Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alright, before I get into my spoilery review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA), let me say here and now before I get any grief from those who haven’t seen SW: TFAAHEAD BE SPOILERS!!!


That is, what I’m about to say below has CONTENT FROM THE MOVIE THAT WILL SPOIL IT for you if you haven’t seen it!  GOT IT? GOOD!!

Okay, before I continue, let me give my preference in regards to the whole Star Wars/Star Trek debate: I prefer Star Trek.  However, before any of you SW fanz start losing your shit, let me quickly add that honestly, that’s not saying much, as I do not have a great deal of passion for either franchise.  When it comes to ST or SW, I much love me some World of WarcraftWoW comes way, way before any Jedi or Vulcan.  Let’s say that on a scale of 1 to 10, and WoW (and comics, my other huge pop culture passion) is 10, then SW comes in at 4, while ST at 5.  Yeah.  So.  No big difference.

This, by the way, is one of the reasons why I was in no rush to go see TFA when it first came out in the theaters.  And I didn’t see it until the boss bought me the BluRay of it for my birthday.  Only THEN did I see it.  As longtime readers of my blog know, I’m a cheapskate – that is, I don’t hand out my money willy-nilly just because some movie is hyped up.  For most movies, I have to be DRAGGED to a movie with someone else paying my way before I’ll go.  And now that I’ve seen TFA, I see that I would have been disappointed had I spent money to see it in the theaters. 

It’s not that it was a bad movie, it’s just that it really was (in my opinion, of course) a rehash reboot of the very first (from 1977, that is) Star Wars.  In other words, TFA was meant to reboot the franchise for future SW films.  Did it do that – reboot the franchise?  Yes, it did, but by being basically formulaic in that there was even a new death star to blow up by striking just the right spot in an otherwise impenetrable fortress.  Kinda curious how those engineers always leave in that one little flaw that some hotshot pilot can fire into to blow the whole thing to smithereens.  That’s probably the main thing that bothered me about TFA – that it was basically another Star Wars: A New Hope

Don’t get me wrong – it was fun and exciting and visually entertaining, but there was the old Han, Leia, Chewie, C-3P0, R2-D2, and the new Luke, Han, R2-D2 and even Darth Vader in his grandson, Kylo Ren.  And of course, there was the mysterious new “emperor” behind the corruption of the new Vader, a new Sith Lord.  There was even a desert planet where the film started in and the film finished with the ginormous explosion.  So in short, I’ve seen this before.  

Thing is, I get why Disney went with the familiarity route.  They just spent Kim Kardashian-sized buttloads of money to acquire the franchise from that chubby nerdy slob whose name I can't recall right now, so dammit, the people want Star Wars, they're gonna get friggin' Star Wars!  And Disney knows that people are willing to spend buttloads of money to go see it, so it's a guaranteed audience so long as they stay with the safe and familiar - which is why we have TFA

George Lucas.  Yeah, that's the chubby nerdy slob guy. 

So what happens after this?  Will Disney venture into new, unexplored territory with the SW franchise?  Don't count on it, because again, it's a known and beloved franchise, so they can't risk straying from the safe and familiar without risking scathing hatred from the loyal SW fandom.  Let's face it, SW is going to be Disney's little profit-producer from here on in, and they're not about to upset that apple cart - not after what they spent to get it. 

 I know that this isn't what loyal SW fans wanted to hear from me, but I have to be honest in that TFA stayed with the safe and familiar by giving us a modern retelling of A New Hope.  I honestly hope that I'm wrong, and that Disney does indeed takes the franchise into a bold new direction, but the shameless capitalist in me knows how capitalists and capitalism work, and I can't see them making any serious changes and risking SW not being the planned profit generator.  On the one hand, Disney's purchase of the SW franchise saved it, because we will finally have films that take place after The Empire Strikes Back, but at the same time, the franchise was doomed by Disney's purchase of it, because of what I just described above. 

So on a scale of 1 to 10 in which 1 is a bomb and 10 is THE bomb, I give SW: TFA a 7.5.  It was marvelously put together, but sadly very predictable.  Let's hope Disney surprises me with their future films. 

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