Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.
So, here is what I watched this past week:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
When J.J. Abrams took the Star Trek universe and turned it into a Star Wars clone with Trek character names, his appreciation for a need to get involved with George Lucas’ massive universe was obvious. Abrams has little to his style of his own, but that’s not really an impediment when you have the Disney machine working behind the scenes to create the first in its new line of blockbusters. They’ve managed to take Star Wars back to its roots and The Force Awakens is as competent and compelling as anyone could have expected.
The film features quite a few winks and nods to the franchise, which is to be expected. Disney understands just how to elicit maximum effect for their dollar, having spent decades mastering the techniques. From their animated films to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they understand that they have a brand to protect and launching that with a fitting return to one of history’s most popular series was crucial. Disney, via their hand-picked protégé Abrams, has done precisely what we hoped and wanted them to do, but not without problems.
Trying to discuss the film without giving details of the plot is difficult. I’ll leave that for my full review. Suffice it to say, the things that Abrams has struggled most with in his big screen career are still on display in this film. The characters ring mostly true, but are encumbered at times by cheesy, stilted dialogue; the plot lacks genuine complexity, opting for leaving itself open for further films, thankfully without genuine cliffhangers; and action-heavy, exciting, but ultimately generic dramatic sequences that showcase his utter lack of cinematic creativeness. The bonus for Abrams is that he doesn’t need to excel at any of these to make an entertaining movie. This is a franchise that relies entirely on engaging and pleasing the audience, concerned little with trying to branch out and explore new territory, blissfully content with staying on the same semi-predictable track. With a little less telegraphy (creating predictable outcomes), the film could have been much better.