Saturday, December 26, 2015

Star Wars Stockholm Syndrome (Contains Spoilers)

I went to see the new Star Wars on Thursday with my wife and posted the following on Facebook:
Just got back from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (and then rolls over and goes back to sleep). Good in places but not great. Holes in the plot you could ride a Bantha through. Harrison Ford largely carried the movie although the guy playing Finn was pretty good. Was completely unimpressed with Daisy Ridley. Pretty regular nostalgia moments that were as subtle as a Rancor. It's the Millennium Falcon, we get it! The whole thing sorta smacked of Disney pragmatism, taking no risks and assembling a script like it was a top twenty list from Star Wars fans. Not saying don't go see it but given the nearly universal positive reviews I really expected more.
I think that the largely effusive reviews have more to do with the nostalgia factor combined with a desperate attempt to wipe the memory of the prequels away rather than a reflection of the quality of the film. Many people are so deeply invested in Star Wars that the mere (completely inexplicable) appearance of Han Solo and Chewbacca brought people to frantic tears like teenie-boppers responding to the Beatles. It just wasn't a great movie because, even though some of the acting was decent and the effects were sort of OK, the plot was so sloppy that it ruined the film for me. The single most popular movie franchise ever and they couldn't come up with a semi-coherent plot? I understand the need for suspension of disbelief, it is science fiction after all, but it wasn't even a good story. In fact it was, as has been pointed out repeatedly by people who have not been gulping the Kool-Aid, largely a recycled series of previous plot devices from previous movies.

I was going to do a post of plot holes but the Huffington Post beat me to it with 40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in 'Star Wars: The ForceAwakens'. If you have seen the movie, go read it. There were even a couple I had not caught the first time around. Some were especially on the mark, like the 3rd and 4th point that ask how in the world two people who have never held a light saber before fight a trained user of the force to a standstill and point 12 which brings up what appeared to be a really awesome uber-stormtrooper in a silver suit from the previews ends up being a non-entity in the plot. Who was she? Why was she special? Why did she seem so incompetent? 

I could accept a few plot holes but the entire movie made me say "Wait a second, what/why/how did that happen?". The only reason I can see for the enormous box office it is bringing in is that having been abused by the 3 prequels, Star Wars fans see anything that sucks less than them as something wondrous. I went in fully expecting to enjoy myself but as the minutes ticked by and the plot became more tangled (wait, they built a third giant space station and this time they left the vulnerable point on the surface so it was even easier to blow up?! How does a giant planetoid station move to new systems to draw the energy of suns?! Wouldn't it take more energy to drain a sun than to just shot a beam? It wasn't like the weapon on  the first Death Star was faulty, it worked perfectly. It was the design of the station itself that was faulty.), I was desperately hoping for something epic. Instead the movie ends with 30 seconds of Mark Hamill not saying anything from his island refuge (what does he eat?). The best moment in the movie was wasted because the scene where Han and Chewie board the Falcon was in the preview. Of course a lot of people swore by the three Hobbit movies even though they were some of the worst cinema I have ever seen so there is no accounting for people's taste in movies.

I really hope that they do something special in the next couple of films because The Force Awakens was frustrating and even worse it was a yawner.

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