It’s time for my first, and presumably last, Q&A blog post about all things Star Wars. Without further ado, today’s question, which was sent in from a reader all the way over in Portland, OR.
Q: So how was [The Force Awakens]? Note that I will probably never see it so you can spoil away. I’m just extremely curious of these pop phenomenons can ever live up to their hype.
A: For those of us who have been waiting 32.5 years to see this movie, it might as well be the Second Coming of Christ. For everybody else, it’s probably going to be considered a pretty good movie and a whole lot better than George Lucas’ prequels. The film is entertaining and funny with lots of gorgeously shot scenes in real world locales and action sequences. There’s a cute robot zooming about for the kids and a pretty great little story to go along with him. It’s a great cinematic roller coaster ride.
Unlike in the “Special Editions,” Han Solo is also allowed to once again be a dashing rogue and many of his rough edges back in place. [Mild spoiler] he shoots first plenty of times and feeds one of his foes to a intergalactic monster without batting an eyelash. It’s wonderful to see Harrison Ford once again invested in a role rather than sleepwalking through another blockbuster. The script rewards him for being a good sport about returning to a franchise that he’s mocked a million times over the past three decades. For Ford alone, the film is well worth a few hours of your time and the sight of one of my childhood heroes getting to be himself again on the silver screen is nothing short of pure joy.
However, The Force Awakens isn’t perfect and I’m not enough of a Star Wars fan to go completely gaga over it. Naysayers are already describing with terms like “JJ Abrams played it too safe” and “the movie is pretty much a remake of A New Hope.” I think non-fans will chuckle at some of the unintentionally silly moments in the film, especially during the final scene and whenever Andy Serkis’ character (the ridiculously named Supreme Leader Snoke) shows up on screen.
All of these criticisms are fair but I’ll defend Abrams’ decision to not get too crazy with Disney’s 2 billion dollar toy box. The primary goal of the film, from a business standpoint, is to reestablish the Star Wars universe and erase much of the ill-will still festering from the prequels. I think The Force Awakens has and will accomplish these goals. It will be the role of future SW installments to break away from the series’ tropes in much the same way the recent Marvel movies have begun busting out of the trappings and traditions of the comic book film genre.
Anyway, if only so I have a photo to go along with this, here’s some further reading compliments of a guy who knows a LOT more about the inner workings of Hollywood and Star Wars than I do.