25 December 2015

According to the Customs of My People, Chinese and a Movie on Christmas

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Harrison Ford ... Han Solo
Mark Hamill ... Luke Skywalker
Carrie Fisher ... Princess Leia
Adam Driver ... Kylo Ren
Daisy Ridley ... Rey
John Boyega ... Finn
Oscar Isaac ... Poe Dameron 

J.J Abrams
This is a spoiler free review, so I will not go into the minutae of the plot.

I think that J.J Abrams did a thoroughly competent job in this movie.

As my son said, no one is going to call J.J. Abrams "Jar Jar Abrams" after this.

It was worth watching in a movie theater.

That being said, I was not as impressed as my wife and kids were.

The original Star Wars was very consciously following anthropologist's Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey.

George Lucas has been very explicit about this.

The nickel tour of the Hero's Journey is:
1. Ordinary World
2. Call To Adventure
3. Refusal Of The Call
4. Meeting The Mentor
5. Crossing The Threshold
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
7. Approach To The Inmost Cave
8. Ordeal
9. Reward (Seizing The Sword)
10. The Road Back
11. Resurrection
12. Return With The Elixir

Campbell posits that this is at the core of most, if not all, hero stories and myths.

I don't think that J.J. Abrams did this. I think that he was looking at doing Star Wars.

I got the sense in a number of scenes that Abrams was marking the checklist. I found it a bit distracting and I found the film derivative.

As to the performances, I thought that Harrison Ford was more playing Harrison Ford than Han Solo, Carrie Fisher was a clenching her jaws throughout her performance a bit too much .

As to the newcomers, both Ridley and Boyega did well.  Neither of them were overawed by the shoes that they had to fill.

They were both fun to watch, particularly Boyega, who has a flair for playing a flawed character finding himself.

Oscar Isaac's performance was good, but basically he was just playing the eye candy hotshot pilot.  It was kind of a throw away role.

That being said, of the 5 Star Wars movies that I've seen, I've not seen the Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones, it is firmly in 3rd, behind the original and The Empire Strikes Back, and well ahead of Return of the Jedi (I hate Ewoks) and Revenge of the Sith (I hate Hayden Christenson even more than I hate Ewoks)

I would give it 3½ out of 5 stars, but as I noted, my wife and kids all thought that it was the best thing since light saber sliced bread.


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