The Skywalker Saga: The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars movie since Disney acquired the rights in 2012. Directed by JJ Abrams, the movie focuses on a new protagonist, Rey.

Compared to the first two trilogy's, our main character is not a Skywalker and is completely new to the Star Wars universe. Rey, played by Daisy Riddley, lives on the planet Tatooine, I mean Jakku; though you can barely tell with how similar they both look.

It tells me right off the bat that this movie wants to be so much like the original trilogy but still do it’s own thing.

Rey is a scavenger and comes across BB8, the new droid of the franchise, while around town. This is very similar to A New Hope, where the droids wander through the deserts of Tatooine before being picked up by Jawas.

Heck, throughout the movie it’s not hard to tell that it’s just a carbon copy of the original from 1974, and bad news is the original did it better.

Progressively through the movie, Rey starts to show the traits that are really highlighted later down the line. She’s not necessarily a bad character in this movie, but at the same time, her character doesn’t allow anyone else screen time.

The movie constantly has to have Rey on screen and yet her backstory is barely ever touched on. If the movie wants to compare itself so much to A New Hope, it’s only fair that I do too.

From the moment Luke appears in the movie we know a lot of things about him: he lives with his aunt and uncle after his father died, he works on a farm, he wants to leave Tatooine, his friends have gone and he’s good at fixing things.

Twenty minutes after that we also find out his father served in the Clone Wars as a Jedi Knight alongside Old Ben Kenobi.

What do we know about Rey from this movie?

She doesn’t have a proper home, her parents abandoned her, she’s good at fixing things, she wants to leave Jakku.

Are we starting to see the problem? So much of Rey in this movie is just a guessing game, we barely know anything about her, yet we’re meant to care if she survives or not? There are so many other interesting characters that the movie can focus on, but it chooses not to.

A Stormtrooper breaking out of the mould, realising he’s on the wrong team and joining the Resistance to make up for it? Way more interesting.

A Resistance pilot navigating the galaxy, tasked with delivering plans and saving villages held hostage? Way more interesting.

Heck, I’d rather watch whatever Leia is doing than have to sit and pay attention to Rey explain everything that’s happening within the scene.

And that brings me to my next point, the cameos in this movie. Now, I like a cameo as much as the next guy, but when a franchise or movie/show relies too heavily on them it ruins the magic.

I’m going to give The Force Awakens a pass for today, why? Because the cameos work, kind of. I like the addition of Leia leading the Resistance, it makes sense story-wise and is a good fit for the character. What I don’t like that much is Han Solo and Chewbacca, and I love these characters, how could you not?

But they just feel so shoe-horned into the script, you could have easily not had them and instead use the characters established in that movie. It’s great that they’re there and they probably provide some of the best laughs, but it does feel done for money and not for the story.

Han’s death felt.... like something. I didn’t feel anything when I saw it, just an emotionless “Oh no, he’s dead.” It wasn’t special. Maybe it was for others, but not for me. Besides, everyone knows that Han wouldn’t have been killed off if it wasn’t for Harrison Ford quitting the role.

One thing I genuinely enjoyed about this movie was its opening, it was so dramatic and a little darker than just a big ship in space. I love the introduction we get to two characters that needed way more screen time, seeing the Stormtroopers as this threatening force is something I always like to see.

They’ve had a bad rep in the last few years, now played for more comedic moments than actually scary ones, and this scene really highlights it, this scene really shows how dark the Empire, or The First Order can be.

I wish more scenes were like that, but hey, there is some good stuff in this film. As mentioned, the opening scene, I also really like the interrogation scene between Rey and Kylo Ren.

And I should probably mention him at this point, Kylo Ren is the Darth Vader of an edgier generation. He’s the grandson of the original, therefore a Skywalker though it is never said in the movie. I like his outfit, it isn’t vastly similar to Vader’s and it works well, the mask especially.

His anger has force behind it, no pun intended, and you do feel tension when he’s in a scene. The character relationships with Han and Leia are ok but I wish there was more, you never seen Kylo and Han interact before the big death scene.

Which is definitely a missed opportunity, he’s probably the character that gets the best treatment in these films and that’s putting the word ‘best’ lightly. No character in this movie is done well, there are aspects I like and characters that deserve to have a bigger impact than they actually do.

The CGI is what you expect from a big blockbuster from 2016, it’s stunning and detailed and that’s to be expected. Planets, however, do just like parts of Earth, and there isn’t really anything that makes it clear it’s an alien planet.

Trees and a big lake could exist anywhere on Earth, why have something we’ve seen before? Or at the very least make it look cool, like the lava planet, Mustafar, in Revenge of The Sith.

Overall, is The Force Awakens a good movie? Yes. Is it a good Star Wars movie? Yes. Is it a good sequel to the original trilogy? No.

It lacks a lot of originality; some scenes are really good and had a clear plan, but others fall on their heads in such disastrous ways. The characters who aren’t already established in the world come across as underdeveloped and annoying, the main character Rey was clearly seen as just a girl protagonist first and actual character second and that sucks.

Some emotional beats were lacklustre, and some were hyped up too much in marketing, the mystery of Luke Skywalker, though felt like it didn’t drag on, still didn’t feel like it deserved the ending we got. There should have been something more.

The only thing it carries over from the original trilogy is the main characters but does a disservice to them, it also uses plot points from the original but doesn’t outdo them in anyway.

So yes, I believe The Force Awakens is a good movie; it's funny, it's got good action and if you want to turn your mind off for two hours, then it's perfect.

You can tell the people making it had respect for the franchise, but with that, I think they were too scared to make it their own incase of backlash; sadly, they got backlash anyway.

The Force Awakens gets 3 out of 5 BB8s from me.

The Force Awakens is streaming on Disney +.

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