So,… I finally saw the most recent Star Wars movie the other night (it has already made its way to cable; meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Interstellar and Ex Machina to show up). Those who know my value system with regard to science fiction, with regard to movies, and especially with regard to science fiction movies, warned me I that I probably wouldn’t like it very much.
But I already knew that was likely just because of who directed it (same guy who nailed the Star Trek coffin shut), so I approached watching it with very low expectations and without any oxen to gore (since I was never really a fan and never really got into the characters or story).
And even so I still really disliked it. A whole bunch.
I did watch the whole thing, so I guess it did better with me than the latest Mad Max movie did. I only lasted 30 minutes into that one before I turned it off in disgust at how dumb it was.
And that’s really my biggest complaint about the new Star Wars. It’s a dumb, dumb movie. Too dumb for me to enjoy, and maybe that’s on me, but it’s hard to get into a movie that constantly has me shaking my head over the dumb stuff.
Just for example: If Luke is so hot on being alone… why is there a secret pirate treasure map to his location? Why does it even exist? (And why is it such a lame map?)
Or: Why is Jedi training even necessary if all you really need is just to really need The Force at a given moment? Amazing how it lets you excel with a weapon new to you against a trained opponent.
Or: How is it that Storm Trooper training, despite apparently using brainwashing training techniques from an early age, can produce a trooper who suddenly, instantly, becomes a decent, coherent guy?
And: Why does an anonymous Storm Trooper know enough about how the Ultra Super Mega Death Star operates to know its one vulnerable point? (And why do Death Stars always have these ludicrously stupid Achilles Heels?)
Also: Why is Lord Voldemort in a Star Wars movie, and why is he going by the name Snape? And he has a younger Snape working for him. I found that part very confusing.
It was cute (and weird) watching the movie try to recapitulate SW IV. That first movie changed the movie and science fiction landscape. This one was just a silly remake. Another cotton candy, a sugary illusion of substance.
And very predictable. I ignore trailers and ‘the buzz’ as much as I can, so I didn’t know what happens to Han ‘Indiana’ Solo. And yet the way the scene was written and played telegraphed it way ahead of time.
Time and again, it was obvious what was coming. Simplistic first-level plotting. What comes next? Exactly what you’d expect given any experience at all with movies. It’s as interesting and compelling as slot cars.
My buddy mentioned that younger Snape’s light saber has a cracked crystal. That’s why the blade has the extra light show business going on, plus it makes the side thingies necessary.
I had a good belly laugh at the idea of a fantasy fairy tale for kids using hard SF elements to explain itself. Really; it’s cute and kinda hysterical. Like when a three-year-old acts like mommy or daddy at work. Ya just gotta smile.
Same buddy also mentioned a fan buzz, speculations that Rey (and-or Fin) goes bad, joins The Dark Side…
Bet you that never happens. Even in these days of “hide the villain” it seems like a major and ridiculous violation of the narrative they’ve established. These two are pretty clearly the heroes of the piece.
The supposed clue is that Rey has used fear or anger to access The Force so far. I suggest this really indicates a coming story line about her struggle with (and ultimate victory against) The Dark Side.
Fin, too, will no doubt be tested in some way, but I can’t see these as other than the plucky young heroes who save the galaxy far, far away (and long, long ago, so it’s a done deal by now).
On the other hand, Abrams has no respect for reality or narrative, and the name of the game these days is “shock the fans,” so who knows. I guess it’s exactly the sort of thing that’s trendy now.
But it’ll be a dumb trick if they do.
On my six-point scale, I give it a definite and decided Meh! (Better than the Nah! I gave the Max Max remake. Frankly it probably rated an Ugh!)
Sadly, it’s been a while since any SF movie rose above a Meh! For me, The Martian and Tomorrowland only rated an Eh! I’d give Ender’s Game an Ah! I’d give Oblivion (and also Elysium) an Ah! but Edge of Tomorrow just got an Eh!
(I gave Man From U.N.C.L.E. a definite Ah! — and likewise Kingsmen — but they’re not SF. Also enjoyed Spy quite a bit; it got an Ah!)
Not sure whether I think comic book movies count as SF (or are their own category), but I did give Guardians of the Galaxy a Wow! And Antman got an Ah!
But seriously, we do need better SF movies! Most of what’s being turned out is pretty dumb.