I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened
So I have been postponing this post as I wanted to give people plenty of time to watch the film. But just in case…
So a lot of people have been asking me what I think about the new Star Wars film. And why not? After all you know how much I love Star Wars.
So let me say right away:
Yes, I did not like it.
It wasn’t absolutely horrible but I felt that it was far from the great raves everyone gave it. I was greatly disappointed.
So let’s count down my issues with the film. And remember, this is just my opinion: you can take it or leave it; read it or skip it; love it or hate it; etc.
1) Who Are You?
So one of my biggest issues with this film is that we were given hardly any backstory on these characters. We don’t know Rey, Finn, or Poe’s hopes, dreams, goals, histories, etc.
Now some of you are probably saying that J.J. Abrams just wants to surprise us, well there is a HUGE difference between surprise and no information.
Think about Episode IV: A New Hope; we knew that Luke wanted to get off the desert planet,; that he wanted to fight in the rebellion against the Empire; that he was “too much like his father” which was a bad thing; that he had a crush on Princess Leia; and that he was well versed in fixing mechanical things.
In the revamped Star Trek that Abrams did we get to see Spock and Kirk at different parts in their lives. We see Kirk’s father sacrifice his life to save all the others, we see Kirk getting into trouble with pranks as he is acting out against his stepdad, and we see him at the Academy getting on track. We also see Spock as a young boy trying to figure out who he is with being biracial, along with him as an adult and instructor at the Academy. So Abrams can do it, and so it well. So why didn’t he?
In my opinion I think he was afraid.
I think after Star Trek: Into Darkness‘ villain was leaked and we all knew that it was Khan; Abrams overcorrected to protect the “secrets” and “surprises” by giving us nothing. And I hated it. In order for us to care for a character we need to know something about them. Otherwise they are just strangers and we don’t care if they live or die. When Poe was “killed” I was like oh that’s sad but not devastated or anything, because I had no idea what his role was in the grand scheme or if I was supposed to be devastated. Instead I was just like whatever.
As for Finn; I guess with his brainwashing he doesn’t know that much of anything so I’ll give him a half pass. As for Rey, I know that Abrams wants to surprise us with her being Luke’s daughter but still give us something. I mean you could have had her talk about wishing the Jedis were still alive, or how she always heard stories of them, or even who or why she was left on the planet. What happened to the person she was supposed to be taking care of? Who is she waiting for? Come on give us something!!
Take your cues from George Lucas, he knew how to film one heck of a reveal. Still can’t get over how amazing this scene was built up in Episode IV and V.
2) Boom! We Here!
My second issue with the film was the pacing. It was way, way, too fast.
With the original we have substance. It takes time for Luke to find Obi-Wan, get a plan together, get a ship, create a plan to save the princess, find the princess, escape, help destroy the Death Star; etc.
This same thing was continued in the rest of the series and prequels. It took time to get from one planet to another aspect of the universe. And the directors used this time. We were able to really get to know the characters and have some of the best scenes.
In The Force Awakens it too fast, completely losing the journey aspect. In this it was like bam we are there, bam next planet, bam bam bam. Everything was too quickly reached, found, etc. I didn’t like that at all.
There is a certain style to these films. Star Wars essentially is a Western film set in space, building off those components. And what are Westerns based on? Knight stories. And Knight stories are based on Greek mythological tales. The reason why the original films did so well was that they stayed true to the type of tale they are based on; following the elements of a journey tale. There was no weight to the film in the same sense the other films had in unfolding the tale. There was no journey, making this a weaker film and not as long lasting.
3) Finn Wields a Lightsaber
I also didn’t care for how quickly the characters seemed to adapt to the situations. Really a stormtrooper who has never even fought in real life before and only used a blaster has the ability to wield a lightsaber, something he knows literary nothing about, not even how to turn on, and be able to not only do it, but hold his own in not one but two fights; and one being against a person who has been training on how to fight with a lightsaber for at least ten years.
You have to remember this is a weapon that hasn’t been used for over sixty years except by three people; Anakin, Luke, and Kylo Ren. Do you think that someone who hardly knows anything besides what he has been brainwashed could use technology from sixty years ago when he doesn’t even know what Jedi are or have ever seen a Jedi? He didn’t even see Kylo Ren open his lightsaber.
And yes, he did lose both fights, but he did lot of attacking that I thought was way to advance for someone who has never even fought in a battle with a blaster. For someone who was so traumatized by war he had to run away, he got over that PTSD rather quickly.
