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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.


 

Star Wars The Force Awakens Logo

Wow.

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.

Humour

ThisIsTotallyNotHothAndJakkuIsNotTatooine-TFAT2-4KPub

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.

Drama

Kylo Ren Helmet

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.

References

Kylo Ren and Lightsaber

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.

Overall

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!

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8 responses

  1. Totally agree on the humour. It’s something that I remembered while playing Knights of the Old Republic and Jedi Knight 2. The games are about serious plots, but there are moments of humour here and there just to lighten things up.

    For example, the quest in KOTOR where a distraught woman asks you to find her droid, only to discover the droid escaped because she’s ‘replaced’ her husband with him. When you ask him “Do you mean…?” he replies “You don’t want to know.” It’s both hilarious and slightly creepy at the same time.

    Or in JK2, when Kyle falls into a trap from a bartender and he quips “Never trust a bartender with bad grammar!”

    Now that I think about it, the best Star Wars is the non-Lucas Star Wars, as in everything primarily written and directed by other people, as Lucas doesn’t do comedy very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 17, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    • I agree – It feels as if Lucas-Era Star Wars was very aware of the legacy it’s created. It knew what it made was great for the fans, however because of that, I always felt there was an air of arrogance about it. I could never shake that feeling, from when I was a kid who was introduced to the series on Episode 1 (Not. Good.) to an adult looking back at it.

      Whilst 4,5,6 and infinitely better than 1,2,3, it still felt as if Star Wars was nothing more than a fanfare to the man who made it all. Now, it feels like I can totally relate to it and I think a lot of it is the fact the humour was completely on point. YOU’RE IN FRIGGIN’ SPACE, DAMN IT!!

      Liked by 1 person

      January 17, 2016 at 9:58 pm

  2. A bit of the humor felt to forced and a bit unnecessary, but otherwise is on point. And, while I’ll go on about ‘Emo Kylo Ren’ with The Boy, I feel like his character is going to develop quite well. Quite a lot better than the prequels, and right up there with the originals.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 17, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    • Perhaps, but then again now that Disney own the franchise it’s only fair to assume we’ll get bits like that. For instance, the incident with the Stormtroopers walking away after hearing some commotion? I felt that didn’t feel forced – because if I was them, I’d have done the same thing! :P

      Like

      January 17, 2016 at 10:46 pm

  3. I’m in the same boat as you – I haven’t been this big of a Star Wars fan in, well, ever. I never got into the series as a kid, but now I find myself full of childhood giddiness awaiting the next installment. I knew instantly it was going to be a successful entry when I found myself liking the new protagonists (can we just please take a moment to talk about how great Rey is?) just as much as the “Old Guard”, if not more so!

    My only qualms are as follows: 1. Each new major entry is going to be directed by someone different (Ep. VIII is under the helm of Rian Johnson), so hopefully Abrams’ attention to detail and humor carries on through the series, 2. The “mini” episodes in between major episodes feel like a Disney cash grab that could go horribly wrong, and 3. While a complete joy to watch, I couldn’t help but feel that Ep. VII was sort of a “Greatest Hits” tribute to episodes 4, 5, and 6 (a bigger death star, protagonist orphan lives on desert planet, empire/rebels = 1st order/resistance, etc.). But I think now that we’ve got all the key plot points from earlier films out of the way and the new universe/characters have been established, the series and its protagonists are in for one hell of a ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 17, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    • At least we share the sentiment of having never been fans due to it not grabbing us as kids! Rey was phenomenal, as was Fin for that matter. I love the “new generation” of characters.

      I didn’t realise it was going to be a different director each time! That’s… Kinda disheartening. I hope that level of detail is maintained as you said. I also didn’t know of mini-episodes! Dayumn, that -is- a cash grab… but Disney did a good job of this one.

      And yeah, I think most people agree this felt like a greatest hits, however it’s good to note that means we probably -can’t- get another “this felt like 4,5,6” episode again. It’s done now, so from here on in should be nothing short of special.

      Thanks for the comment – Much appreciated! :)

      Liked by 1 person

      January 18, 2016 at 12:14 am

      • No problem! Thanks for the insightful post, a very enjoyable read.

        Liked by 1 person

        January 18, 2016 at 9:40 pm

  4. That scene with the Stormtroopers cracked me up too.

    Like

    January 21, 2016 at 2:22 pm

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