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MAKE ME LIKE: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

It had everything going for it: good director, good actors, stunning set pieces and it was, of course, superior to Episodes I-III (you don’t need to try to hard to surpass those though and for the purposes of this article and for my sanity I will ignore their existence).

So why, when I left the cinema after the credits rolled as everyone else chatted excitedly about what they’d just witnessed, was I left feeling oddly flat and disappointed by Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens?

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I have been a Star Wars fan for as long as I remember. It has always been a family staple in my house, even my dad who refuses to watch ‘all my sci-fi rubbish’ happily watches Star Wars. Because Star Wars is special, or at least it should be.

Episode VII tries to go back to basics, but I feel that’s where it really blew it. Every scene seems to be like a never ending string of fan service references. It unnecessarily clamours for our attention by saying ‘Oh look, remember this? Here you go.’

We’re already fans, we don’t need to be pandered to. It’s like a thinly-veiled, subpar remake of Episode IV with none of the heart. It leaves the whole thing feeling oddly staged and forced like the creaky jokey dialogue that seemed to flow so much more naturally in Episodes IV-VI.

Everything feels rushed. I don’t feel any emotional attachment whatsoever to these characters scurrying across the galaxy. There’s simply no time to breathe. I’ll admit with what they were given Daisy Ridley and John Boyega did remarkably well. That’s why when the (PLOT SPOILER!) of a much loved character occurs, I was left completely dry eyed. Harrison Ford almost looked as relieved as me that this pantomime was nearing its end.

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Image source: starwars.com

The film mostly looked great and the production was very similar to the older films, which should be commended, but even though J.J Abrams stripped back the CG and tried to go back to basics, when he did choose to use it, it seemed oddly jarring with the rest of the film.

The final nail in the coffin for me was Kylo Ren. Yes, the freaking lightsaber was cool, but he is undoubtedly one of the worst villains to grace the Star Wars franchise. He is literally the embodiment of a moody teenager throwing a tantrum. Adam Driver is a more than capable actor but completely wrong for this badly-written role.

Captain Phasma has a complete screen time of a few minutes, like a much less memorable Boba Fett. Yet another example of a brilliant character/idea that was underused and rushed. I realise she may be seen more in the upcoming episodes, but that doesn’t excuse her treatment in this film.

I seem to be the only person in the world that hasn’t jumped on the Episode VII love train. Help me get on board. Convince me if you can. Am I missing something here? All I have to say is in thirty years, will we be able to look at Episode VII in the same way we look at Empire Strikes Back, by all accounts, still the definition of a perfect Star Wars movie? I think everyone was just pulled along by all the hype and are looking at it through rose-tinted glasses. Am I just being too cynical? Please help. I’m starting to lose friends over this.

Oh, and, by the way, BB8 is the most annoyingly pointless little over merchandised droid in history. He is on everything. Stupid R2-D2 wannabe. I want to dropkick him into hyperspace. That is all.

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