Take Off The Nostlagia Goggles: 'The Force Awakens' Is Terrible

Take Off The Nostlagia Goggles: 'The Force Awakens' Is Terrible

2.5/10: This nothing more than an abysmal remake of the 4th film, losing any redeeming qualities in a desperate attempt to rake in as much money as possible. 135 min / 2015 / Abrams
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I had originally planned to write a review of the film “Crash,” a superficial, cliche overview of racism rendered all but worthless by its structure and development. However, upon viewing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” I was alarmed. I wondered if I had missed some golden scenes that give the film its own feeling, its own themes and its own plot. However, after about 15 minutes of reading other people’s summaries and analysis, I came to the tragic conclusion that I had indeed seen the same film. Now, I am in a state of disbelief that this film had received remote acclaim, and grossed $2 billion. JJ Abrams has made a fortune for doing nothing. “The Force Awakens” is a systematic failure of filmmaking: the camera work is bad, the dialogue is bad, the acting is largely bad and the structure of the film is awful, so derivative and unoriginal that I couldn’t believe my eyes when I witnessed plot development. I kept futilely hoping that the film would come into its own, but alas all that remained after over two hours was dreck. There are innumerable gripes I have about the film (Snoke sounds like the name for a 5-year-old’s stuffed animal) but will stick to my larger issues.

The camera work oscillates between fan service and bad shots. To be fair, there are two shots I found effective. The first is during the opening scene. The shot switches between shallow and deep focus of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow). It does an excellent job of concisely capturing their reactions and was a welcome stylistic flourish. The other excellent shot was a carefully crafted one on the bridge during the Starkiller Base assault. Light from the top streams in a long shot that gives the moment between Han Solo and Kylo Ren an almost religious quality, which the scene itself reinforces. It was a rare moment that wasn’t contrived, and was epic in itself. Outside those two more laudable moments, the camera work lacks any ingenuity. It is filled with references to the original trilogy. The opening shot of the film is a direct re-tread of a scene in the fifth movie when Darth Vader’s destroyer is introduced, which is a nice symbolism for the entire film: an inferior retread of the original trilogy. Among the most overt are the Millennium Falcon taking off from an identical angle when it flees from Mos Eisley, and a terrible rehashing of the wonderful Cantina scene, with even the same camera swoop surveying the bar. It's all done due to a creative void; Abrams is a vacuous ventriloquist, and there is never a desire to expand on what the original trilogy did, just to recreate it for maximum profits and fanboy acclaim. Watch the unveiling of R2D2 scene again, the camera swoops at the ground level and gazes at the robot with a monolithic admiration, as if the audience is staring at the Pyramids or Taj Mahal.

There is no fundamental difference between the plots of “The Force Awakens” and “A New Hope.” The escalation, the evolution and the character development are fundamentally the same. Consider the premise: an orphaned child with Force powers is reluctantly dragged into the battle between rebels and a powerful evil organization after the person runs into a droid carrying a valuable secret. That opening is even filmed in the same damn order, with the First Order/Empire attacking the rebels and forcing the droid to flee, then depiction of daily life for the hero, and finally them discovering the secret and having to flee their home planet. This decision to recreate the fourth film’s glacial first 40 minutes is confounding given that that is “A New Hope’s” weakest facet. There was no thought behind retreading that ground; it was just mindless fan service designed to appease people rather than try to make a film of any worth. "The Force Awakens" even highlights its own startling unoriginality when the rebels discuss destroying the Starkiller Base. They note it is functionally the Death Star again, only bigger (one of the films many failed visual gags). That is emblematic of the film’s ethos, just create the fourth film, modernize the film and make it “bigger,” which will hopefully obfuscate that the film has nothing to say. The stakes are not raised in any meaningful way; the film is not more epic or interesting, just lazy and devoid of ideas.

