Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Mark Hamill as the aged Luke Skywalker
STAR WARS PART VII -- THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015). Director: J. J. Abrams.

Scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), former storm trooper Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) team up with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and the ridiculous Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) to find the long-missing Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and to destroy an installation that sends out planet-ravaging death-beams. The main antagonists in this are the First Order, who, naturally, want to take over the universe. Our heroes, under the command of General (formerly Princess) Leia (Carrie Fisher of The Women) also have to contend with one Kylo Ren (Adam Driver of This is Where I Leave You), who happens to be the corrupted son of Solo and Leia. I confess I've never been that carried away with the Star Wars movies, but this one (which sometimes seems like a retread of the original film) is colorful, has some good acting -- Daisy Ridley makes an especially good impression -- striking scenic design, and excellent FX. The man-eating, tentacled Rathtars are interesting creatures, and one of the best scenes is a suspenseful confrontation between Solo and Kylo Ren. It's been forty years since the original Star Wars and it's ironic that of the three leads, the oldest, Harrison Ford, looks the best, looking younger than his years, with Fisher and Hamill not having aged well at all and looking much older. J. J. Abrams also directed the Star Trek reboots.

Verdict: Frankly, despite all the money spent on it this is not nearly as much fun as certain of those classic cliffhanger sci-fi serials that inspired this. but it has its moments. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

I think I liked this one a bit more than you did, Bill...I found it very nostalgic and was delighted how it honored the first three Star Wars movies, which I grew up with and know by heart...I was very very disappointed with Episodes I,II,III (in the 1990s and early 2000s) and feel that this reboot will be better than those, though I doubt they will ever eclipse the original Episodes IV, V and VI.
You are right of course--most people don't know that these films are all inspired by those wonderful 1930s and 1940s serials...I wish they would show them more often on TV. TCM does a marathon of them once in a blue moon.

William said...

You can find DVDs of most of the classic cliffhangers on amazon and ebay, including ones that don't have official releases and are in public domain.

I agree that the earlier Star Wars films were superior to most of the ones that came later.