Our occasional film critic Rory Percival isn’t impressed by the lazy writing and plot contrivances of the latest box office smash in the Star Wars series
I believe the only reason people seem to love this seventh instalment in the tired sci-fi franchise Star Wars is because of its nostalgic links to the original movie, A New Hope (1977), which started a pop culture phenomenon, as by taking away the cookie-cutter storyline that outright steals from A New Hope you are left with a bland, predictable, unoriginal space opera epic that seems to care more about setting up a sequel then becoming a stand-alone movie experience.
Having seen some other work by director JJ Abrams, I believed there was a glimmer of hope that The Force Awakens would at least be entertaining, as I believe him to be a talented film-maker. Instead, all I saw in my local theatre was a shameless cash grab of a motion picture that feeds off dedicated Star Wars fans and makes them believe that what they are watching is one of the best films of the year due to beloved characters making screen appearances after 30 years.
If you take away the obsessive fandom Star Wars generates, audiences are left with a film that is more a remake of the original than a sequel. To make matters worse, it’s not even a good remake. While none of the performances is bad per se, and veteran actors such as Harrison Ford deliver their lines in an engaging fashion, the newer members of the cast, such as Daisy Ridley, deliver performances that feel forced and generic with no good material to work on.
With a production budget of an estimated $200 million one would expect aspects as simple as costume design would be credit-worthy in such an anticipated movie, when in reality said design is so unconvincing that the soldiers of the main villain in this film, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, who delivers a performance that makes him seem like a whiny individual rather then an intimidating antagonist), seem to be wearing plastic that always remains shiny even in the middle of intense battles to the death.
You know there is a problem with a movie once you notice that its only redeeming quality is the slightly above average special effects. The film has incredibly lazy writing, with plot conveniences galore as important characters meet purely by chance against all odds on vast planets, and misplaced humour that is used inappropriately in scenes that should have been serious instead of light-hearted. Characters also make outright foolish decisions that are only there to advance the film’s uninteresting story.
I cannot stress this enough: if you have seen the original Star Wars and its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, you will be able to predict the entire plot of this movie within half an hour. It’s a film so carelessly made that the writers even reuse the iconic plot twist of a father-son relationship that brings no drama to this overhyped movie. If I were to give this film a score, it would be an average: 5/10.