Star Wars: The Force Awakens
With the release of the new Star Wars movie, episode number seven, the franchise has been successfully extended into the indefinite future. An entirely new generation of characters, in somewhat bewildering numbers, has been seamlessly molded onto the old. The eternal struggle of good versus evil is revived in familiar venues and forms which remain true to original inventions.
But with the transfer of the production from Lucas Films to the Disney Studios, something has been left behind as well. In particular, the epic sense of larger than life individuals altering the course of history has been entirely sacrificed in favor of developing previously neglected human personalities and relationships necessarily limited to a smaller cast of characters.
While special effects are as impressive as ever, their novelty and engendered sense of amazement is less so. Technical advances industry-wide and over-familiarity with Star Wars conventions are perhaps partly to blame. On a the other hand, new visual images for faster-than-light travel and novel concepts in food preparation were welcome additions even to the extent of advancing the sense of a starving waif.
But the biggest disappointments are in Direction and Film Editing. Plot predicaments are not well developed nor are they really resolved, significantly sacrificing audience emotional involvement. Victories are not celebrated nor losses mourned with the strength of moment that so enlivened prior episodes. In short, Disney doesn’t seem to be able to tell a story. Instead as a poor substitute, Disney relies on reviving every single cliché from prior adventures.
All in all I enjoyed the movie and might even recommend seeing it multiple times so as to sort out all the motivations and relationships. These are hints of bigger things galore but most likely will only be meaningfully revealed in future episodes. This is a must see movie, of course, for all Star Wars groupies.