So as far as hype goes, Star Wars: The Force Awakens really takes all the cake and credit, and so it should, considering the hype and fan base it has been rolling with for well over 30 years. With its name being recognized world wide as a creative masterpiece into the futuristic world of Sci-Fi and even benefiting science in many ways by fueling ideas and technologies which could in fact appear in a very near future of our own and not so far far away.
But is the latest Star Wars movie really all its hyped up to be? Does it fit with how you'd imagine a present day Star Wars film to be? Does it engage and applaud its predecessors? Does it fill you with excitement?
For me I found, not really. Don't get me wrong here, I'm a Star Wars fan, the movie was great! It had great moments with figures like Maz Kanata and even bringing back Han, Leia & Luke to add a strong backbone and familiarity to the movie as well as increase its potency and flow. Some of the planets showcased for example the Resistance based planet of D'Qar with its outer asteroid ring showed the beauty of Star Wars that I loved. Yet after all this hype I've seen the movie receive, I couldn't quite help but feel that my expectations hadn't quite been met, it lacked so much that a true Star Wars film imbued, and no I'm not talking about Jar-Jar Binks.
As a child, like most, I grew up watching it and living with it and even experiencing with it the changes and excitement it brought to our senses and to the world. It brought ideas and creation, it in total brought the future to us. Star Wars always had a knack for being far far, but in fact not so very far away. The future they showcased seemed quite believably close indeed, with an exception of force abilities, but then again who knows what the future might hold in that retrospect. With the new movie i felt like it didn't quite capture this at all, with the director choosing to lower the use of CGI and incorporate more realistic stunts and scenery, which i felt gave the movie a more mundane appearance to its predecessors that George Lucas brought to life. It lacked the visuals in which Star Wars used to bring with city gargantuan planets like Coruscant, seeing only remakes of old planets like Tatooine (Jakku), Hoth and the rebels base on D'Qar - Which in turn just looked like a casual country side in England. If Jakku wasn't so similar to Tatooine I would have been impressed, but then it does make sense that Tatooine isn't the only desert planet amongst so many worlds. Might I add that the world at the end was literally our own, yes Iceland got an appearance in our 'futuristic' films with no incorporation of otherworldly creatures or scenery flying past, apart from the Millennium Falcon that is, to give it a Star Wars nostalgia, instead they just cropped a scene from right out of National Geographic's Channel and oddly lacked a voice over by David Attenborough. It gave an impression that the directors lacked new material, and in turn decided to reproduce many things in this movie, one including the large similarities between A New Hope's plot and scripts entirety, not just planets. Many unanswered questions about the might of the Rebel Alliance at the end of Return Of the Jedi, being so powerful and full of capitol ships, with thousands of worlds under their belt and space combat, now being reduced to smaller planet bases, and even less so after the Death Star: Mark III weapon attack. Will the Empire ever learn??
The carefree use of Supreme Lord Snoke's name became cringe worthy as the film progressed, using his name frequently throughout, like uttering such words had no consequence to anyone. He wasn't the 'New Emperor shrouded in looming shadow', he was 'SNOKE the well known leader of the First Order'. There was no secrecy, no hidden agenda's, no scary mystery shrouding this new Sith-like figurehead that the late Palpatine had had whom managed to infiltrate the senate amongst other things. Because one thing I'd learnt from practitioners of the Dark Side, is that they like to remain hidden. Even more so the mystery was shattered when they outright showed him in his entirety, face, voice, convictions and all.
New characters like Rey, Poe Dameron & Maz Kanata really brought a shine to the new generation of Star Wars and the movie, I must say. Rey literally, with her pleasant acting was a pleasing little ray of sunshine that made you feel like you really wanted to care for her, like you were there in the movie with her. She also showed small psychical appearances to a young Anakin Skywalker from The Phantom Menace, it only gives you ideas of where they are going with her character. Poe with his die hard skills and charming antics that linked a similar resemblance to a young Luke Skywalker with features of Han Solo. Making you wonder if he has any perception of the force with his skills, but probably not considering he fits the bill of the scoundrel. And of course Maz Kanata with her wise mentality and feel like that of a female version of Grand Master Yoda, you could feel the knowledge about her. Disappointment struck to learn that many scenes of Maz Kanata, one in particular showing her using the force to bring down rubble over Storm Troopers, were removed before the movies screen debut, which would have only improved the movies core, but would have potentially brought up questions truthfully as to why she couldn't train Rey in her knowledge as she knew she was force sensitive.
Characters like Finn, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma & even General Hux really let down the movie in more ways than one, whether it was due to the writers or directors their characters really lacked on screen and gave the movie a hindrance more than anything.
Finn the young Storm Trooper whom as a child was taken into the First Order displayed too many traits of that of a typical street kid or smuggler, not something you'd expect from a brain washed Storm Trooper trained and conformed into a rigorous society of order and dominance at such a young age where most of his teachings from before being taken would have been wiped clean, yet looking at Captain Phasma that probably explains it.
Kylo Ren, the mysterious yet not so mysterious dark padawan and son of Han and Leia Solo who when angry manages to destroy everything around him in anger fits, which for a part was humorous and amusing, was known from the get go, his evil antagonist role had no mystery or backbone to stand up with. His boyish and awkward acting skills really didn't do the character much justice. (And people complained about Hayden Christensen acting as Anakin!?) But I must applaud that he did portray conflict in his mind quite okay. Showing no remorse with the murder of his father Han Solo at his hand gave his character more build and further into the ending battle with him, Finn and Rey finally gave his character the justice it deserved, scarring his face at the end Rey set us up with a meaner potential Sith for Episodes 8 and 9.
Captain Phasma was just the saddest of them all, whether it was the directors placements of her character or to her lack of lines in the movie her character had no purpose accept to stand in the background looking shiny and being partly responsible for destroying her own planetary base for the Resistance. Was I not the only one who was expecting her to be a Boba/Jango Fett like character that had a large kill record? She didn't quite fit the bill of bad ass in my opinion, which you'd certainly expect from someone who is classed with the grand title of Captain amongst fellow Storm Troopers. She showed no strength or skill, being just a figurehead that walks around with a gun 24/7 that might I add am under the impression is made of plastic, doesn't seem to have any ammo and is just for show. She has no real purpose other than to tell others to keep their helmets on and fire their weapons. Even the mysterious Storm Trooper that Finn confronted at Maz Kanata's Castle who countered his light saber had more pizzazz!
And lastly the young General Hux who's appearance and age didn't quite sit right with me, making me think that maybe all the older more wise Generals and Imperialists were killed back on the Death Star at the Battle of Endor some 30 years beforehand. But he did have skill enough to escape the planet with Kylo's wounded body before explosion, so we have to give him props for that right??
I would have loved if they incorporated scenes from The Battle of Jakku, starting instead the movie with the war between the remnants of the Empire and the Rebel Alliance 29 years ago, showcasing the calamities and losses in which both sides received. The idea of seeing Star Destroyers drop out of the sky and large scale planetary combat would have been delicious icing on a beautiful cake and taken me back to the Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith days.
I'm hoping the eighth installment of the Star Wars franchise will improve, with rumors speculating that it will be a much darker film. Slightly worrying me to the point that the script could mirror The Empire Strikes Back, but honestly I just want to see more 'bad assery', space battles with capitol ships and most certainly more Jedi's. And certainly a less predictable script. With a new director helming this movie let us hope his understanding of the Star Wars Galaxy is much more in-depth than the last!