What makes the film a special kind of awful is the characters, either due to the acting, dialogue or at times, both. The film’s terrible fan service and imitative nature could be overlooked, even forgiven, if the characters and dialogue were strong. Remember all of the reasons I complimented the script of “8 ½?” Well “The Force Awakens” is the exact opposite. It is a terrible script. Half of the lines seem to have been pulled from a compendium of cliche action movie lines: e.g. “We’ve got company” or “That’s impossible! “We have to try” (the second isn’t verbatim, but that idea). Another chunk of the dialogue is, as many other elements are, designed to milk nostalgia as much as possible, e.g. “This place have a garbage chute?” “We're home, Chewy.” Now, to discuss the characters: Even in his 70s, Harrison Ford has not lost his charm, and the scene in which he attempts to talk his way out of trouble (the dialogue portion) has the humor that the other two hours and 10 minutes needed. It was a call back to the old trilogy while still offering something new. Unfortunately, the rest of his dialogue seems designed to recall his time in the original trilogy as much as possible, and he is certainly the most consistent nostalgia pull throughout the film. Carrie Fisher as Leia functions similarly, but unfortunately she was never a good actress, and age did not help that. Boyega as the rogue trooper, Finn, is generic, as is his character. There is nothing that separates him from any other defector in film. The film wastes the power of Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. The actor, who was brilliant in “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Ex Machina,” has turned into a “Top Gun” character. He should be spitting abysmal one liners with Tom Cruise, though he does the first part of that plenty. Rey is probably the single most obvious example of the scripts overall negative trends. Abrams took Luke and made him a girl, and apparently thought that because Rey is female, that he should take out all of Luke’s charm and personality. Rey is determined and brooding to the point of caricature. She lacks any defining personality trait, a sense of thought behind her actions. She as a serious character isn’t bad in and of itself—I certainly think there should be female characters taken seriously—but not when it sucks out any chance at a personality. And finally, Kylo Ren, the greatest catastrophe of the film. Driver is stolid to the point of wooden, and there is none of the turbulence, confusion and frustration that he should have been afforded. Ren is an angsty teenager. Instead of the touching portrayal of a man torn in two, someone who is pulled by dichotomous sides of good and evil (his true nature and his obsession with power), he has the existential profundity of a Puddle of Mudd fan. Kylo Ren’s emotional depth makes a kiddie pool seem like Mariana’s Trench. To be fair, there are moments that seem to indicate Abrams wanted to make Ren a complex internal Jekyll and Hyde (scene with Vader mask is telling), but his ineptitude prevented more admirable character designs to reach fruition.

“A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” are so effective because despite the dark plots and high stakes, the films never lose their charm. The fourth and fifth films contain a hint of camp throughout the proceedings that makes them fun, engrossing even. The problems with the sixth film and the prequels is that they went too far into the camp realm (Ewoks, Jar-Jar), and now the reverse has happened. The film attempts to move Star Wars into the modern blockbuster vein, which is why “The Force Awakens” fails so utterly. Star Wars 4 and 5 are original films, they are charming, the characters are memorable; “The Force Awakens” is none of these things. Star Wars’ personality is not “The Dark Knight,” which it feels every blockbuster attempts to emulate now. JJ Abrams has produced another cash cow for Disney, but in doing so sucked any memorable moments, charm or silver lining from the franchise. This atrocious, venal film does nothing new, has nothing to say, contains nothing to remember and certainly leaves nothing worth pondering. Hopefully, Abrams will ponder this article.
Cover Image Credit: Starwars.com

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9 Eligible Princes You Need To Know About Now That Prince Harry Is Off The Market

You too could have a Meghan Markle fairytale
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Prince Harry's royal wedding is officially over and there won't be another British royal wedding for quite some time now, as Prince George is way too young to start thinking about that. Fortunately, there are plenty of other countries with plenty of other princes that are still eligible bachelors at the moment. Lucky for you, I did my research and compiled a list of all the eligible princes you need to know about know that Prince Harry has tied the knot with Meghan Markle.

1. Prince Louis of Luxembourg (31)

Prince Louis is the third son of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg. He has recently become a bachelor again after his separation with his wife of 10 years, Princess Tessy.

Fun Fact: He graduated from Richmond, The American International University of London with a BA in Communications. He can also speak Luxembourgish (the fact that's even a language is fun fact by itself), French, German, and English fluently.

2. Prince Sebastien of Luxembourg (26)

Prince Sebastien is the youngest child of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg, so if you marry him, you'll probably never actually be queen because he's pretty far removed from the throne. However, he's relatively young and single, so best of luck.

Fun Fact: For some bizarre reason, this prince actually went to college in Ohio. He played rugby and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015. Now, he is back in his home country and is an officer in the Luxembourg Army.

3. Prince Phillipos of Greece and Denmark (34)

You read that correctly, Prince Phillipos is the prince of not one, but two countries. He is the youngest son of King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece and Denmark. Unfortunately, Greece abolished their monarchy, so he's a prince in name only there.

Fun Fact: Like Prince Sebastien, Prince Phillipos also went to college in the United States. He earned his B.A. in foreign relations from Georgetown University in 2008. Fortunately, for us American girls, he is actually still living in the US and he works in New York City as an analyst at Ortelius Capital.

4. Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis (34)

Ever heard of Thurn and Taxis? No? Me neither. Anyways, Prince Albert is from the House of Thurn and Taxis, which is essentially a very old German aristocratic family. He is the son of Prince Johannes XI of Thurn and Taxis and Countess Gloria of Schonburg Glauchau. His family is well known for their breweries and castles, so unless you're gluten-free, you can't really complain.