Some of you might argue say that he just “picked it up” or has “jedi blood.” But even if you argue that he has Jedi abilities inherited from his family, whoever they are, it takes training to know how to wield one. When you are trained in using swords you practice first with fake ones as one of the first things you usually do is hit yourself with it. This is a much stronger weapon than a swords, and multi-edged. It is not something you just pick up and can do.
After all idea of using a sword is different than using one in battle. Yeah you point it toward the other person but it is more complicated when actually attacking another person, especially when your weapon can slice through almost any material, and all sides can injure you.
4. Rey Masters the Force
Rey also too quickly managed the force, especially for one who thought it was a myth. One of the reasons why the original series was so amazing was that it had weight and a feeling of reality. Luke has to train to use his natural abilities, to build up his faith in the force.
And even though he has so much untapped reserves,he had trouble controlling the force when he was in stressful situations, like wanting to help his friends. I thought her telling the stormtrooper to leave was good, but her other uses were just too fast. Let’s remember she has no clue what a Jedi is and has zero training. At least Luke had dreams and believed in it. He just had to believe in himself.
And even though I believe she is Luke’s daughter and therefore has an extremely strong connection to the force; but if Luke, Anakin’s son and therefore one with an even stronger connection, has trouble picking up things and concentrating on the force, and also had a stronger belief, Rey shouldn’t have picked up on as easily as she did.
I will say that at least her fighting was defensive and involved more running away than anything else. I thought that was more realistic for someone who has never used a lightsaber before.
5) It’s All About Looking Great
I felt this film also ran into the same mistakes as the new Avengers film were they concentrated on constant action every where, not always completing the move.
For instance Kylo Ren kills his father and is below on a bridge. Rey and Finn are above, with at least a 20 mins headstart and Kylo manages to not only reach them, but be in front of them? Can he teleport now? Even if he had a secret passageway or path known to him, how did he get there? And so quickly?
Or their giant death star/planet thing. How can it take power from the sun to decimate planets on the other side of the galaxy (as the guy says they will destroy a planet far, far, away) and be able to hit with such precision, not destroying all the many things in the pathway that exist in outer space? How could they have such precision in such distance? How can they manage to take the sun completely to destroy everything, but not destroy the planets around them as they have removed the sun?
I mean it is science fiction and they are going to push the boundaries of your beliefs, while creating new technology; but I felt the other films (the original Star Wars, Star Wars prequels, and Star Trek remakes) while not explaining everything had stronger ties to what could be happening in reality. In this they seemed to focus on let’s “look good” or have “great action” rather than make sense to what was going on.
I didn’t like the action as it wasn’t as choreographed but more messy and at times hard to follow. It was like The Avengers: Age of Ultron in which some parts resembled a video game rather than a film.
6) Han Solo’s Death is a Crime
So I knew going in that they were going to kill an important character and famous actor. I mean we have Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope; Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace; I knew it was going to be one of the dream team; most likely Harrison Ford.
So the fact that they killed Han Solo is a completely horrible thing to do, but the fact that they killed him before he and Luke had a reunion and forgave each other was inexcusable. He should have been involved in the journey to find Luke.
A journey that in my opinion should have been saved until the second film as if he was hiding somewhere impossible for all these people to find, even with a map it has got to take time; and I am sure they are to encounter storms, asteroids, obstacles along the way. It shouldn’t be instantaneous.
I just don’t know if I can watch a Star Wars film with no Han Solo.
7) Story Has to Be Surprises Not Substance
I thought that the story/dialogue was okay but felt that they focused way too much time on trying to outwit you and surprise you then writing a cohesive whole. I wish the people who wrote Jurassic World wrote the new Star Wars movie as they were able to capture aspects of the past and place it in a new storyline; one that pleased fans and new viewers.
I think on a whole the film would have better if they went off the canon that Lucas had made, that was ghostwritten/published.
But J.J. Abrams wanted to surprise people with his own thing.
So that’s my opinion. You can agree with me and think I am a genius in my critique:
Or that I am completely unenlightened and crazy:
Either way it is just my personal opinion and you are free to share yours as well if you want.
One thing still remains. The original Star Wars is still extremely amazing and because of this new movie there have been tons of Star Wars products that I can buy and add to my collection.
What can I say? I’m just a Jedi girl.
For more on Star Wars, go to You Don’t Have to Say the Words, I Already Know: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
For more on Episode VII: The Force Awakens, go to A Very Merry Star Wars Christmas
For more Han Solo, go to Be Like Han