After seeing The Force Awakens at the midnight showing last night, we both left with some differing opinions about some aspects of the film. However, what we did agree on was the sheer amount of joy, humour, and fun that came through on the big screen.
From the moment the opening crawl and John Williams’ score appeared, it seemed like everyone in the cinema had the biggest, stupidest grin on their faces, which is exactly as it should be when watching Star Wars. It just felt right, and from then on, I don’t think anyone really stopped smiling at the jokes, the heroism, or the great chemistry between the both the new and the old cast members. The practical effects were great, the CGI didn’t stand out as glaringly bad, and everything felt the way Star Wars used to feel. We were thrown into this used, beaten up galaxy that we had all come to know and love with the original trilogy, and, like I said, it just felt right.
The characters are very engaging, and the three new heroes, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac have a chemistry between them that speaks volumes about their personalities and talent. As well as our heroes, the film’s villains are fairly impressive themselves. Adam Driver is an interesting new take on the classic Star Wars villain, and makes for a very menacing and impressive character. However, the much-hyped Captain Phasma, Gwendoline Christie’s character, is terribly under-used, and I’d go as far as to say wasted. Of course, we have the return of our old heroes too, and it feels just like old times. To sum up the quality of the characters of this film, they always feel like real people, who say things that a normal human would say without a rant about sand in sight.
Speaking of ranting about sand, if you’re worried that this film follows the prequels into any of their pitfalls, then have no fear, because this is about as far removed from those stagnant period-pieces as you can get. This is mostly due to the absolutely breakneck speed at which this movie progresses and the wealth of references to the original trilogy, as well as the quality of its characters and special effects. However, at times, this fast-pace and reliance on the original films does work against it.
It occasionally feels like some very key scenes are glossed over in order to flash onto the next big set-piece, and as amazing and impressive as they are, those key moments would benefit from a little more space to breathe and develop. Not a whole lot more, but they definitely required a bit more attention and care. Unfortunately though, this is a common issue with Abrams’ films, as they frequently rely on a surface-level development that moves at a ferocious pace. That being said, this refusal to slow down for anything does mean that the stodgy, over-explained prequels are nowhere to be found, and it closely resembles the action-adventure pace of A New Hope; or, more accurately, A New Hope on speed.
However, this is a resemblance that brings up another issue. The reliance on the original trilogy extends beyond pacing, set design and special effects and into the script. To be specific, the storyline of this film is more of a greatest hits version of the original trilogy than its own, original design. Granted, Star Wars has always been formulaic in its structure, but this was an opportunity to be innovative and creative in this new story, and unfortunately it was wasted in order to give fans something that they’ve seen before numerous times. The reasoning for this is understandable to an extent, they obviously wanted something tried and tested to kick off a trilogy that might grow into its own thing, but there’s a limit, and at times this film toed the line between homage and reboot.
With that said though, there’s no denying that this was an incredibly fun film to watch, and if it’s done nothing else, it’s made us incredibly excited to see episode VIII, where these characters will hopefully develop even further, and give us more of the same fun. We both plan to go back and watch this film at least one more time, and who knows, maybe on a second viewing it will be even more enjoyable to watch.
Have you seen The Force Awakens? Do you agree with what we’ve written, disagree, or do you think we’ve overlooked something? If so, please leave a comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts; and if you’re feeling generous, a like, follow, or share would be amazing.