Star Wars – The Force Awakens – Is it the New Lord of the Rings?

So after all the hype it has finally arrived.  The reviews have been excellent, the toys have been prepared, its Christmas and its time for the renewed Star Wars, The Force Awakens.   I was genuinely quite excited about going to see this – especially since it was on at our favourite cinema, the DCA, and was delighted that Mrs R. agreed to go and see it with me, although I was sure it would not be her kind of film.  Ever since Lord of the Rings becoming a Christmas tradition I have been looking for a replacement….did The Force Awakens justify my expectations?
In several ways it is a good film.  I loved the cinematography, the music, the action sequences and the return of some of the old characters.  It was a reasonable nights entertainment.  However, (and here I feel as though to Star War devotees I am committing blasphemy), it was not a great film.  I won’t be rushing to see it again, or buying it on video.  Sorry if this goes against the general hype but I was somewhat disappointed.
CleanThe Force Awakens is clean.  There is no mess.  Every thing is neat and tidy – including the plot.  It is clean also in the sense that there is no swearing, no sex and the violence is largely cartoonish.   But for me the whole thing was sanitised.
Childish – Disney are brilliant at making films for children that also appeal to adults.  The Force Awakens is more like a film for adults that appeals to children.  It is simple.  The good guys win, the bad guys lose.   There is little character development, the plot is totally predictable (I have not put any spoilers in here – but suffice it to say if you know the Star Wars films I doubt anything will take you by surprise), and everything is seen through the eyes of  a disneyfied gnosticism.   The worst thing for me is that I found it quite boring….it could have easily been 30 minutes shorter and lost nothing.
Commercialised –   Someone in Disney described Star Wars as the biggest licence to print money in toy industry history.   That is why this film is so safe.  And boring.  The advertising and trailer teasers have been superb.  The marketing wonderful and the film itself does not disappoint those who are looking for a rerun of the first three Star Wars films.  But the commercialism of the whole thing leaves me with an uneasy feeling.
To be fair, most of the other reviews I have read have praised The Force Awakens. And much to my surprise, Mrs R loved it! (perhaps because the previous week we had sat through the depression of Sunset Song).  Maybe I’m getting old…or maybe its just a world weariness.  I prefer things with a bit more depth.     I know that many Christians will be able to get ‘spiritual’ lessons and analogies out of it (mainly because almost all good human stories reflect the great biblical themes of darkness vs light, good vs evil), but I will stick to the greater depth and beauty of Lord of the Rings.  This is certainly not LOTR – the storyline is shallow and predictable, the characters pretty much the same.  Perhaps the Force just was not with me.

3 thoughts on “Star Wars – The Force Awakens – Is it the New Lord of the Rings?

  1. Is it the new Lord of the Rings?

    I would suggest, perhaps there is not like for like between the two. Yes Star Wars has become something formulaic with little surprises (however *spoiler alert * with what happened to Hans solo how could they?!). But then the same could be said for James Bond so why was it for me that The Force Awakens was OK and I got thrilled with Spectre?

    Both have the fight between good and evil where who is good and who is evil is prescribed, and our heros/heroinies facing life threatening challenges involving winning light sabre fights and throwing baddies out or moving trains while the forces of evil are defeated.

    So what is it about it for me that is the difference? The only thing I can think about is that in one Aston Martins are involved and a 47 yeah old hero gets to be with a 30 year old heroine. For this single 51 year old guy it gives hope.

    Having said that, perhaps a comparison between the recent offering of Sar Wars to it’s 70’s original counterpart is also not a like for like comparison. Yes the special effects have moved on from then and one might say the acting has improved but it is impossible to recapture that first moment of encounter with the Millennial Falcon and the love interest between an intergalactic smuggler turned good and a princess.

    So a replacement for Lord of the Rings as a Christmas tradition with depth, beauty that is not boring and with character development in it? Maybe one could do worse than going for one of the classics – It’s a Wonderful Life perhaps?

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