What The Force Awakens got wrong…and right

I have now seen the Star Wars the Force Awakens three times…that may seem a little obsessive but I have seen six of the seven Star Wars movies in the theater more than that. If we count the re-releases I have seen all the Star Wars movies in the theaters at least three times. Yes I am a fanboy and I make no apologies for that.

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Now that we are several months away from the premier and most of the people who were going to see this movie in the theater have done so…we can feel safe to talk about the events of this movie without the need to qualify everything as spoilers. If you have not seen it, and do not want to know what happens…why are you reading this? I am pretty tired of spoiler drama on the internet especially when it comes to shows and movies that are years old…but we can talk about that more another day.

For now let us discuss the seventh movie of the Star Wars franchise (really eight put I do not think most of us count the animate Clone Wars movie…mostly because it had no opening crawl).

The conventional wisdom says that The Force Awakens is just a remake of Episode Four A New Hope. While that argument seems to hold up pretty well, I think a better way to say that is this movie was fan serving. A way to get the bad taste out of our mouths after those pretty awful prequel movies that are universally hated by most Star Wars fans. At least those of my generation, but to be honest my kid doesn’t much like them either and the reason for that is they are bad movies. Bad movies that were executed poorly and that had weak plots.

The first line of the movie is, “this will begin to make things right.” In large part I think that is true. However, I have a problem with this movie and it comes along with an art versus commerce argument. It is my firm belief that a successful film franchise can be made on the success of any one film. Therefore the artist in charge of making a movie should do their best to make a great movie. With a franchise like this, with a corporation investing billions of dollars to buy it and make new movies that is not always what we get. Episode Four is my shining example of what can come from making one great movie.

The Force Awakens is not a great movie. I think it is probably the third best Star Wars movie, but that average gets dragged down by how horrible the three prequels are. I place firmly behind The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and just ahead of A New Hope because the stakes are different now…and that is a good thing. People can die, and the best thing TFA does is introduce us to new characters to take their place in the narrative.

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With that being said this movie has a lot of flaws.Every movie does. We can only suspend our disbelief for so long. The biggest flaw in this movie, in this plot, in this part of the story is the Star Killer base. Death Star 3.0. Been there done that…saw Luke Skywalker kill one and Wedge Antilles kill another. I do not want to see it again, and for me its inclusion in this story is almost laughable. JJ Abrams doesn’t want to be the remake guy? Then how about don’t write and direct a fucking remake. Corporate suits that know shit about entertaining fans aside, this was a poor choice by the writer and director.

The next biggest flaw in this movie is one of convenience. Rey and Finn leave Jakku in Han Solo’s most prized possession…and we are suppose to believe they just happened to run into Han and Chewy. Really? Cinema Sins better ding the fuck out of this ridiculous plot point. Do you have any idea how big the fucking Star Wars Universe is? I will give you a clue…they call it fucking space. They try to explain that away saying Han had his senors set to find his ship…which is just poor writing.

On top of that we are to believe that Han let someone steal his ship, the thing he loves most in the universe, and that he just went out and started being a smuggler again. Without his ship. Sorry I am not buying that one.

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Here is another quandary for everyone. If Luke Skywalker goes into hiding…and no one knows where he is…who the fuck made a map and how did said map get back to anyone of importance? Ya sometimes bad writing is just bad writing and there is no way around this plot hole.

My biggest problem with all of this is this is a movie that is just a place setter. It is an introduction to where the Star Wars franchise is at now. And I mean the 30 plus years since the Return of the Jedi. And the new Disney approved timeline. I am not sure there is any way around that. My next biggest complaint is this film suffers from what was wrong with the prequels. The fact that so much of the story was not shown, or has not been written yet. Far to much of the story takes place off screen.

That is ok because I am totally going to read the books anyway…but shouldn’t a movie with this budget tell one complete story and then leave some minor details to the books and comics? I am not sure this movie does that, or Hollywood these days cares about telling one complete story in any one movie…everyone wants the sequels and I am not convinced that serves the fans. I do not like buying a ticket to a show (plus pop and popcorn and all that) and not feeling like I saw a complete story.

Did I forget to mention the droid depression? Isn’t there any space anti depressants?

 

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