What it’s about: It’s about the Star Wars universe. It’s about introducing new characters and reconnecting with the characters from episodes IV-VI. Yep, that’s about it.
What I liked about it:
- The new actors are good. They’re sufficiently charismatic, and they can act. I was good with Mark Hamill though, so what do I know? Presumably, the reasoning behind going with relatively unknown actors is the same today as it was in 1977: it makes it easier to buy into the fantasy of a world that existed a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away when the actors aren’t already associated with something else. The lone exceptions is that old guy who plays Lor San Tekka, the Jakku village elder. Where the heck did they drag him up from anyway? He looks vaguely familiar, but I can’t quite place him.
- It has just the right amount of humor, and the pacing is good. One of the most insufferable things about the prequels was their tendency to get bogged down. This film doesn’t suffer from delusions of grandeur. It’s an action film. It knows what it is, and it’s fine with that, as it should be.
- If there’s one thing Ronda Rousey taught us, it’s that, in case we didn’t know it already, women can be pretty dad gum bad ass. It’s fun to see a woman take up the
swordlight saber to carry on the tradition. Why the heck not, right? Rey is awesome.
What I didn’t like about it:
- Alec Guiness was brought into the original Star Wars film to lend the project some gravitas. Max Von Sydow was brought into this new film–for what? Good grief. You don’t bring in a quarterback of his stature just to have him hand off the ball. What a waste.
- It all seems just a little bit too familiar, and I’m not talking about Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill either. Paying homage and getting back to basics is one thing, but this is just a little too uninspired. Also, Rey is great, but even with her, they still played it a little too safe. It’s entertaining, and I’m looking forward to the next one, but I wish it had a little bit less of a corporate rock feel to it.
- It’s hard to do this without spoilers, so let me just leave it at this–the big climactic event is, well, a bit anti-climactic.