In this Disney reboot of the Star Wars universe, scavenger Rey gets tangled up in the workings of the Resistance against the newly risen First Order when a deserter falls out of the sky near her home on the desert planet of Jakku.
Ah, the Disney Star Wars Trilogy – that’s a can of worms to open. I’ll just go ahead and give my opinion, and I’ll try not to let the internet outrage influence me too much.
So, some background – I grew up with Star Wars. My dad was in his early twenties when the original Star Wars was released and he’s been a big fan since. I probably watched the movies first when I was about seven years old, and their visual style has imprinted on me too. I am not, however, on the scale of Star Wars fans, a particularly big Star Wars fan – I’ve seen most movies, played a couple of video games and own some cool lego sets, but I’ve never delved into the extended universe or read novels.
I saw The Force Awakens with my dad in the cinema, and I was very excited to go. It is not every day that you get to experience the reboot of a franchise this big, and there had been teasers and trailers all year long. When the opening crawl finally floated across the big screen and the theme music plays, there was a special ‘yes’- feeling you get at being there to actually experience it in cinemas this time.
The movie itself did not disappoint. It is a movie that oozes Star Wars. I loved the visual styles of the new ships and droids and stormtroopers, I loved the re-introduction of old favourites like the Millenium Falcon and the beautiful dogfight scenes we get with her early on. I especially loved Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey, who I thought was a great, witty, charming heroine without the overwhelming need to present her as sexy.
The movie oozes Star Wars so much that perhaps… it feels like they just took a lot of the plot beats from A New Hope and re-used them for The Force Awakens, from a nobody from a backwater desert planet falling in with Han Solo to the secret plans revealing the weak spot of a large moon-like base that is assaulted in the final act. But honestly, it didn’t bother me. I came to the cinema to watch the rebirth of Star Wars, and something very Star Wars is what I got.
That is not to say that the movie doesn’t have its misses. I liked John Boyega’s performance, but I didn’t really like his character. That is mostly because he ended up as a comic relief character that was killing stormtroopers left and right, even though his arc was set up as putting a face to a nameless crowd of enemies that turn out to be literal child soldiers. The movie fails to knock down that set up miserably. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren was never going to be as iconic as Darth Vader, but in trying to find the balance between unstable and terrifying, I think the writers erred on the unstable side, making him appear more as a child and less as an antagonist.
In the end, though, I thoroughly enjoyed watching The Force Awakens. It is not particularly refreshing or unexpected, but it is Star Wars the way I like it.