker on 1/7/2016 1:43:04 PM
@ You'll never know
Lucas's words not mine! Doesn't stop me obsessing over it though!Did you enjoy it?

Posted by: MantisWarrior on 1/7/2016 11:13:06 AM
@MantisWarrior: "Kid's film" sounds just a little bit condescending. *eyebrow raise*

Posted by: You'll never know... on 1/5/2016 7:39:18 AM
I'd give the film a good 4/5. Star wars is, in essence, a kids film. Us nerds just obsess over the little things too much. I enjoyed most of the plot homages to a new hope as they had enough spin on them and as for blasters causing bleeding, perhaps they're more cutty thirty years on in design. The only thing that prevented the 5 for me is that the first order comes across as somewhat incompetent and no threat to the resistance. Think about how many obvious imperial blunders there are. Do you really believe the resistance could lose?

Posted by: MantisWarrior on 1/2/2016 3:25:53 AM
Glad to hear that Harrison still has it. Thanks for not spoiling anything.

Posted by: Danger5 on 1/1/2016 5:25:16 PM
I have to say, I agree with this review. It was pretty good but could have been a lot better.

Posted by: Scotty Summers on 12/31/2015 5:53:20 PM
I agree with most of your points. But, Fin mentioned that the attack on Jakko was his first action after training, so he was a noob and that was his first exposure to the brutality of the Bad Guys. Good observations of Rey.

I fought hard to LIKE this movie, since I despise JJAbrams. Enough to punch him in the nose if I ever met him. That much. Friends couldn't accept my reasons, which usually doesn't bother me, but I realized that most fantasy fans love it while hardcore sci-fi fans do not. I concluded that this is not sci-fi at all, but light fantasy with a space setting. That doesn't make it sci-fi. You can have a sci-fi movie solely on a planet without any ships or blasters (like Blade Runner). As light fantasy, I can accept this movie more easily and just try to enjoy it for what it is--a kid's film.

Posted by: Jon on 12/31/2015 1:37:48 PM
Reading your review made me realize a couple of things... Yes, Rey learned to use the Force very well and gain control quickly. Perhaps she had heard a few stories about mind tricks and decided to give it a try while remaining calm? As I recall Finn stated that that was his first real mission on Jakku. He had seen on his 'first day on the job' how the First Order operates and he just couldn't handle it. Ergo the defection. I would say 3.5 out of 5 stars ;)

Posted by: Ho1ocau5t on 12/31/2015 12:55:50 PM