Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Star Wars - A Newer Hope!

I finally got around to seeing the seventh installment in the Star Wars epic a few days ago. And here is my review, but don't fret I will announce spoilers before I actually reveal any details for those of you who might not yet have seen this extravaganza.

The Force Awakens is a hugely successful movie by all measures mercantile and that's a good thing generally for science fiction as it will allow yet more of it to get to us. It is an exciting and kinetic movie, barely taking time to catch its breath as the adventure, derring-do, and danger twist and twinkle before our eyes.

But the movie limits itself in ways I didn't really expect given the involvement of J.J. Abrams, who I think did a great job of reviving the Star Trek franchise. Let me explain beyond some clearly labeled spoiler barriers.


The Force Awakens is a behemoth of a ship of a movie which is sleek and beautiful but which beaches itself a bit on the breakers of the classic original A New Hope. There are just too many parallels to the original movie, a convenient balm for the legions of devoted fanboys and girls, but a self-limiting factor for a movie which seeks to strike out and reestablish the hegemony of the franchise for the future.

Our protagonist is a poor but talented youngster on a backwater desert planet who comes into possession of a robot filled with secret plans which is being sought by a deadly galactic military force bent on taking over everything and the hero along with some helpers must get the robot to its owner so that the threat of a giant planet-shaped planet-killing death ray can be overcome by the assembled forces of the rebel army.

Sound familiar? It's the plot of A New Hope, and it's pretty much the plot of The Force Awakens. We even get a rather awesome alien-rich cantina scene. Loved it, but it's been done folks.

The differences are that our hero is a feisty girl named Rey and her aides this time are Han Solo and Chewbacca of course (not different really but they are older), but also a reformed Storm Trooper named FN-2187 or "Fin" for short. The cute little robot is called not R2-D2 but BB-8, and his owner is a rebel named Poe Cameron who himself is an ace pilot and first-rate hero. But that's about it.

We do get a tasty villain in the form of Kylo Ren who it turns out will take off his mask (one really surprising moment) and who is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa who himself has turned to the darkside of the Force. His transformation is going to of interest no less than Rey's as the story moves on. The death of Han Solo was well telegraphed, especially given the fact the story was following the markers laid down forty years ago. A mentor figure, even a rejected-one had to die to make the format complete.  


Don't get me wrong. This is a dandy flick, very entertaining and a right nice addition to the canon. But personally, as a Star Wars fan of original vintage and as someone who rather likes much of the prequel trilogy better than most, I found it not anything all that revolutionary, no pun intended. And now that they have this one out of their systems, maybe we can move the story along. 

Obviously it's recommended.

Rip Off

1 comment:

  1. Rip --

    It seems like most of us original Star Wars viewers feel the same way about this next installment/reboot -- really like it, but can't totally explain why as (like you said) we've seen it before.

    But I'll invest in next year's standalone, and await episode VIII in two years. Truly, there's a New Hope in the Star Wars world.



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