“That’s not how The Force works!” Han Solo to Finn, Episode VII
I saw the new Star Wars movie today. While a significant improvement on Episodes I -III, it still didn’t rise to the level of the original episodes IV – VI. It captured a bit of the original spirit, including the cheeky interplay between the original band of reluctant rebels. I didn’t find the hearkening back heavy-handed, although some did, with charming re-introductions of Leia, Han, and Chewy. The new droid, BB-8, deserves the attention he’s getting — the R2D2 for a new generation.
JJ Abrams is at his best with the action sequences, the tongue-in-cheek repartee, and the droid humanization. The newcomers Rey and Finn, are well done by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. The story line with Finn’s struggles to move on from Stormtrooper life is a nice addition to the saga.
My biggest complaint, besides the comical Emperor, is the way the underlying “philosophy” of the Force is handled. Without giving away too much, its coherence as a combination philosophy, religion, training-method, and mentored ability isn’t consistently upheld. Abrams et al. don’t seem to grasp the essence of the thing, so it doesn’t hold together, in a distracting way. It leaves the plot lines dangling, too-often bringing the viewer out of the action, to wonder about how it fits together, and losing connection with the characters. The whole thing comes across overly hollow. I was fully with Han when he yells at Finn, “That’s not how The Force works.”
My kids (12, 9, 9), action movie gurus already, thought it was “good”, and they were intrigued enough to want to watch some of the originals. And my oldest son can now apparently do this.