Saturday, December 19, 2015

A new generation

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015)

Produced By: Lucas Films
Director: JJ Abrams
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Kylo Driver, Daisy Ridley,John Boyega, and others
Pros: Fantastic balance of old and new, good cinematography, good acting
Cons: Too fast, poor character development
Rating: **** of 5 (4 of 5)

Yes, I was there. Yes, I saw it. Yes, I was jumping up and down like a little school girl. That's how excited I was for the new Star Wars movie, a franchise that has endeared itself like no other for the global order of geeks. Of course, as the movie progressed, it went from a guaranteed 5-star rating to four, for reasons I'll get to in a bit. This movie was destined to be the best this year - the sheer momentum of the preceding six movies and the cult following they command are testimony to that. But what of the movie itself?

It's very good, on the whole. There was also going to be the fear that it too would go the way of Transformers, from a good story to simply meaningless visual effects. And then, there was the nostalgia of the old movies losing out to modern technology. Fortunately, director JJ Abrams was successful in blending the old with the new, injecting a new generation of characters that mix well with whatever is left of the old - almost. While it was inevitable that such a large number of new characters would be introduced for the sequel trilogy, character development was severely lacking. The audience got to know the droid BB-8 far more than it got to know the new villain in town, Kylo Ren. Sure, we got the history, but what of the person? Most of the characters were treated indifferently by what seemed to be a mad desire to mash a lot of stories together and get to the ending. Without revealing the plot, suffice to say that this movie along would've been a whole trilogy in another day and age.

But praise is due where it is deserved. The new protagonists - Ridley and Boyega - do a superb job, and Harrison Ford does well too, although he does seem creaky to those that remember the daring Han Solo. The story is fast but very good, and leaves enough mystery for the succeeding films that will come in over the next three years. This movie is both a treat for old fans of Star Wars who want to relive the glories of the Rebellion and also a delight for a new generation that isn't sure what to make of a galaxy far, far away, that seems a lot like home. (OTFS)

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