Star Wars takes Audience on a trip of Déjà vu

By Damian Gordon//Staff Writer

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you have already seen it or you are about to head to a theatre. “The Force Awakens” left me satisfied but not full as the credits rolled.

Turn off all caps and set aside those pitchforks, the movie is good, but it just borrows heavily from past entries and relies more on a nostalgia trip for quality.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is about as safe as a sequel can get without calling it a remake. It was too familiar to the point where I had to question if they had accidentally cut footage from the previous movies.

The film takes place about 30 years after the “Return of The Jedi” and the First Order has risen to take over the work the Galactic Empire started. Luke Skywalker has disappeared for some time and the cleverly named Resistance group must search to find him and help bring balance to the force.

There’s a lot of nice callbacks in here, but there are way too many of them to the point where I was wondering if this was just a rich kid’s fan film.

A conscious choice to use more practical effects like the original trilogy pays off because CGI from 1999 have not aged as well as the originals. The creatures and places seem so real, making everything believable.

The new characters: Rey, Finn and Poe are great additions to the series and the dynamics between the three are great. John Boyega and Daisy Ridley’s chemistry really shines on screen as these two joke, embrace and fight together.

Boyega and Ridley carry the scenes, even when they aren’t interacting with each other, along with other side characters that round out a diverse cast.

While the plot may be a little thin, the dialogue, the characters and the worlds are so rich that it makes up for any retreading.

Harrison Ford retakes his role as Han Solo; although it has been over 30 years, things feel like they have never missed a beat. Ford gives his all into playing Han; instead of easily phoning in his performance, he brings back the flavor of the originals into this new cast.

The movie does not have any strong villains as much as it is popular to hate on previous Star Wars films like “The Phantom Menace”. The movie introduced a threatening villain in Darth Maul and a fantastic ending fight. Kylo Ren is the new baddie purposely made to be the antithesis of Vader, who is collected and powerful while he is brasher and a bit whiny.

The lightsaber duel brought something not seen before as Finn and Ren battle. It is not as complicated as some previous duels, showcasing an untrained Finn is trying to hold his own, while swinging hard and wild against the more experienced Kylo Ren.

Even though the film is safer than a cow in a veggie market, it does go to risky places with Rey and Finn that have a great payoff. The secrecy around their importance works for that reason only, making it questionable how watchable the film is on repeat viewings once the surprise is gone.

What’s respectable about the prequels were that even if they didn’t always execute new ideas like adding politics well, at least they tried new things. They have their own identity, while this feels like a mix of elements from past entries stitched together to please fans.

There are lots of plot points that mirror past films such as “A New Hope” or “The Empire Strikes Back”. Any new additions are few and far between, making the experience  feel overly familiar.

The Force Awakens teases cool backstory or adventures that have been taking place, but never shows them, which would be fine if what was going on in the film was as interesting as the lore.

There are a lot of setup and questions brought up for future movies, which makes this movie more like a prologue because most conflict or plot development feels like it ends up with a “to be continued”. This is a new trilogy; it should not feel like it only exists to purely set the stage for future entries and unable to stand on its own.

I’m more interested in seeing where it’s going than actually seeing this movie again. There is a lot to enjoy here whether it be the engaging fights or character interactions. Among many little gripes like ending on a cheap cliffhanger, there’s enough good in there to warrant a watch.


Photo By Dale Jackson

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