Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Revisiting Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Remember 2015, when the long awaited new Star Wars film was released?  Such optimistic times, where everyone got on board to enjoy this new film.  Star Wars fans were united and the future of the franchise seemed so bright.  Sigh…
Time to revisit The Force Awakens.
Highlights:
  • What this movie did really well was not only introduce us to new characters, but quickly establish bonds and friendship between them.  There was instant  chemistry between both Finn and Poe, and more importantly Finn and Rey.  I think a lot of the film’s success stems from this.  One of my favourite parts is that very small moment when Rey offers Finn her hand to pull him up, because it encapsulates what I’m saying here.
  • I love the production design. It feels like the original trilogy, but also has a lot of new elements, which makes it modern without betraying that feeling.
  • Kylo Ren being a Vader wannabe, rather than just a villain retread, was a great choice.  Its more interesting to see a younger, more frustrated antagonist.
  • There’s some really great camerawork, as seen in the Falcon chase on Jakku, and some neat camera pans throughout.
  • BB8.  He’s great!
  • Its a small piece, but coming to the realization that Han and Leia are essentially mourning a child adds an undertone of melancholy to the story which really works.  Even to the point where their last interaction dooms Han.
  • Including Han and Chewie as main characters in the adventure was a great choice.  It really solidifies the feeling that this is Star Wars again, and Ford adds a lot of gravitas.
  • This is very much an adventure flick.  The pacing here is great: it keeps the story moving while still allowing us to spend time and care for these characters.
Downfalls:
  • There’s some clumsy story beats at Maz’s castle.  I get that Finn starts off cowardly, but the idea of him choosing to run off to the outer rim with a couple of aliens was rushed and awkward, especially when he’s thrown right back into the action again.  Also, Rey finding the lightsaber was nonsensical.
  • Did we really need another Death Star?  The idea of it being built into a planet is neat, but all this does is fuel the complaints about it being too similar to the first movie.
  • I’m not entirely sure I like that it ends on a cliffhanger, but I will admit I was glad to see Luke.  You know what? Nah, I’m fine with it.  This isn’t a downfall.
  • Maz Kanata is kind of ridiculous.
  • I didn’t care for that First Order Nazi scene.  It was a little on the nose.
 
Current Re-ranking List:
1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. The Force Awakens
3. Attack of the Clones
 

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