By now you’re probably sick of seeing Star Wars everywhere you go – I know I was getting a little annoyed at being bombarded by stormtrooper faces everywhere I went. So that’s why I’m apologising in advance for joining everyone else in talking (at length) about this film. But oh, this film! I finally watched it yesterday, and let me tell you that falling asleep is extremely difficult when you’re re-watching a 2-hour-long film in your head and overanalysing every single scene. So in the interest of getting a better night’s sleep tonight, here are all my thoughts written out, which will hopefully stop them from bubbling in my head.
Let’s start with the standard procedure:
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD! If you don’t want anything spoiled, don’t read this!
(I’d also like to add that I’m not a hardcore™ Star Wars fan, I just like the films, meaning that I might get a few facts wrong. Go easy on me, okay?)
Now that that’s over with… on to the review!
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the whole film. I watched it with my boyfriend and his family, and while they disliked the fact that it drew so many parallels to the previous installments, I actually liked that. Yes, maybe those parallels were quite obvious most of the time (the main character grew up on a desert planet? What a new and innovative idea for the franchise!) but I felt like they only helped to tie this new venture into the spirit of the original trilogy. It definitely reminded me more of the ‘first’ trilogy – by that I mean the one released between 1977 to 1983 – and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m glad that they chose to mimic those films instead of the later ones. But in all fairness, the prequel trilogy may not have been quite as magical as the first, but it did answer a lot of questions left over from the other films (even if those answers were a little awkward and forced), although I think everyone agrees that Jar Jar wasn’t the best idea (unless, like me, you have been won over by the theory that Jar Jar Binks was originally intended to be the mastermind behind all the evil in the series… yes, somebody wrote that, and yes, I am now convinced, but that’s a different topic for a different post).
Anyway, back to TFA. I feel like they really succeeded in capturing the feel of the original movies while still making it feel relevant to 2015. As long as the next film doesn’t mirror the older films quite as much, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to keep the feel for the 7th, in order to help people ‘transition’ to the new, modernised style. I’m extremely happy in particular about the inclusion of Rey’s character. She’s a main character, she’s female, she’s awesome, she’s powerful, she dresses appropriately, she doesn’t have a forced romance with anyone, she’s awesome… I could easily spend 6 pages singing her praises, but I think you get my point. Finn is great too – I particularly liked his introduction. It immediately made me aware that yes, okay, this guy is going to be important, because he’s a stormtrooper who showed concern for another fallen stormtrooper… and since when does that happen? I also enjoyed the friendship that he and Poe develop (even though it’s a bit odd how Poe immediately trusts Finn… but I suppose he just didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, and who can blame him). Poe’s character was particularly interesting to me since it took the trope of ‘hotshot super cool pilot guy who LAUGHS in the face of danger!’ and turned it into ‘guy who befriends someone he has every reason to hate and also hugs his droid when they’re reunited’.
The decision to include original cast members (Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill specifically) in their original roles was a good move on the part of the makers of the film – and to me, it never felt like a forced ‘passing of the torch’ with each of the new main characters filling out the old roles almost identically, which was what I was afraid of. Instead, it felt more like an acknowledgement that times are changing, both in our galaxy and in that other galaxy far, far away, and it’s time to keep up. I’ll be interested to see what happens in the next film between Luke and Rey, and whether or not we’ll get any explanations about how everything went so incredibly wrong after what I lovingly refer to as the Ewok party, since everything seemed pretty okay at that point. Yes, we had some scrolling text at the start and a few throwaway lines, but a little bit more detail would’ve been nice. Here’s to hoping that they include that in the next one.
Another crucial plot point I felt deserved a little bit more detail? The story of Kylo Ren. We got vague details about his parental issues, his Vader obsession, his turn to the dark side… but we don’t hear much about his life when he was still known as Ben. Yes, he was tempted by the dark side and ultimately gave in to it (with a little nudging from Snoke) but why? Was he ultimately destined to turn, like Anakin was? Or was he simply just a little too obsessed with his grandfather? And if he was, did nobody ever tell him how his idol wasn’t actually 100% Super Mega Evil in his dying moments? Maybe these questions were answered fleetingly, but I don’t recall ever getting any concrete, satisfying answers. Also, anyone who didn’t see his killing his father from a mile away either needs new glasses or didn’t see what lead to Luke getting an awesome robot hand. Did anyone really think he’d go with Han on that bridge? I’m glad we saw Chewbacca’s anguish afterwards, but I’m a little upset we didn’t see much of Leia’s. Yes, she felt it when Han died, but (as my mother actually pointed out to me) we never see whether or not she blames herself for what happens – after all, it was Leia who pushed Han to try to bring their son back home. Who knows whether or not he would’ve tried to reach out to his son had Leia not pleaded with him to do so.
All in all, it was a pretty solid and enjoyable film that will hopefully help a whole new generation learn to love the franchise, but it left a few gaps in information that desperately need to be filled in the next installment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to hunt down a BB-8 toy, because that droid was obviously the best part of the whole film. Well, BB-8 and the PowerPoint transitions between scenes. Forever glad that they chose to keep those.