Thirty years after the Empire’s defeat, Luke Skywalker has disappeared, and the galaxy faces a new threat; the First Order. (Well, okay, they’re not really a new threat, since they’re basically just the Empire’s leftovers, but whatever). The First Order wants to know where Luke is, and so they send goons after Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, who possesses a map to the legendary Jedi. Unbeknownst to Poe, however, one of the First ORder’s stormtroopers, Finn, has been having doubts, and so springs him out of captivity, and tries to get him and BB8, the droid in which the map is stored, away. Unfortunately, they crash on the desert planet Jaku, where they meet orphan scavenger Ray, who wants to help, and who may have powers she never knew were there.
Like all the films in the Star Wars franchise, this installment is certainly entertaining, but lacking in substance. On top of this, it’s highly derivative. What I mean by that is, with only a few exceptions, the movie more or less follows the exact same plot line as the original, 1977 film directed by George Lucas. Once again, the movie begins with a rebel leader entrusting a vital secret to a droid, who gets stranded on a desert planet, then gets picked up by an orphan who secretly possesses the Force. Once again, there is a big, evil device that can blow up planets, and the film ends with the good guys destroying it. Once again, the main villain is someone who used to be good, but was then seduced by the dark side, and he ends up killing a beloved person from his old life at the film’s climax. Once again, once again, once again…
But, as a dear friend of mine who actually got the chance to interview the great George Lucas once said, “There’s no such thing as an original story out there. Everything you read or see is just a re-telling or adaptation of something else.” So, on it’s own, a derivative plot-line isn’t enough of a reason to hate a movie. And, no, before you ask, I don’t hate this movie. I’m just not going to cream my pants over it as some fan-boys are bound to do. I will look at this film’s flaws, as well as its strengths.
Speaking of strengths, I think all the lead actors did good jobs. They seemed energetic, excited, and genuinely happy to be in this movie. On top of this, as with all the films in the Star Wars franchise, the special effects and fight scenes are very impressive. I can’t think of a moment in this movie where I was bored, so that’s good.
As I said before, this is an entertaining, visually-stunning film that I can certainly understand why lots of people would enjoy going to see. I just don’t think there’s much to it in the way of morals, themes, motifs, or really anything of substance. Part of this has to do with the fact that this film is extremely fast. What I mean by that is, SHIT IS FLYING AT THE SCREEN ALMOST EVERY SECOND! There’s hardly a point in this movie where the characters aren’t running, shooting at something, being shot at, or having things explode all around them. They, and by extension, the audience, are barely given time to breathe, much less talk to one another. It honestly seems to me like the director, JJ Abrams, was determined to not have his film be labelled as boring, and so did everything in his power to cram as much action and violence into the movie as possible.
I’ll be honest with you guys, I’ve never been a huge Star Wars fan. I don’t hate the movies or anything, but I’ve never understood why people get so violently defensive and obsessive over them. I’ve never understood the hatred that some people have for the Prequels, Jake Lloyd, or Hayden Christiansen. For that matter, I don’t understand why so many die-hard fans hate George Lucas, the guy who created the whole universe to begin with. So what if he made some alterations in the special edition DVDs. You don’t have to buy those. The originals are still for sale. And, really, does adding a little CGI to the background in a few scenes, or changing some dialogue, really matter? The plot, the characters, and all the moments that you liked from the original are still intact. And as for Jake Lloyd, why on Earth do you dean it necessary to bully a little boy, send him death threats, and make his life so miserable that he quits acting for good? Just because he didn’t deliver an Oscar-worthy performance at 10? That’s just cruel, guys. The truth is, this franchise has generated a shockingly mean-spirited fan base, and the cruel actions of that fan-base have kind of made me weary of the movies in general. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them for what they are, but I always feel somewhat nervous when I go see them now.
So, again, I don’t hate this movie. I don’t even think I dislike it. I just won’t urge people to go out of there way to see it. It’s a fun, dumb, 7 out of 10 popcorn movie. If you want to watch some epic explosions, sword fights, and spaceship battles, here you go. As for me, I’m good. I’ve had my fair share of all that.