Re-examining 'The Force Awakens'

(My original review of "The Force Awakens".)

The moment "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" came out on BluRay, I re-watched it. It's certainly impressive in one respect: pure, 150-proof bottled nostalgia. J.J. (I'm on first name terms with the director, although he doesn't know me) has hired every single person he could find who had anything to do with the first three movies and stuffed them back into cameo roles to remind us of our childhood, while putting them in sets almost - but not quite - identical to those from the previous films. A prime example of this is Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in all the previous Star Wars movies: he was hired to play Chewbacca in "The Force Awakens" as well. He's now 71 years old and had double knee replacement surgery a few years ago. So apparently on set he played Chewy when he was standing around ... and someone else played Chewy when he was running. Given that Chewy doesn't actually speak a language that anyone except Han Solo understands, I think that says a lot about J.J.'s obsession with completeness and nostalgia.

I enjoyed the movie in the theatre, although I didn't think it was great. This time through I couldn't stop mocking it: there are a huge number of logical flaws and some brutal retconning.

  • How do you fit the entire contents of a star inside a Earth-sized planet? (This is one of the lesser logical problems, honestly.)
  • if you suck up a solar system's star, blowing up the planet(s) in the system is totally redundant: without a star, they'll freeze to death in a matter of hours.
  • Leia was established as being as powerful with the Force as her brother Luke ... and yet in 30 years she's done absolutely nothing about it, and even more amazingly learned nothing about it ... even though her son was training with her brother.
  • Kylo Ren stops a blaster bolt in mid-air: we've had six movies of Star Wars history, and every other Jedi and Sith lord has always used their light sabre to block or deflect blasters. J.J. did that because it looked cool - never mind that it made no damn sense.
  • Rey has had zero training in using the Force. And yet she's able to take over someone's mind. And, even more impressively, successfully fight Kylo Ren with a light sabre. Luke couldn't pick up a paper clip with the Force without months of training.

The joke is of course on me, as I paid $25 for the BluRay.