Return of the Star Wars (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (dir. Abrams, 2015) is undoubtedly a Star Wars movie. What I mean by that is a real effort was clearly made to make it like the Star Wars you love and remember, i.e. the original trilogy. In terms of visuals, it was refreshing to see such heavy use of real sets, locations, animatronic creatures and a lack of CGI. However, this did make the two CGI creatures they did use stand out (why couldn’t they have gone the whole hog?). It also had a genuine sense of humour and adventure that the prequels sorely lacked. In terms of the plot, almost every element had an air of familiarity about it, and this is where the real problems lie. There were no risks, no subversions and no surprises. It was really good at being the Star Wars we know, but it brought nothing new apart from a more gender and racially diverse cast; which again was very refreshing. So, in the end, it sorely lacked what was so engrossing about the original trilogy, its excitement and originality.

Below this picture of the Star Wars are twenty-two very familiar things in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m sure there were a lot more, but this is enough to be getting along with.

star wars

  1. Desert, snow and forest planets.
  2. A hero’s journey for a young outcast who lives on a desert planet and yearns for adventure.
  3. The information we want is in the little droid!
  4. Bad guy in a black mask with family issues, struggling between the pull of the light and the dark.
  5. Hero is led to adventure by little droid.
  6. Hero then meets an older mentor, who takes them away from the desert planet, teaches them about the force and talks of mythical past adventures.
  7. Stormtroopers burning people on a desert planet.
  8. Finn’s first view of the Niima Outpost mirrors Luke’s first view of Mos Eisley.
  9. The Millennium Falcon flees from TIE fighters by flying inside something large.
  10. Shooting TIE fighters from Millennium Falcon gunner bay.
  11. Interrogation and torture while strapped to a technological rack.
  12. A cantina scene with a diverse range of aliens, including an alien band.
  13. A diminutive, wrinkly alien encourages hero to learn the ways of the force.
  14. Evil mentor appears via giant hologram.
  15. C3PO comically interrupts tender moment between Han and Leia.
  16. Giant, planet-sized, super-weapon with a weak point that must be destroyed by an X-Wing assault and Han laying mines.
  17. Flying down trenches.
  18. Hero’s friend with less than perfect past, at one point, threatens to leave and abandon the cause but returns to rescue the hero and save the day.
  19. On enemy base, the hero witnesses their mentor being killed by the villain from a distance and screams.
  20. Body falling down deep chasm inside a large technological base.
  21. The hero, who doesn’t know everything about their family, learns the ways of the force and faces the villain (who – in all likelihood – is a family member), who asks them to join the dark side and be trained by them.
  22. The last of the Jedi must complete the hero’s training in part two.
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