Fun Fact: He's not just a prince. He's also a racecar driver and 10 years ago he was ranked 11th on Forbes Magazine's List of The 20 Hottest Young Royals.

5. Prince Mateen of Brunei (26)

Prince Mateen is basically like all the guys you already know, except he's royalty. He's the prince of Brunei, which is a small country on the island of Borneo, south of Vietnam. He is one of the five sons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, and he also has seven sisters. Maybe that's a little different than the guys you know, but one thing he takes very seriously, just like most frat guys, is his Instagram.

Fun Fact: Mateen enjoys playing polo, flying in his private plane, cuddling cute wild animals, and keeping up his Insta game with 890k followers. You can follow him @tmski.

6. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai (35)

Sheikh Hamdan also has a killer Instagram with 6.3 million followers. Anyways, Sheikh Hamdan is the billionaire crown prince of Dubai and the second son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and essentially the king of Dubai (Emir). He's actually next in line for the throne because his older brother died in 2015.

Fun Fact: Hamdan's hobbies include skydiving, zip lining, and diving, just to name a few, so if you're an adrenaline junkie, Sheikh Hamdan is the prince for you.

7. Prince Hussein of Jordan (23)

Prince Hussain is the son of the extremely beautiful, Queen Rania and Abdullah II of Jordan and next in line for the Jordanian throne. At 23, he's already a second lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces and he was the youngest person ever to chair a UN Security Council Meeting


Fun Fact: Like Prince Phillippos, Prince Hussain also graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. Also, like Prince Mateen and Prince Hamdan, he's Insta famous with 1.3 million followers and you can follow him @alhusseinjo.

8. Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece and Denmark (19)

Like Prince Phillipos, Prince Constantine-Alexios also has two countries. Lucky for us though, he is also living in the US right now attending Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (like pretty much every other prince, amirite?) He is the oldest son of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

Fun Fact: He's Prince William's godson, so that's pretty neat. However, if that wasn't cool enough, you might like to know that this Greek/Danish prince was actually born in New York. Oh yeah, you can also follow him on Instagram @alexiosgreece where he has 88.7k followers.

9. Prince Joachim of Belgium (26)

Prince Joachim of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este is the third child of Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Although he bears the title, "Prince of Belgium," he is also Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Prince of Modena. Unfortunately, he'll probably never actually be king in any of these countries as he is ninth in line to the Belgian throne.

Fun Fact: Prince Joachim has degrees in economics, management, and finance, but he decided to join the Nautical School in Brugge after completing college and is currently an officer in the Belgian Navy.

Hope is not lost for all you girls dreaming of finding a Prince Charming that's literally a prince. After reviewing the data, my best advice is to transfer to Georgetown where princes are basically around every corner.

Cover Image Credit: @meghantheduchessofsussexstyle/Instagram

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30 Songs That Will Make Any Former Drama Kid Immediately Break Out Into Song

Not only do they sing it but they hit the notes correctly.

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Everyone has that song (or a few) where when they hear it they absolutely have to scream it at the top of their lungs. Or maybe they just sing it. But drama kids take it to that next level. Not only do they sing it, but they have to sing the notes correctly and do the dance moves to the song. And they have to assign every person in the song to a different person

  1. "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago”
  2. "You Can't Stop the Beat" from "Hairspray"
  3. "Summer Night" from "Grease"
  4. "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls"
  5. "We're All in This Together" from "High School Musical"
  6. "Seasons of Love" from "Rent"
  7. "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked"
  8. "I Dreamed A Dream" from "Les Miserables"
  9. "Time Warp" from "The Rocky Horror Show"
  10. "This Is Me" from "The Greatest Showman"
  11. "On The Steps Of The Palace" from "Into the Woods"
  12. "I Feel Pretty" from "West Side Story"
  13. "The Phantom of the Opera" from "The Phantom of the Opera"
  14. "Good Morning" from "Singin' In The Rain"
  15. "A Whole New World" from "Aladdin"
  16. "Do You Hear the People Sing" from "Les Miserables"
  17. "Dancing With Queen" from "Mamma Mia"
  18. "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from "Mulan"
  19. "Belle" from "Beauty and the Beast"
  20. Beauty and the Beast" from "Beauty and the Beast"
  21. "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana"
  22. "I Won't Say I'm In Love" from "Hercules"
  23. "Popular" from "Wicked"
  24. "What I Did For Love" from "A Chorus Line"
  25. "You Will Be Found" from "Dear Evan Hansen"
  26. "Do Re Mi" from "The Sound of Music"
  27. "Revenge Party" from "Mean Girls"
  28. "I'd Rather Be Me" from "Mean Girls"
  29. "Big Fun" from "Heathers"
  30. All of Hamilton
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