Review – The Force Awakens: Glad You’re Up, Now Get Some Coffee

Ben1 For the three people who haven’t seen new Star Wars yet, this review contains spoilers.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Almost as big as the hype surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the controversy generated by three notorious reviews of the movie.

Ike2 Well, you know what they say: “Mustafar hath no fury like a nerd scorned.”

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Indeed. First, there was Seth Abramson’s 40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in The Huffington Post–which unfortunately, contains a couple of unforgivable errors; then there was Matty Granger’s rebuttal, AT LONG LAST…MY “STAR WARS: EPISODE VII” REVIEW. THE FORCE AWAKENS & THE RISE OF IDIOT JOURNALISM, which–as the all-caps title indicates–is more of a profanity-laced rant than a reasoned counter argument…

Ike2 But you gotta love how he tells us in the title how long we’ve all been anticipating his review.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Yeah…although, to be fair, if he had one person anticipating his review, that is probably one more than how many have been anticipating ours.

Ike2 Good point.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Anyway, if that weren’t enough, now we have the Vatican’s own Emilio Ranzato calling Papal bull, labeling the movie a “tacky reboot” that is–as they say in Rome–Confuso e Sfocato.

Ben1 Editor’s Note: For those of you who don’t read Italian, you might prefer Stephen Colbert’s summary:

Ike2 That Vatican guy is tough. He gave J.J. Abrams a real Catholic nun-style rap on the knuckles.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration I thought he was off base about the use of real locations, as opposed to CGI backdrops. He called them “anonymous,” but there was nothing anonymous about Luke Skywalker’s hideout, shot on Skellig Michael, off the coast of Ireland:

Ike2 That picture makes me dizzy, but it looks EXACTLY how I imagined Luke’s hideout. I liked the forest sequences, too. Seeing the characters stomping around on real leaves and grass is a nice change from all the spaceship and desert stuff.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Signore Ranzato made a good point about the villains, though. Kylo Ren might be an interesting character, in that he is conflicted and all–and Supreme Leader Snoke may be supremely mysterious–but compared to Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, they’re pretty lame.

Ike2 Not to mention Captain Phasma. She looks cool, but underneath the glitzy armor, she’s just another incompetent Storm Trooper.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Yeah, “incompetent” is the word. I get it that Kylo Ren is unstable and full of self-doubt, but how big of a doofus does he have to be to suffer a butt-kicking at the hands of two lightsaber newbies like Finn and Rey?

Ike2 In the original trilogy, Luke and the gang were real underdogs. You KNEW they could never beat the Empire in a toe-to-toe fight, and the fun was in seeing how they could come out on top, mostly by being brave and unpredictable. In the end, it was Darth that did in the Emperor, and that was a twist you didn’t necessarily see coming.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Right. But in The Force Awakens, the defeat of the First Order (whatever that is) seems inevitable.

Ike2 You know why don’t you? Instead of “The Force Awakens,” they should have called this episode: Death Star Revisited Redux: Third Time’s the Charm, Amiright?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Yeah, that well needs to be capped and never visited again. Part of the charm of Force is the deja vu it elicits from all the references to the original trilogy, but that’s also part of the problem. I almost dropped my popcorn when I realized the plan of attack on the Death Planet, or whatever they called it, was EXACTLY THE SAME as the plan the two previous times!

Ike2 “Hey, guys, this thing’s impenetrable! Well, except there is this one spot, that if you hit it a couple of times, the whole thing will blow up.”

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration They tried to throw in a couple of minute variations to change things up, but only the most literal-minded of fanboys could possibly argue it wasn’t the same-old same-old.

Ike2 I could have done without some of the wink-wink moments.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration I could have done without the whole father-turning-against the son thing, too.

Ike2 Yeah, how many more times can that happen?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration So Kylo Ren goes from son of Leia and Han and pupil of Luke Skywalker–the three best people in the universe–to the Order’s Evil Sith Lord #1? That’s a heck of a back story. I’d like to see that movie, but instead it’s just like, “Hey, guess what? This happened.”

Ike2 At least we get the movie’s one legitimate shock out of it.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Yeah, but even that was predictable, and the set-up was so thin the emotional impact has more to do with the audience’s investment in the franchise than in the relationship between the characters–of which there was basically none.

Ike2 Kylo was pretty cool, though–up to a point. I have to say, the moment when he pulls off his mask to reveal the horror that is…Adam Driver! That was the greatest comic reveal since Jerry Lewis went from Nutty Professor to Buddy Love.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration A laugh-out-loud moment for sure–and that’s not a knock against Adam Driver, who is actually pretty scary even without the mask. In fact, all of the actors are good, although I would have liked to have seen more of Leia.

Ike2 Yeah, maybe there wouldn’t have been so much attention on how Carrie Fisher has aged if they had given her character something interesting to do.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration And did anybody notice that, while Carrie Fisher is indeed older, Harrison Ford is actually old? He’s one of the best things about the movie, but his inner geezer comes out a couple of times in those action sequences. That’s an angle they could have played up, but instead they just gloss over it.

Ike2 But overall, I’d say they did a good job of passing the baton on to the younger generation. I’m glad Oscar Isaac’s character survived, because he has that devil-may-care, Han Solo thing the series needs.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration I tell ya, that Oscar Isaac kid is going places. He was fantastic in Inside Llewyn Davis, and in terms of his screen presence, he stands head and shoulders above the rest of the new crop of young Star Wars cast members–all of whom, by the way, I thought were terrific.

Ike2 Cast-wise, the series is on solid ground.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Agreed. Director and producer-wise, too, although I’d say there were a number of missteps. Nothing fatal, though. I actually think Episode VIII may be even better.

Ike2 Okay, so the Abramson guy liked the movie but thought it had a ridiculous amount of plot holes; Granger, I guess, thinks everything about the movie is super-peachy; and Ranzato thinks it’s a flop. So where do you come down? I liked it.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Me, too, although I’m most in agreement with Abramson. As I watched the movie, I was thinking many of the same things he brings out in his review. There were a lot of “Hey, wait a minute” moments. But he blew it on a couple of points. Like the rathtar thing. He questions how they got loose, but it’s very clear Rey released them when she pulled the wrong thingamabob.

Ike2 He got a little nit-picky, too. If he’d cut it to twenty-five plot holes he would have been rock solid.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Twenty-five plot holes ought to be enough for any movie, but I understand he’s got a new article with twenty more plot holes. Oh well. Let’s face it, the Star Wars movies are fluff, and fluff is easy to pick apart, if that’s what you want to do.

Ike2 I’m glad we never do that!

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Anyway, on a scale of one to seven, I put it at #4–behind the original trilogy, but ahead of the three prequels.

Ike2 Really? You put it behind Return of the Jedi?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration I do. Jedi gets a bad rap because of the Ewoks, but there was a lot of great stuff in that episode. I didn’t see anything in Force that measured up to the speeder bike chase in Jedi, or the fight on board Jabba’s ship, for that matter.

Ike2 Maybe, but J.J. Abrams and company got a lot of things right in my book.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration I agree, including the most important thing of all. They made Star Wars fun again.

Our Rating:

Four tail-wags out of five.

 

 

 

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