‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ — Love it or Hate it, It’s Here To Stay
By J.H. Diamond
Now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been released on Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming media, millions of viewers will be seeing it for the first time. They’ll grab their popcorn and lounge on their couches for a glorious 135 minutes of sci-fi bliss — or maybe not.
Now before you whip out your lightsaber and prepare to defend your beloved franchise at all costs, read on.
The Force Awakens, episode VII in the Star Wars series, is by far the highest-grossing movie of all time. To date, it has raked in just over $2 billion at the box office. You read that right: $2 billion! Financially, SW: TFA has been a staggering success. The problem is … well, the movie just sucks.
It should be clarified that The Force Awakens is not the worst Star Wars movie ever. Sorry Phantom Menace, you still hold that title. But to be honest, if this movie weren’t a Star Wars title, it would be just another forgettable sci-fi B-movie. Here are the reasons:
SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want plot details revealed to you.
Zero Character Development. Well, perhaps not zero. You do learn something about the characters — mostly that Rey, the new heroine played by Daisy Ridley, can do everything better than any man. She’s so awesome, she can use the force without any training. Luke now seems like a major schmuck because he had to spend all of The Empire Strikes Back learning to use the force. It took him three movies to beat Darth Vader. Rey, on the other hand, neatly slaps down the new villain, Kylo Ren, before the credits roll. And she doesn’t stop there! Nope. She fixes the Millennium Falcon way better than Han Solo could, and she flies it like an ace pilot. Oh, and stormtroopers beware, ’cause she’ll just kick your ass!
Bad Writing. When it was announced that Lawrence Kasdan, one of the original Empire Strikes Back writers, was working on this film, it was hard not to get excited. Empire is, after all, the best of the original trilogy and the best of the series. But after one hour of The Force Awakens, it’s clear that this time Kasdan didn’t bring it. The forced humor and lack of meaningful dialogue (apparently left out in favor of chase scenes) illustrate this all too well.
Severe Lack Of Story. This goes hand in hand with the above, and is a direct reflection of the poor writing the film suffers from. In the first hour, there are no fewer than five chase scenes. Count ’em! It’s amazing. Shaking your head and wondering when the movie is going to start, you feel like yelling at the screen, “OK, we’ve done the unrelated action intro, now can we get to the story please?”
Silly Villain. Really! For all the fans who were hoping for a villain on par with Darth Vader, The Force Awakens almost succeeds. In the first sequence, you’re introduced to Kylo Ren, a Sith lord so powerful he can hold a laser blast in mid-air without even giving it his full attention. He’s dark and mysterious, and you find yourself wanting to know more about him. Halfway through the film, however, Kylo takes off his Vader-esque helmet and you wonder what the hell just happened. Instantly, he goes from awesome badass to sniveling brat. Seriously. Watch closely and you’ll see him snivel! As the film progresses, he only gets less effective as a primary villain, until during the climactic lightsaber battle, when he is easily bested by Rey. But then again, she’s got girl power.
It’s A Remake — Only Much Worse. This is sad but unfortunately true. Not much is original in The Force Awakens. It’s nearly a scene-for-scene remake of Star Wars: A New Hope, the first movie in the original trilogy released in 1977.
One moviegoer nailed it on IMDB.com: “… the movie seems to be a reproduction of everything we love in Star Wars, the cantina, the Falcon, a bad guy in a mask with a red light saber, a death star, x-wing battle, father-son/dark and light, etc… — reproduction, that’s it. Nothing new, no story. … “ This pretty much says it all. 
So is there anything good about The Force Awakens? Sure, but it’s the exception, not the rule. For one thing, once Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford) enters the movie, the tone completely changes. Ford brings a levity to the film that simply wasn’t there before his appearance. In fact, his caliber of acting makes you realize just how dismal the new stars are. They can’t touch his screen presence.
The bottom line? See the movie. For all its flaws, see it. It is Star Wars after all. Who knows, you just might like it. But don’t expect the epic you hoped for. Quality-wise, it sits somewhere between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Clearly, it’s not on par with the originals, but it not the worst of the bunch. And don’t lose hope. Episode VIII releases next year.
. Ronen, R. (2016, March 29). Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens Reviews & Ratings – IMDb. Retrieved March 29, 2016, from imdb.com/title/tt2488496/reviews