The Force Awakens or The Farce Awakens?
We, here at Life of Films, are huge Star Wars fans, so when we say we don’t like The Force Awakens, this isn’t said lightly. Sadly though, we are certainly in the minority when it comes to this opinion, but I do believe any true Star Wars fan would know this is the weakest film of the franchise.
So where to start when it comes to dissecting this film, and the areas which I felt let the movie down? I think the best place to begin is its manipulation on people's nostalgia, making the audience think it was a good film, as it played off that emotion, in turn having people feel they enjoyed the film due to them getting that warm fuzzy feeling inside. I’m all for hints to the old films, to give you that injection of nostalgia, but TFA just completely lived off it. Rogue One got it right, by adding little nods but kept true to it’s originality. I feel the best examples of this manipulation in TFA was very much how they created a weak subplot to why Han Solo was no longer in possession of his famous ship, The Millennium Falcon, just so they could have him walk in with Chewie and have this grand entrance - ‘Chewie, we’re home’. The Han Solo I know, struggled to let one of his friends, Lando, fly the ship without him - “not a scratch”, let alone lose it and not fight to get it back!
There was also the incredibly long, and in my view, uncomfortable pauses in certain climaxes of the film just so the audience could soak up the nostalgia, i.e Rey standing there holding Luke’s lightsaber out for what felt about 2 minutes in front of him, or Rey and Kylo clashing lightsabers, with Rey closing her eyes for an insane amount of time just so we could digest the Force theme we all love so much. How about the fact that there are Storm Troopers about but no explanation on why they are dressed like that as they are no longer The Clone Army?
This leads me to the characters themselves - does anyone know anything about them, and I mean seriously, something actually meaningful, maybe like what Finn actually is for example and how he has managed to defect so easily? What about Rey, and how she can use The Force so casually without even knowing it existed until Han had to tell her it was actually real. I understand something quite bad has happened to Kylo for him to be on the Dark Side, but this isn’t explained either. Honestly, every new character introduced has such little back story it is alarming. I know what you are going to say, “Yeah but we’ll find out in The Last Jedi” - I’m sure we will, giving me faith that that film will be good, but does that mean The Force Awakens is a good solid film, end-to-end, if it requires the next film to explain everything? Sadly, as a film lover, I feel this is not good enough; I should not walk out with more questions than when I went in. I understand it’s a saga so the story will be stretched over multiple films, but in A New Hope, we learnt that Luke’s father was a Jedi, a pupil of Obi-Wan’s, and that is the reason why Luke was strong in The Force. We also get to see him learn about The Force from a Jedi himself. Whilst the audience were learning about Luke and the The Force, they also think they are learning about Darth Vader, until the big twist is revealed in The Empire Strikes Back that un-does all they think they’ve learnt.
Now that we’re talking about A New Hope, let’s digest how much of a brilliant film it is. The first ever Star Wars movie was about a young, Force-sensitive kid who did not know who his parents were, living on a desert planet, where he finds a droid carrying something special, which ultimately intertwines him into the battle for the galaxy. During this journey for the greater good, our main character learns how to use The Force, and is involved in helping destroy a huge planet-destroying space station. Sound familiar? Yes. This is the exact same plot as The Force Awakens….
On a side note, the score. John Williams is a film composing legend. The Beethoven of movie scores, but even when it came to his score in The Force Awakens, the only decent parts were from his score he created in the 70s. Anything unique about the music for this film was an utter let down.
The consistency in this movie was also worrying. It was as if the studio didn’t pay much attention to the previous films, For example, Han’s death. I don’t believe the Luke Skywalker I know and grew up with would ever have let this happen so easily. The most powerful person in the whole Galaxy letting his best friend die, when, in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke disobeys Obi-Wan and Yoda by leaving his training incomplete to try and save Han and Leia, as he felt they were in danger. Are you telling me that Luke is a Jedi he didn’t feel this danger, and if he did he just let it happen? No way. Alongside this, Han’s death is so glazed over. I remember seeing a funny meme with Sebastian Stan, where he said he went to the toilet when this happened, came back and didn’t even realize Han had died, which is so true!
One of my biggest gripes though, is the lack of understanding of The Force. It is borderline disrespectful to the originals. Luke Skywalker was meant to be one of the most powerful, if not THE most powerful Jedi to ever live, and it took him 3 films to reach this status, yet Rey just seems to wield it with no issues. Luke was trained by the two best Jedi to have ever lived, and he still struggled to get the ship out of the water in Empire. Not only does Rey make Luke look bad, but it massively contradicted Kylo Ren. For example, when he is trying to read her mind she keeps him out, she also manages to beat him in that Force pulling battle for Luke’s Lightsaber. This is the guy who stopped a blaster shot in mid-air, and held it there whilst otherwise-engaged, at the start of the film. I don’t care how injured he may have become, I’d still expect someone that strong with The Force to overcome someone who didn’t even know it existed 2 hours ago.
These are just some of my main points but I could go on. The Force Awakens is a good looking film, and I do look forward to finding out more about these new characters, with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega being great actors, but sadly, I just find it hard to believe that people feel that this is a good Star Wars film, and a good movie in general. It is certainly a clever one as it has managed to fool so many people and use their love for Star Wars to overlook so many glaring faults.