Star Wars: The Force Awakens – A Non-Star Wars Fans Opinion
This is the second post on Star Wars this week! Those who know me well know that I’m not a fan of Star Wars, so why on Earth did I go to watch it on Boxing Day? Well it was a family outing, but never mind that, I went and saw it: This is how I felt about the film.
I didn’t expect that.
Okay, so as I mentioned above, I’m not a fan of Star Wars, but I might very well become a convert if delivers all of his Star Wars films to this standard. Yes, it’s going to be a long time before we get our next one, but that’s fine. Take all the time you need, because to me, although it came out right at the end of the year, we were spoiled to a fantastic end to 2015. Instead of reviewing the film (in case you’ve not seen it yet), I’m going to talk about what I liked about it.
I love me a bit of comedy, I truly do. This is what J.J. Abrams got so right, it’s turned me somewhat into a convert. If his style is about adding in elements of humour to an already engaging story, then I’m not only all for it: I’m excited for all J.J. Abrams Star Wars films. I’ve even said to Joel that I feel our Top 10 Best of 2015 might be slightly wrong, as we put Star Wars: The Force Awakens at 5th.
The issue I’ve always faced with Star Wars, is that it always feels far too serious for my liking. In a universe and strange and alien as the Star Wars universe, even with a threat looming over every action, some of the things that happen are so silly that you have to crack a bit of a pun, or a joke out. Our characters are so strong-headed and strong-willed that even the serious ones can end up doing something funny. My favourite scene, which made the whole cinema screen burst into a roar of laughter, was putting a little bit of character into the Stormtroopers.
Stormtroopers aren’t known for being the most intelligent, or capable of soldiers. But they’re normally seen just blindly doing things, because otherwise it’d be pointless having them. It’s because of this, they’re normally so bland, so blasé. In this however, two Stormtroopers are walking by, when they hear a very loud, very angry commotion from a nearby room. Smashing, shouting in anger, it doesn’t sound good. The two sort of look at one another, turn around and quickly walk away. It was perfect comedy. Simple, wordless and ultimately it made it fun for everyone.
The drama entirely revolved around Kylo Ren, who proves to be a little bit of a bad ass whilst talking condescendingly down to his opponents. Others have said he’s a little bit whiny, but I don’t feel he is: I think he’s just a conflicted man who deserves respect – But that’s why the drama in this film felt so good. Kylo Ren, our new antagonist of the series, is someone I don’t expect to be off our screens and our minds for a while.
From punching himself, to smashing apart monitors to de-stress, he’s the epitome of what a new rising villain should be. He’s someone I want to see brought to justice and he’s proven himself to be not only very powerful and capable, able to kill mercilessly, but he’s also entirely beatable. A villain should never be all powerful for ridiculous reasons; they’re mortal too. The hero should never be unable around the villain, the villain should assert him or herself as a villain through villainous deeds and the hero should feel like they can defeat them. Otherwise, you’ve just got a power creep for a villain, or you’ve got a Mary Sue for a hero and those are just boring.
Daniel Craig as a Stormtrooper whose number is JB 007? Isn’t that just crazy? The infamous dialogue which occurs in every Star Wars film (“I have a bad feeling about this”), the tradition carrying of calling the Millennium Falcon garbage/trash/junk is continued and there’s much more to boot. These are all small but obvious references to previous films and even other films and popular culture in general.
Incredibly, J.J. was able to put in so many references, so many hidden little extra bits, that you’d be forgiven if you missed all of them. In fact, not only would you be forgiven, but I think in a lot of cases you’d be expected to miss all of them. The fact J.J. tips his hat to so many little bits and pieces in the film is testament to him as a director. He’s humble, but yet he’s also incredibly ambitious – and I like that!
The Opening Dialogue
Normally, I hate the opening dialogue in Star Wars. It’s so convoluted, so over the top, so long… But this time, it felt shorter. It felt as if the text itself was larger than usual (perhaps that’s just the cinema screen, but I remember seeing Episode I in the cinema (poor me!)) I was a little bit apprehensive when the traditional theme music of Star Wars begun, thinking “here we go, time to read for a good solid 5 minutes.
Instead, we were greeted with the opening dialogue and it felt large and simple. It was easy to understand what was happening in the story up until now, which is the first time I’ve felt ready for what I was going to see in the film. This is a huge jump from what I’m used to with Star Wars films. I somewhat expect to see convoluted dialogue, but no: I was greeted with a simple story, which told the story of the struggles the Jedi were facing – And I found them so much more empathetic for it.
So yes, sue me, I’m a guy who doesn’t like Star Wars… Until J.J. Abrams took the helm and made, what I personally feel, is the best Star Wars film to date. It is fun, it’s cheesy and it knows how to handle itself. It knew when lightsabre fights were needed and when it needed to bring itself back to Earth. The new characters were highly likable and old characters felt like old friends, strange for me, as I’m not a fan of the series. I expected them to feel like a drain, but nope: They were there, greeting me warmly.
Another great film has now passed us, but I have a feeling this won’t even be the best of J.J. Abrams works on the franchise. What did you think of the film? Do you like the silliness that was added into the film, or has that ruined the tone of the series for you? What do you think of Kylo Ren? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. May the force be with Disney and may the force certainly be with you!