the force awakens commentary

Oh yeah, and you know there’s gonna be a few spoilers.

This is the film that JJ Abrams was expected to deliver. Lots of action, basic dialogue, and a lot of homage to the original series and other science fiction. If you’ve seen Abrams’ other films, you’ll recognize the approach and style.  Running through explosions, the killing of a major character, and chirpy banter.

The more interesting question is how The Force Awakens contributes to the overall Star Wars franchise. The film is enjoyable to watch, but by no means a classic. It doesn’t have the visual daring of A New Hope, nor the classic writing of Empire. It doesn’t even have interesting action set pieces of Jedi’s more interesting sequences, nor the emotional resolution of that film’s conclusion. For those who rank films, I’d put Force Awakens in between Jedi and the prequels.

One can also ask about how The Force Awakens speaks to the dramatic and aesthetic development of the franchise. Here, the news isn’t terribly good. Abrams’ approach to the material is to extensively recycle the earlier films. There is so much borrowing that The Force Awakens might be dubbed “Lil’ Star Wars.” All living major characters have returned. Key plot points have also been recycled, from the use of a next generation Death Star to having a cantina with lots of strange aliens. As a result, the Force Awakens relies too much on existing material when the original series introduced new visual and dramatic elements in each film. I suspect that Abrams knows this as well – the central character, Rey, literally lives in the abandoned husk of an AT-AT.

Still, this film is as a step in the right direction. Disney has shown that it can create a film that is very enjoyable, has humor, isn’t a visual mess, and has some characters that you might care about. And it’s audience wants some connection with the original series, which was well delivered. I think a lot of people will want to see the coming conflict between Rey and Kylo.

My hope is that the SW 8 director, Rian Johnson, will be allowed to be a little more creative, in the same way that Irvin Kershner was allowed to be a little more operatic with Empire. If nothing else, we’ll have a nice series of space westerns and at best, we can have films that possessed the dramatic build ups of the original series.

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Written by fabiorojas

December 21, 2015 at 4:58 am

3 Responses

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  1. —-Spoilers ahead—–
    I can´t get over how non-sensical the politics is in this movie. You have a Republic that has been restored as the overarching regime of the Galaxy. Then you have the Resistance. Who is the Resistance resisting? Not the galactic government. They are resisting the First Order, an organization which emerged out of what’s left of the overthrown Empire. The First Order is fighting to extinguish the Republic so that they can reestablish rule over the Galaxy. Logically this must mean that the First Order is now the Rebel force (sorry Restistance). Somehow, even though they are a shell of their former glory, they still retain the trappings and pursestrings of their old totalitarian state. They have the resources to build an even bigger, more technologically advanced Death Star, under the Republic’s radar. What? I’m not saying we need the complexity of trade-deal congressional politics to have a good movie. But the (lack of) political context we get, leaves the plot seriously undermotivated. What are these 3 groups after and how do they relate to each other? Who is Snoke and what is his political base in the post-Empire era? Does the Republic have an army as well as the Resistance?

    Liked by 1 person


    December 22, 2015 at 10:01 am

  2. You are right – it is very confusing! I think the best explanation is the Republic has emerged as a state and the First Order is a separatist movement composed of “left overs” from the Empire. If you buy that, the rest makes sense. The resistance is sponsored by the Republic and is trying to fight inside First Order territory. I would not try to add much logic to the whole Death Star 3 thing. It is clearly an attempt to rehash Ep IV.



    December 23, 2015 at 8:05 am

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