25 December 2015

'Star Wars: Force Awakens'

J J Abrams is a brilliant storyteller. He made the TV serial Lost and movies like Mission Impossible 3 and Star Trek. So when he was hired to continue the Star Wars saga, we had great expectations. Could he take Star Wars to the next level - like Christopher Nolan did with Batman?

If you thought like this, Force Awakens is a bloody nightmare. Because Episode 7 is just a remix of the old Star Wars story (especially New Hope). The characters have simply been recycled into new avatars:
Darth Vader --> Kylo Ren
Luke Skywalker --> Rey
Emperor Palpatine --> Supreme Leader Snoke
Galactic Empire --> First Order
Death Star --> Starkiller Base
R2D2 --> BB8

The 'scriptwriters' have simply done Ctrl-H (find & replace) on the old script. Above all, the core element of the hexology - the father/son story - has also been recycled! [Who is father? Who is son? You also pay your hard-earned money, like me, to find out!]

What went wrong? Disney didn't give Abrams any freedom (like Warner Bros gave to Nolan)? Or Abrams himself decided to play safe? The original was almost 40 years ago. So half the suckers today weren't even born then. The kindest verdict on Force Awakens is that it is just an introduction to the real story - which will be told in Episodes 8 and 9. We will see.

Anyway, what does it matter? Disney is laughing all the way to the bank. Force Awakens has already grossed $750 million, and will easily reach $2 billion. It is a triumph of the Hollywood marketing machinery. However, real Star Wars fans should be deeply disappointed. J J Abrams had the Force. But he chose to embrace the Dark Side.

PS: Almost all critics have given this xerox copy rave reviews (Rotten Tomatoes rating is 95%). How is this possible? The only answer is herd mentality. See Crucible (1996) for a brilliant analysis of herd mentality.

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