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.
Clean – The 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.