The Force Awakens (again)

So… after I had calmed down a bit (aided by Christmas food, drink and merriment) I went back and saw Star Wars Episode VII again. This time in 3D. I don’t like 3D films but I thought it might add an extra element of fun to the proceedings. I also went to my local flea-pit Odeon cinema in Loughborough, because I think it’s going to need all the help it can get once the new Cineworld opens in a couple of months. The seats are awful and the toilets should come with a health warning.

Despite the 3D effect rubbing me up the wrong way (I hate it when things sticking out towards you are out of focus – it makes no sense) I enjoyed the film a little more the second time around. I also realised that I had some false memories from my 2D experience, since unless there are two versions of the film, no tie fighters come out after Finn and Poe as they escape the First Order cruiser. Weird low staffing.

I think I had way too high expectations of the film first time around in much the same way as I reacted badly to the only other film I definitely wanted to see on the big screen this year – Spectre (‘no that was just a crap film’ I hear you say… oh ok…).

This time around I was more relaxed and picked up on a lot more hints about Rey’s lineage. The smart money is on her being Luke’s daughter.. maybe. Although there’s some problems with that theory I’m sure they’ll get explained away (like Leia hearing her mother singing to her didn’t…).

And Finn, snatched as a baby and brainwashed (badly it turns out) by the First Order could just as well be Lando’s son given that’s he’s the only other notable black character apart from the previously mentioned Mace Windu.

The visions Rey gets from touching Luke’s lightsaber, prompting her awakening to the Force, give some hints. A spaceship flies off while the offscreen voice of a man tells her to come with her. But then when she is older he is nowhere to be seen and she’s scratching off days inside her AT-AT foot hideaway. She’s thinks she should wait, but for who? Answers in Episode VIII I guess… Also in the vision we seem to see Ren’s Knights who get only the briefest of mentions early in the film. I’m sure a lot of the stuff I wanted to see in a Jackson-esque prologue is explained in the supporting books which have been written to replace the now defunct works by writers such as Timothy Zahn.

Things I liked a whole lot better this time around were the elements of humour and the ‘easter eggs’. There’s a lot of subtle and quick references to other episodes. I also think that all the main actors did exceptionally well especially when handed eggy lines like ‘I didn’t think there was this much green in the whole galaxy’ or whatever shinola came out of Rey’s mouth when they go to the green planet to see the dwarf with the goggles on.

Things I still disliked were the apparent lack of long-term reaction from Leia after Han’s death  – put her in a black dress or something for God’s sake; Finn and Rey’s disproportionate command of the lightsaber in comparison to Kylo Ren (which can be explained away by the super-invested Star Wars fans I guess); and the ‘re-use’ of the line ‘there’s still light in him’ – it smacked of the Spider-man reboot trying to say ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’ without actually saying it. Just say ‘there’s still good in him’ or don’t bother! Also I tried hard to like the Han and Leia scenes but they just smacked of a writer’s perceived need for exposition and ‘down beat’ prior to more pew pew! action.

Also I was intrigued by Kylo reading Rey’s mind and saying that he sees an ocean and an island suggesting Rey has already been to Luke’s island hideaway in the past or is it that Kylo can see into her future? Ooh scary Force stuff…

One literally standout moment in the 3D version is the image of a Star Destroyer hanging in space and seemingly hanging out of the screen and above the heads of the audience. Apart from that it was the usual mishmash of layers and annoying out of focus elements. It wasn’t the worst 3D film I’ve seen but neither was it the best and it really has solidified my dislike of the format.

For instance, the final 3D shot of the lightsaber before the helicopter pull away shot and the closing iris is also out of focus in the foreground. Seems to me like not enough thought was put into the 3D side of things during shooting. I don’t think it would’ve been that hard to change focus from Rey’s face to the outstretched lightsaber for such an iconic shot. Seeing the scrolling episode intro text fade into 3D oblivion was pretty cool though!

 

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