Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: George Lucas
Disclaimer: I’ve seen the other six movies exactly once each, so I’m aware of the existing canon but not exactly an avid member of the Star Wars fandom. I don’t have particularly strong opinions on whether Episode VII is “correct” or purist enough, etc. I do have opinions on whether Episode VII is, in the simplest terms, a good movie.
I enjoyed The Force Awakens, even as I recognize it has major problems with plot and logic. The visuals are stunning, the dialogue is far less cheesy than it is in previous Star Wars movies, and there’s something undeniably awesome about all the strong female characters. Rey may be Mary Sue-ish with her abilities to pick up the Force and light saber fighting skills so quickly, but she’s badass enough with her engineering skills and sense of justice that I want to overlook her flaws, at least for now. I also enjoyed the humanization of a Storm Trooper, though I would have liked to see him struggle more with his past.
Unfortunately, the premise of the entire film is shaky. Everyone’s after a map to find Luke Skywalker…because he left a drive with a map to his secret location with an elderly man on Jakku??? (Well, we don’t actually know how that guy got it, or who the guy even is.) And that drive has only a fragment of the map, but it’s not good enough because these people with super-advanced technology can’t tell what part of their galaxy the map is of? And they can’t destroy evil unless they find Luke, even though they take out the Starkiller without him and Rey is clearly conquering the intricacies of using the Force all on her own? This all seems absurd to me, and there even more silly contrivances to make it all work–such as R2D2’s being in low power mode for most of the movie but inexplicably awakening at an opportune time to provide the rest of the map–which for some reason doesn’t just mark out Luke’s current location, but apparently the exact route he took to get there. (And this is from the Empire Archives?) None of this is necessary and little of it makes sense; I wish the story writers had thought it out a bit more.
Overall, I liked watching individual scenes. I cheered for the characters, laughed, and even cried a little. But I have to ignore the inconsistencies overarching plot in order to really tell myself this is a good movie.
Come back tomorrow for a guest post with a different perspective on the movie!