The Force has awoken. For the first time in over a decade I was able to go to a movie theater and see a brand new Star Wars. I was very vocal about how cautiously optimistic I was. I remember absolutely falling in love with The Phantom Menace trailers and all of the merchandising. That poster of little Anakin with Vader’s shadow? My favorite. So to hear there was a new Star Wars, with the original cast, taking place 30 years after Return of the Jedi I thought “This could be epic, or this could be awful”. Well, it was Epic.
There are parts to the movie I wasn’t happy with and I do want to put those down, but overall I was excited. I walked out of the theater in tears. Tears of sadness, tears of joy, just so excited again for Star Wars. I haven’t been excited for Star Wars really since Attack of the Clones, but now I feel like a fan again. So what did I enjoy and what bugged the heck out of me?
First off, they got BB-8 right. He wasn’t just an Artoo clone. He had his own personality. He wasn’t a catch-all fix everything Astro droid. He had a mission, he had dialog, and he had humor.
I really enjoyed the sets, props, and costumes (mostly, but more on that later). I felt like CGI was used really well in most areas and not overly relied upon. It was awesome to see actual set pieces being used rather than the massive green screen rooms used on the prequels.
I thought the acting was spot on. The chemistry of the cast was great. Yes, there were a few scenes that felt forced (pun intended) but these were mostly unknown, new actors. Just like A New Hope, which is great. I felt one downside to the prequels was bringing in so many big names, and it fell flat.
I really felt like JJ paid significant homage to the originals while mapping out a new road for the franchise. That’s not easy. You can’t just clone the original trilogy, which I feel is something most of the expanded Universe did. He added some new elements that I think are going to really make things exciting. He also did these things in such a way that really made this an emotional roller coaster. I cried two or three times. I whooped seeing those new X-WIngs. And when Chewie started one-shotting those Stormtroopers I nearly peed myself.
But, for all it’s amazing bits there are a few things I wasn’t a fan of. Keep in mind, these didn’t really diminish the movie for me at all, and it’s absolutely at the top of my list.
First and foremost was Han losing the Falcon. Just no. That was incredibly unbelievable. Especially since it was just abandoned on a desert planet. Which brings me to my next point…
Jakku. Why? Why not just use Tattooine? Why did we need another outer rim desert planet full of junk traders? Seeing as how Rey is a force sensitive person abandoned as a child, that would have really worked. Speaking of the Force…
Kylo Ren is such a bitch. He’s supposed to be the next in line Dark Side bad guy, but two people that have never held a lightsaber before beat him down. A girl that hadn’t ever even believed in the Force was able to match him for power and skill after a couple of hours running around. And his entire back story bugs the hell out of me. I really don’t believe, after what they saw Vader do, his parents would just let him go off to join the newest Empire. That just isn’t a believable back story to me. “Our son has too much Vader in him, and now he’s run off to join the next Emperor. Let’s just break up and all ignore him until he becomes a major problem”. Come on man.
The First Order itself was also kind of a let down. Their costumes bugged me, a lot. They were plain and they didn’t seem to actually fit anyone wearing them. I don’t even recall seeing a way to identify rank. Captain Phasma was also absolutely unnecessary. I get the feeling that they included her in so much promo just to build up hype. In the movie she doesn’t actually do anything worth while. I mean, she doesn’t even put up a fight when captured. She just does what they say and that’s it for her screen time. So disappointing.
Time was also really weird in this movie. Like, time between encounters and travel time. It seemed like as soon as a ship would leave a planet they were already at the next one, and at that next one was exactly the people they needed. I know that the Force manipulates events and what not, but to happen to have the Falcon on a random planet, then have it be in the same city as Rey and Finn, then have it just happen to be right where they’re running, and then have it get captured by Han Solo out of nowhere…
So really most of my “negatives” aren’t actual negatives and just things I noticed while watching. If they were different I doubt they would add more to the movie at all. Overall I think it was really well done and I’m excited to see where this goes. I can’t wait to learn more about why the Republic and Resistance are different, maybe a book or comic about Ben Solo’s training and turn to the Dark Side. Is Rey Luke’s daughter? How did that weird little alien get Luke’s lightsaber out of Bespin? And who the fuck is Lord Voldemort Supreme Ruler guy? I see a lot of extra stuff coming out between now and the next film, which is great. I may just start buying Star Wars stuff again.