Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Why I hated "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

This movie essentially pulls the same stunt that created Star Trek: Into Darkness (by the same Director):
  1. Pick out the best of the series (in Star Trek, the Wrath of Khan is widely celebrated as the best of that cannon) and re-do it.  The Force Awakens is a tweaked copy of the original 1977 movie.
  2. Follow roughly the same basic plot points, but make it hip and cool.  Cram in a bunch of referential jokes and a romance that doesn't really belong.
To be clear, this had excellent special effects, I really enjoyed seeing Harrison Ford play Han, and I think the character Finn (John Boyega) was genuinely excellent and has a great career ahead of him.  None of that prevented me from being really bored at the end.

Other issues:
  • This force goes to 11.  Ray is now essentially Marvel's Jean Gray, meaning the force is now essentially a mutant psychic superpower similar to the X-Men character, where before it was a latent ability that required loads of training.  Also, you get to mysteriously know how to fly a space ship
  • Dialog.  Even though I wouldn't call the original series dialog excellent, this script was particularly hammy and well out of step with the color of its original characters.
  • Loads of plot errors.  Skywalker's location doesn't correspond to any known star charts ... oh wait, there it is.  Then there's a weapon that shoots across massive distances without entering hyperspace.  Later, R2-D2 wakes up a the convenient time to move this BS forward.
  • Photography.  Changes dramatically over the course of the film.  It starts out looking very similar to the original Star Wars and then turns into a dyslexic and tedious laser festival.  Pew pew pew.
If you want to see J.J. Abrams do a very personal, beautiful sci-fi movie that's clearly HIS, go watch Super 8. Don't watch this movie made by committee.  Disney thinks if you put all the right sci-fi elements into a stew that it will taste good.  Instead, it's disjointed and lame, and nobody's going to be talking about it in 5 years.

Also see: Why Action Movies Suck - this also underlined a great deal of my angst.  You can cut to 4:40 to hear someone hit the nail on the head.

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