Breaking Down Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens:
It’s hard not being a fan of Star Wars or the new film Force Awakens.
While I find them to be well made films with promising scripts, the product is marketed and branded towards something that doesn’t match my particular cinema taste. But I love watching movies so I have sat through the ‘Midi-chlorians’ and the land of the Ewoks in order to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in pop culture. So here comes the newest Star Wars film, you may have heard of it…it’s a little piece called The Force Awakens. From toothbrushes to car commercials, the record-shattering flick is everywhere!
I just had to see what all the fuss was about!
While I didn’t hate the movie, I felt like I was hanging out with a new group of friends with all these inside jokes that I couldn’t join in on. It’s a culture that I am not a part of but that doesn’t mean I don’t have thoughts on the film.
Not wanting to labeled “hater” by people on the Internet, these 5 observations below are some of the personal feelings I had about the film purely as a moviegoer. It is in no means an attack on the film and/or its fans.
1. What Would The Films Be Like From An ‘Adult’ Perspective?
My taste in movies tends to lean towards that have an R or NC-17 rating. I’m just a cynical bloodhound who loves bad words & some sexuality, what can I say? But this makes me wonder…what would Star Wars be like if it went fully to the dark side?
The film franchise has a sick love of dismemberment & already touched on almost incest, why not get more twisted? While the movies are mostly for families with their adorable wise cracking characters, there have been some rather messed up moments. From Anakin Skywalker killing a bunch of kids to the Wampa having a bloody meal, it gets brutal at times but not to the point to make a real difference.
The Force Awakens was never going to the gritty reboot that seems to be so popular but under the Disney umbrella, it was more accessible to children than ever before.
Much like A New Hope, The Force Awakens keeps the tone rather light for the most part. With one spoiler filled death & some torture moments, the movie does try to darken it up but doesn’t hit the lows that Empire Strikes Back did. Imagine how brutal Kylo’s lightsaber would have been with a more sadistic space-loving director like Ridley Scott or Christopher Nolan. Taking out some of the more marketable moments from the film, Force Awakens could have been a move to a more experimental time in the franchise’s history.
This new film is more focused on diversity this time around. The Force Awakens has 3 leading heroes; none of which are a white males. To go even further, other than the original heroes & Adam Driver…the cast is made up of foreign actors ranging from places like Europe, Africa, and South America.
This film also features a leading female. The hero for our hero’s journey is a girl this time around. Since playing second fiddle to mumbling moronic men like Luke & Anakin, the women of Star Wars have always been shining stars in a dim galaxy. This time around, Rey is already badass before we meet her. It doesn’t take her long before she picks up on her newfound power. It’s a refreshing change of pace after seeing two sets of films with dopey leading men trying to find themselves.
I’m not saying the older films or the much hated prequels didn’t have an array of diversity but The Force Awakens has something for just about everyone. It’s important for people to have representation in media, especially in sci-fi. The film reached out to many different walks of life; the diversity is a small portion of what I think led to its success. Star Wars is now more relatable than ever.
3. Star Wars: The Hero’s Journey
Star Wars has always been the simplest retelling of ‘the hero’s journey’. For those of you who don’t know what the term is, I’ll quickly sum it up. Our hero goes on an adventure where they face adversity and they are forever changed in the process. That’s ‘the hero’s journey’ and basically the plot to any kids movie.
The Force Awakens is no different; our darling kick-ass Rey is thrust into a world she knows little about and quickly learns she is even more important then she ever imagined. Much like Luke Skywalker and young Anakin in Phantom Menace, Rey is just a seemingly ordinary person who is now part of the world of Jedi & Siths.
Is ‘the hero’s journey’ the easiest way to tell a story with such an expansive universe & epic family drama surrounding it or could we get a more complex story to match the complexity of the world we are in?
4. Can The Real Bad Guys Please Stand Up?
I’ve always had an issue with the villains in the Star Wars films. The main villain, this time Kylo Ren, is an easily manipulated attention seeking baddie; much like his beloved Darth Vader. There is this higher power with a much more evil intent pulling the strings but the weaker villain is usually given more screen time.
You can already see the seeds being planted in The Force Awakens where Kylo Ren will be able to redeem himself, even if it’s just before death like Vader before him. It would refreshing to see someone with the hatred of Emperor Palpatine be the lead villain, someone too deep in the dark side to ever be redeemed.
We all know the real shining star of The Force Awakens is the round droid that seems to be loved by everyone in the film. You could feel R2-D2 fume with anger as BB-8 surpassed R2’s adorableness and became an overnight star in the process.
I hope to see the loveable droid on the red carpet this award season!