STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS – REVIEW – So finally having allowed you time to actually see the Goddamned movie, The Studio Exec is ready to apprise you of his view, SPOILERS ARE NOW A-GO-GO.
So there’s this person ripping off bits and bobs of the old wreckage of a franchise from 30 years ago and selling them for scrap. Yeah, am I talking about Rey (Daisy Ridley) or J.J. Abrams and his team? Clever right? In fact, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is littered throughout with meta-commentary. It’s as much about watching Star Wars as it is a new Star Wars film. The audience are inscribed in the film as ex-Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) and Rey: they can’t believe Chewbacca and Han Solo are back either, but they know who they are and they seem as happy to see them as we are. ‘This is going to start to make things better,’ says the first spoken dialogue – by that old knight Max Von Sydow. And the rest of the film goes a long way to fulfilling that promise. It is fun, and funny – something the original never got by the way: see Chewbacca’s Tarzan impersonation in Return of the Jedi, or anything C3PO and R2D2 ever did! The action is brilliantly choreographed and breathtaking. The worlds feel real and lived in and run down. If there’s one thing it lacks it’s some racism. Unfortunately, there are no Ah-So-ing Japanese baddies or floating Jewish money lenders! Hopefully, that is something that can be remedied in future episodes.
Other problems included my difficulty in deciding whether to grin or weep at certain moments, and I did both throughout. Okay. Full disclosure. Star Wars was the first film I saw in 1978. I know a year late, but I was growing up in the UK and the film didn’t get there until 78. I was but a kid and we queued around the block my old man and me. We missed the crawl and the Star Destroyer but we saw the rest of the film and it was imprinted on me for life. I read the Alan Dean Foster books, and later I’d read Donald F. Glut and James Kahn. I played with the Star Wars figures and we played on the playground whole adventures. VCRs weren’t around yet and the first time I could watch the film again was 1982 – four full years later. So the film had grown in my imagination, all our imaginations in a way that with downloads and franchises, it just doesn’t work like that anymore. This is all to say that though I was initially stoked for the Prequels, by the time I saw them my deep rooted love of the franchise had been well and truly blunted, dulled. It was as if I’d gone to a remote island off the coast of Ireland, to just hang around with a beard. Then this film came along and handed me back my lightsabre! I’d waited for this day with a mixture of dread and irritation, but now it’s all come back. It was true. All of it.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is on limited release in some theaters in New York.