At the same time brilliant and very average, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a difficult movie to watch. Immensely enjoyable and also sorely disappointing, the most recent edition of the Star Wars saga is an even harder movie to review. No one wants to hear anything but glowing reviews of the movie that brought back the entire cast from the original--blockbuster--movie: but I would be lying if I said they didn't leave a lot on the table. The Force Awakens was a good movie--no question about it--but it wasn't great, not by a long margin, despite every opportunity to be great.
So the question is: Where did it go wrong? Why did its tremendous potential go unfulfilled? The simple answer is the screenplay. When you watch VII, it becomes very obvious early that a remake of the original Star Wars was at hand. And there's nothing wrong with that, especially when you add in a stellar new cast of characters intended to be the new face of the series.
Add that to the return of the big three, Han, Luke and Leia, and it's a lead-pipe cinch, right? Sorry, but no--this was a case of resting on your laurels in the extreme. The original Star Wars was an epic movie in every respect, yes, but that doesn't mean using essentially the same script is going to be epic again. Far from it: entertaining, yes; worth the price of admission, yes; epic, no.
In addition to the lack of original plotting, I thought the dialogue was stilted as well, especially in the exchanges between Han and Leia, where approximately no chemistry was exhibited. Any watcher of the first three episodes (IV-VI) will tell you that the chemistry between Han and Leia made the film. Opportunity missed. I was also underwhelmed by the villains, both Kylo Ren and the Supreme Leader Snoke, who disappointed. Kylo Ren is a far cry from Lord Vader, and the Supreme Leader Snoke is not the Emperor, not at all.
But don't get me wrong, I would go see it again. And I will see it again--Daisy Ridley's performance as Rey left me wanting to see the next movie without delay.
Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and THE INTERN, a novel loosely based on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons, the literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of two tribes on Triberr, The Big Thrill and Fiction Writers. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at email@example.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at firstname.lastname@example.org.