STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
A lousy, ridiculous pseudo-reboot of what continues to be an underperforming film franchise.
Film Review © 2015 by Trip Reynolds
Pseudo Science-Fiction Drama
Directed by J.J. Abrams. Written by Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt. Based on characgter created by George Lucas.
Starring: Harrison Ford (as Han Solo), Mark Hamill (as Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (as Princess Leia), Adam Driver (as Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (as Rey), John Boyega (as Finn), Anthony Daniels (as C-3PO), Peter Mayhew (as Chewbacca), Max von Sydow (as Lor San Tekka), Daniel Craig (as Stormtrooper JB-007), and a host of others.
I haven't seen the film yet, it's not necessary, because I've seen the trailer - and the trailer tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Oh, you think this is unfair? Here, I'll make this really simple for you. The trailer reveals, yet again, how the entire Star Wars film franchise has always suffered from: (1) a failure to evolve the storyline, and to maintain story continuity; and (2) a failure to maintain a consistent application of technology, and equally important, the failure to evolve technology. Let's deal with #2 first.
FACT: As you know, the technolgy represented in the original 1977 "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" was and remains superior to the technology of the actual planet earth in circa 1977. Think about it. It wasn't until 1983 that the DynaTAC 8000x was launched as the first commercially available handheld mobile phone [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone]. Now, in 2015, thirty-two-(32) years later, Apple's iPhone and other smartphones (hardware and software) are thousands and thousands of times more advanced, more powerful, and more complex than those virginal "analog only" cell phones from 1983. However, when it comes to the Star Wars film franchise 32 years later we still see the same Millennium Falcon engaged in pseudeo-epic space battles against similarly designed X-wing fighters, light-sabers, and related yada, yada, yada, etc. Harrison Ford's "Han Solo" has clearly aged, but somehow technology essentially stood still. There's been absolutely NO SIGNIFICANT GROWTH IN THE CHARACTER OR SCOPE OF TECHNOLOGY in the Star Wars film franchise, because Star Wars is not science fiction - it just a lousy, poorly scripted, soap opera "fantasy." Vampires live hundreds of years or more doing the same thing: sucking blood. The Star Wars film franchise also does the same thing: it sucks your hard earned bucks partially through the overt mediocrity of its stale storyline, but primarily through its extremely well-oiled publicity, marketing, and public relations campaigns designed to manipulate you to "embrace the force."
Conversely, if you omit or ignore the "Star Trek" films directed by J.J. Abrams (and you should ignore the Trek films made by J.J. Abrams), the "Star Trek" film franchise has consistently been anchored in science, and there are numerous books and films that document how "The Science of Star Trek" has consistently evolved, from "Star Trek: The Original Series" to "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and beyond, including fan produced films such as the recently released (2015) "Star Trek Renegades (Episode 1)." Science is never stagnant, unless you're in "Star Wars." The "Star Wars" films function primarily as western shoot-em-ups in space with uninspiring technology centered around a poorly scripted soap opera. Boring. Instead of giving us business as usual, why not show us something different? Unfortunately, when it comes to evolving established film franchises, you really can't expect anything different from J.J. Abrams. As with "Star Trek," and "Mission: Impossible" Abrams just regurgitates what we've already seen. Much better writer/directors would have been Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Firefly), The Wachowski Siblings (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas), and especially James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar, Terminator 2). Again, I haven't yet seen "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," because the trailer saves me the time and expense of seeing an extremely predictable film.
The Science of Star Trek
Star Trek Renegades
Now, let's deal with the #1 problem of the trailer, and suffice to say such is true of the highly predictable feature film: the failure to evolve the storyline, and to maintain story continuity. At the end of "Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi," the dark side of the force was defeated and purged from Luke's father, Anakin (i.e. Darth Vadar), and Luke smiled as he saw the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin watching over them. Nevertheless, miraculously, we yet again have another Vader-like person using the dark side of the force and (old technology) light sabers to conquer the known universe. In "Star Wars" all key relationships are somehow either incestuous-like or nepotism-like or in one way or another involve a parent or sibling of key characters. All threats to the "Star Wars" universe come from within, because it's a family affair. Essentially, we're talking about a watered down version of the classic Hatfield vs. the McCoys, nothing more or less. I wish the Borg from the "Star Trek" universe would just assimulate everyone in the "Star Wars" universe and be done with it.
Recommendation: Oh, just wait and see this film on cable, or buy it at Walmart when it's dumped in the $5.00 bin. There's no hurry. The next sequel is already in production for release in 2017. However, if you really, really, really, really want to see an absolute GREAT film "treatment" involving the mythos of the Star Wars film franchise, immediately watch the film "Superpower Beat Down: Batman vs. Darth Vader," which at only 7:23 minutes is a spectacular cinematic achievement, and much better than wasting 135 minutes watching "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens."
Superpower Beat Down:
Batman vs. Darth Vader