The Force Awakens (a bit late)

Tonight we finally got out to see the latest Star Wars extravaganza, although due to heavy traffic on the way to the cinema we missed the first five minutes? (ten minutes? an hour?) which left me wondering for the rest of the experience what important plot point we’d completely missed.

Of course, that didn’t really matter.

The latest Star Wars film is basically an enormous lump of all the things that were in the first three Star Wars films, but biggerer. There’s an evil man in black with a light saber (but with two extra bits sticking out the sides). There’s an attack by X-wing fighters on an even-more ludicrous battle station. There’s lots and lots of stormtroopers who still can’t shoot straight. And there’s the Force, and the Millennium Falcon.

There are no Ewoks though. There’s the Mos Eisley Cantina Redux, but in a forest rather than a desert. The feisty female is more heroic than Leia was in the original Star Wars, because she spends her time kicking ass rather than needing to be rescued (I noted with glee her annoyance at Boyega’s character trying to pull her by the hand out of danger). The Big Bad Guy is a bit of a disappointment – both the Emperor analogue, who is unreasonably big for no particular reason (until it’s explained that he’s a projection – but then why is the projection so damn big?) – and the Baby Darth just doesn’t feel threatening enough, especially when he keeps popping off his helmet to emote. Didn’t anyone tell him that a grumpy black-clad asthmatic is much more threatening than a kid with floppy black hair? Oh, and he seems to be wearing some kind of hessian sack dyed black, rather than the shiny horrorshow that was Darth Vader.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, although two hours of 3D Imax is enough to hurt anyone’s brain, and although it was fun, it felt a lot more like just another film, rather than some utterly amazing cultural artefact that it was talked up into being. The things I really liked were the nightmare sequence (much better than Luke in a cave in The Empire Strikes Back) and things blowing up a lot. What I didn’t like so much was its squeamishness in killing (some) people off, while others get mowed down in swathes, and Rey’s crystalline English accent was a distraction. I thought everyone in space spoke an American accent?

Oh, and it’s a bit silly, and after somebody mentioned Father Ted and Craggy Island, that was all I could think about for most of the film (a bit like the way once you see the stormtrooper bang his head in the original Star Wars, the film becomes split asunder, into Everything That Happens Before The Stormtrooper Bangs His Head, and Everything That Happens After The Stormtrooper Bangs His Head. But to complain about it being silly – it’s a Star Wars film, could you really expect anything different?

We got home – La Serpiente was sleeping, Destroyer was refusing to stop being awake. Maybe she was waiting for us to do lots of X-wing and Tie Fighter noises.


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