Well, I’m guessing everyone’s probably watched Episode VII by now. I mean, The Force Awakens was one of the most anticipated films of the year. So far, a vast majority of the people that have seen it loved the film. It’s garnered very favorable reviews from most film critics. Star Wars fans loved it and just can’t wait for Episode VIII to drop in May 2017.
Even though a lot of people love the film, there’s one thing they’ll always say: It’s not a perfect film.
Yes, even if the film has been getting rave reviews from pretty much everyone, The Force Awakens has a lot of criticisms and complaints thrown at it. A lot of these issues are totally valid. I can see why the minority who hate the film would hate it because of these issues. So, let’s all just calm down, keep an open mind and let’s go focus on the issues Episode VII has.
Reminder: we’re delving into SPOILER territory! Not only will I be SPOILING a lot of plot points from The Force Awakens, but I’ll also be SPOILING story elements from previous Star Wars films.
You have been warned!
It’s a point-by-point retelling of Episode IV
We all know Star Wars started way back in 1977 with Episode IV: A New Hope. This is the film that made Star Wars the huge franchise we all know and love. It’s all about a ragtag group of people who need to take a droid carrying a secret message to the base of the other good guys. On the way, the crew will have to go to a “space bar” to find a way off a planet and the grizzled veteran of the group is killed by a man in a black suit of armor. One of the heroes discovers they are attuned with the mystical energy known only as The Force and the rest of the good guys destroy a planet destroying base.
Sounds familiar? Well, that’s because this is also the same plot of Episode VII! And it’s not just a simple case of paying homage to the one that started it all. The Force Awakens can even be considered by some as a modern retelling of A New Hope! The characters may be different but the overall plot and story arc follows Episode IV almost perfectly. This does leave a rather sour taste in some fans since it doesn’t give them anything new to chew on.
Han Solo’s rather unheroic death
When I saw Han Solo pop his head in frame at the end of the first The Force Awakens trailer, I was excited! It just was great to see such a familiar face. And when he uttered “Chewie, we’re home” with such an almost nostalgic tone in his voice, I pretty much lost it. “This is going to be a great movie,” I thought to myself.
You know what else I thought to myself when I saw Han Solo at the end of the trailer? “Oh, he’s so dead.”
I felt a disturbance in The Force and I was right. Han Solo did die. I don’t know how many people hated the character getting killed off (because of the “spoiler” embargo of sorts). I personally wouldn’t have minded… if he didn’t die like a chump! He simply gets stabbed by Kylo Ren! What a very unsatisfying and unheroic death for the charismatic rogue!
Some unimpressive CGI models
JJ Abrams, I loved how you decided to go “old-school” and work in a lot of practical effects in The Force Awakens. I think it made the worlds in this galaxy far, far away more believable than the ones in the Prequels. The aliens looked like they were there because, well, they were! However, this did cause one problem. The computer generated characters looked out of place. I’m talking about Maz Katana and Supreme Leader Snoke.
While Maz Katana (played by Lupita Nyong’o) has a rather “okay” character model, it’s plain to see the character’s face is CGI. It doesn’t really destroy the illusion that she’s not really there, but it just a little off putting. The biggest problem is with Supreme Leader Snoke! He just looks incredibly fake! I can understand why they decided to use CGI models (this is 2015, after all), like a lot of people who watched the film, I wished JJ Abrams and crew put a little more effort in making them look better.
Luke’s Lightsaber’s hiding place and other convenient plot threads
While we’re talking about Maz Katana, let’s talk about how Rey finds Luke’s famous Lightsaber. Rey enters the basement of Maz Katana’s bar and opens a box, revealing that the space pirate’s been holding onto the Jedi Knight’s weapon before he went into hiding. What, really? Luke Skywalker, the only living Jedi in the galaxy, gave his fabled weapon to a space pirate for safe keeping? Why? As Maz says, “A good question for another time.”
Okay, how about answering me all of the massive coincidences throughout The Force Awakens? Like the Millennium Falcon winding up on Jakku? Or how Han Solo and Chewbacca just so happened to be travelling in the area to scoop up the Falcon after Rey and Finn fled from the planet? Or how Rey managed to become so adept with using the Jedi Mind Trick on a Stormtrooper after only learning Jedis are real a couple of hours ago?
How about explaining to me the politics of this new galaxy? I know The First Order are the new Empire but where is the new government that took over when the Empire crumbled in Return of the Jedi? Why does General Leia have to command a Resistance? Shouldn’t the new government be the ones busy trying to crush The First Order? Also, how the heck did The First Order become so powerful after the Empire was taken down three decades ago? Are you saying the Ewoks celebration at the end of Return of The Jedi was premature?
These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous coincidences in The Force Awakens. There are probably more. Oh, they may be answered in future Episodes. But, as of right now, they’re all loose threads that need to be tied up.
Lack of screen time for other characters
The Force Awakens main driving force (zing!) are the characters. The film has an amazing group of actors which actually make the film great. Rey and Finn are fantastic well-developed characters and are easily likable. The returning cast from the Original Trilogy still seem to act the same way they did way back when.
Too bad they didn’t bother to give this much character development and screen time to the other characters!
It’s really a shame that characters like Captain Phasma and Poe Dameron weren’t given that much time to actually strut their stuff and impress viewers in The Force Awakens. As it stands, both of these (presumably) awesome characters are more like window dressing who had to take a back seat to Rey and Finn.
Okay, I think I’ve ragged on the movie enough. None of these issues really take away from the overall enjoyment of The Force Awakens. It’s still a brilliant film and something you do have to watch. Just remember, like all films out there, it isn’t perfect.
Are there other problems you have with The Force Awakens? Let me know in the comments section below!