This may be heresy to some, but I really never got at all excited about this movie. I’m not excited about any of the Star Wars movies that Disney is doing. I just don’t care. As I’ve said before, to me, Star Wars ended in 1983 and anything since is something else. But I pick up a lot of movies and when it came close to the time that The Force Awakens was supposed to be released on Blu ray came along, it was cheap on Amazon so I ordered it. And while I was at it, I ordered a couple of “add on” items, things that Amazon says are so inexpensive that it makes no sense to ship them separately, so you can only get them if you order with a minimum order, I think it’s $25, and I made over that. Then, Amazon ships all three things I ordered separately, including the things that were too cheap to ship on their own. Good job Amazon. But I don’t care, that’s their problem.
So, was it a good movie? Absolutely. Was it Star Wars? No. Oh, they did their level best to make it look and feel like Star Wars, but you know what the problem was? They tried too hard. It didn’t just look like the same universe and sort of feel like the same universe, they spent the whole movie poking the audience, saying “See? See? It’s Star Wars!” I don’t think that was really necessary. There were plenty of nostalgic moments without having to point them out. What people said about just remaking the first movie was absolutely true. There were way too many out-and-out thefts from the original Star Wars that were just unnecessary. Then there were the things thrown in just so Disney could sell more action figures. C-3PO anyone?
So allow me to nitpick about a bunch of stuff that I specifically had problems with. First off, Starkiller Base. Come on, it’s just a giant Death Star, just named after the original name of Luke Skywaker. Wink wink. It looks like the Death Star, it has the same weapon as the Death Star, J.J. Abrams just made another Death Star. He didn’t have to. He could easily have made it look like something original, but he was just trying to remake the end of the original film, complete with the countdown until they could fire. But it really makes no sense. In the original film, the rebels had nowhere they could go, this time, there was so much time, they could have easily evacuated the planet. Why didn’t they?
Next, the thing that’s in the title of the movie, the Force. Now it makes no sense to me at all that in just a few short years, everyone has forgotten all about the Force and the Jedi, to the point that they’re considered to be myths and legends. There might not be any Jedi running around, but to think that they just slipped the minds of pretty much everyone is stupid. Do they not have records? Do they not have books? Is everyone just stupid? And just being Force sensitive doesn’t make you a Jedi fighting machine. Luke got his ass handed to him routinely by Vader and that’s after Luke had two Jedi masters train him. To see Rey kick the crap out of Kylo Ren at the end, someone who may not have finished his Jedi training, but at least he had some, compared to Rey, who had never held a lightsaber before. No. Just no.
And let’s be honest, so many characters are just meant to be updated versions of those in the original trilogy. Supreme Leader Snoke, which is a really stupid name by the way, is just the Emperor. BB-8 is just a really stupid looking version of R2D2. Kylo Ren is just a cheap ripoff of Darth Vader. Why in the world was he wearing a mask except to elicit that response? And of course, the First Order is just the Empire. They’re still using their uniforms and ships.
And maybe the biggest problem with the film is that it isn’t a stand alone flick, it is just the first part of a trilogy and lacks any kind of third act. The original Star Wars was a self-contained movie. Even Empire ended its part of the story. But Force Awakens? Nothing really happens at the end. It’s all set-up for the next movie. It isn’t a complete story that can lead to more, it’s one third of a trilogy that does not stand alone at all.
In the end, I’m glad I saw it, I’m glad I own it, I’ll end up watching it again I’m sure, but while I’d rate it better than any of the prequels (who wouldn’t?), it just isn’t as good as any of the original trilogy. Not even close. And while it doesn’t crap on the corpse of the originals like Crystal Skull did with Indiana Jones, I really don’t buy that this is a good story with the same pedigree as the original Star Wars trilogy. As I’ve said before, they just don’t make movies that way anymore. And they don’t. And they didn’t. It just won’t have the same staying power as the originals and that’s kind of a shame.