Comparing Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the original classic is grossly unfair. The latter was a cinematic revelation. Audiences had never seen anything like it. This film is a better-than- average cgi space movie, although much of its appeal is due to familiarity with the characters and character types, and incessant callbacks to the original film series.
The locations and plot don't precisely duplicate the 1977 movie, but instead invoke an almost unrelenting sense of déjà vu. There's a desert planet, an ice planet, a planet-killing weapon, droids carrying critical information, a trench battle, and a cantina-like scene, to name the major ones. This is especially true when composer John Williams recycles specific music cues from the original trilogy, in a way letting us in on a character's relation to a character in the prior series, or the importance of punctuating a plot point without the need for actual exposition.
The only thing that bothered me was the Mary Sue-like abilities of one of the characters who apparently knows how to fly spaceships and engage in ninja-like light saber battles without any training or prior knowledge.
I must confess I'm not much of a Star Wars fan. I like the original, think The Empire Strikes Back was the best in the series, and started losing interest with the introduction of the Ewoks and the importance of merchandising over film-making. I saw bits and pieces of the prequels, none of which I found appealing.
I guess I'm sort of cgi-ed out. The original Star Wars was a landmark in motion picture history. That film still stands the test of time because its story and technical brilliance.
Still, it's interesting to remember that Star Wars happened because George Lucas couldn't get the rights to Flash Gordon. So Star Wars is a tribute to Flash Gordon, and The Force Awakens is an almost fanboy-like tribute to Star Wars.
Recursive plunge, anyone?
Categories: Star Wars