Yes, the biggest release of a major motion picture for 2015, no doubt, but I have to ask: Does the story stack-up to all the excitement? I will discuss this question, and talk about some things I liked, and talk about some things I didn’t like in this film.
First, let’s talk director, J.J. Abrams, who has built a very strong presence in Hollywood, and certainly has a wonderful visual style, in both his films and television. But what has he really done that is truly great? He has attempted to revive the Star Trek franchise, but even that series suffered from major flaws (another review, another time). He disappointed many viewers who happened to watch Lost. So, even with his resume I wonder: has he really achieved something worthy of being called “great”? Sadly, I have to say no.
I did enjoy the beautiful cinematography. Also, it was nice to see some of the original Star Wars characters in the same frame. That’s about it. The execution and the pace of the film was standard fare. Nothing special. The special effects were cool.
So let me get to the biggest problem with the film –and this is a huge issue in Hollywood itself—it’s the fear of doing something completely different. This entire film was a repeat of a New Hope. Beyond that, as a director, if someone hands you a project, then the job should always be, to take that project and make it yours –through and through. And even more importantly, as a visionary, try to take a huge risk on telling a brand-new version of the story.
So yes, this is really just homage to the original version that opted instead to just play it safe. And some things actually bothered me. Why another death star? How can a newb (Rae) hang with a seasoned “force-wielder” like Kylo Ren? I did enjoy the saber duel, but crap, where is the mentor? What was her training? This is what Abrams does…he gives us a story that is incomplete. The fan boys get all crazy and say things like, “if you were a real fan, then you would know______”. Let me stop right there and say…I shouldn’t have to go to the Internet to get plot holes filled. That is just lazy filmmaking, and should be avoided.
The thing is this: I don’t necessarily dislike Abrams. In fact, I like his style and his energy. I just think he likes to start projects then decides it’s way too much work, and then abandons them. It’s a real pity. And I say these things because I have a deep affection for the original Star Wars films. So, I shrug my shoulders and say, “oh well” this is what we have arrived at these days in cinema…a Star Warsy version of “slightly better than okay”.