Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
A simple benchmark question for judging the merits of this “blockbuster of the year” is: if this film did not have almost 40 years of nostalgia-filled cultural context and cult following, would it be acclaimed as a cinematic triumph on its own merits? The answer is an obvious and resounding no. It has a vacuous and incoherent narrative arc, its characters are all tired old cultist clichés, the degree of repetitive “oh no, they are going to die” followed immediately by “phew, they escaped” is tiresome and the denouement or nearest thing to a climax offered by the film is straight out of the C-Grade sci-fi bottom drawer.
Of course, if the question is: does this film have marvelous visual effects, then the answer is a qualified yes. They are very good, but do not cut new ground. It is a dynamic action-filled old-style tale of good versus evil, with loads of colour and movement that will warm the heart of all Star Wars fans.
Not all movies can be easily reviewed using film analysis techniques. With some, you just have to suspend all critical faculties and go with the flow. But I’m not too sure that the next generation will be so forgiving. The 16 year old in front me heading for a quick exit said to his friend “I could have made a better film”. I’m sure he could.
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Bodega, Oscar Isaac