Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Part 1 of 3)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Part 1 of 3)
I grew up watching Star Wars and had some of the toys. I fondly remember having a X-Wing toy and I would play with it for hours. I was that kind of Star Wars fan. When Disney announced that they bought the rights the franchise, I was excited. Some new creative people could be given the reigns and breath new life into a franchise that creatively was trapped under Lucas. If Star Wars was going to survive, it needed a change.
Wow, J.J. Abrams somehow managed to make a movie with some more compelling characters than most of the ones from the prequels. This movie outshines most of things done in the prequels by light years. From the opening pan down from the crawl to the ending, The Force Awakens truly feels like a Star Wars movie, an old school movie. TFA is a lot of fun and had me in tears when I witnessed old characters reconnecting for the first time in years. This movie carries all the fun chase and action scenes we've come to love from all the SW movies. With the SW Rebels and this movie, Star Wars feels new, fun and interesting again.
JJ managed to take out of the goofy and stilted dialogue from prequels, but managed to keep the wonderful world building background elements that I was fond of during Episodes 1-3. The character interactions and the actions scenes are frantic and full of life with some good editing.
The planet Jakku feels like living place with tons of things going on at a certain time. I also like all the Empire/Rebel wreckage buried around the planet. The planet has character. And, I was a little worried it would feel a bit too much like an updated Tatooine, but it certainly isn't that planet. You can see all the old movie ships and walkers from the old series buried throughout Jakku. I hope we see this movie again and this will be our new Tatooine.
The movie clearly has the same story structure as A New Hope and some of the beats are the same (BB-8 has the plans/maps, and the bad guys want it). Heck the movie even pans down to a star destroyer just like Episode IV, yet it kind of feels like Empire Strikes Back with that opening and the bad guys dropping drop-ships. Some might say the movie tries too much to rehash the old movies, but I see it as a tribute and homage to the old movies. However, this new movie also changes up the old SW tropes as well. They'll set up familiar things and go in a different path. I really enjoyed that.
BTW, the Disney logo doesn't appear at the beginning in any shape or form. It actually just opens up on the Lucasfilm logo and Bam! It goes into the crawl and the music. Why not piss off FOX by having your shiny logo replace theirs and sticking it to that studio one more time? It would have felt right to have the main studio at the beginning of the movie, if you're trying to capture the old SW movies.
Since this is set 30 odd years from Return of the Jedi, it must cover a lot of back story. For the most part, it does it far better than the Prequels ever could imagine. However, there are some wobbly bits involving the back story leading up the film that were fleshed out. I am sure these points were filmed, but deleted from the movie. I am almost certain of it due to the fact JJ tends to delete things that would fill in plothole because he wants to help move the pacing along. As a former fictional writer, I feel this is problematic sometimes (like when he deleted the Klingon subplot from his Star Trek movie). I'll get into that later.
Like I've stated before, the creative team behind this movie are people like you and I that have grown up watching SW movies, because there seems to be care given to the characters and this is where the movie honestly shines. The best parts of this movie are the characters.

Every character has his or her moment...

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