Screen Anarchists On: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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HYS-TT-ForceAwakens.jpg(Yay, we've gathered the troops, yet managed to avoid spoilers!)

A week ago Star Wars: The Force Awakens landed with a planetary surface-shattering impact, and it was an event too big to ignore for us here at ScreenAnarchy. Hell, most of us are of the age where at least one of the trilogies was important to us, growing up, so there sure is no shortage of people interested in the franchise, here at ScreenAnarchy central.

So we had a quick round-up of opinions about the film, and decided to put them here for all to see, in a gallery. We all steered clear of any big spoilers (whatever you may discern here is also on the poster above). If fan interest still exists in a few weeks, I may re-post this article with all the big spoilers put back in, heh...

The first one up is Jason Gorber, who wrote our review, in which he said "The Force is strong with this one". He starts this list with some afterthoughts to his review, but by clicking on the sides of the picture below you can slide through them all to see our general reception of the film.

And wow, some of our opinions do differ a lot! Your opinion is valid as well of course, so chime in, in the comments below, and HAVE YOUR SAY!

(...but do try to keep them free of the biggest spoilers for the first week or so...)


Jason Gorber, Kurt Halfyard, Ben Umstead, Pierce Conran, Ernesto Zelaya Miñano, Michele "Izzy" Galgana, Jim Tudor, Shelagh Rowan-Legg and Zach Gayne contributed to this story.

Jason Gorber, Featured Critic

There’s a weird thing that’s happened since I first saw The Force Awakens a week ago – I’ve had plenty of opportunity in both print and on air to provide analysis, taking in the film with a bit of (shall we say?) professional detachment and critical acumen. Meanwhile, some of my colleagues are gushing enthusiastically and unreflectively, even dismissing any of my “nitpicks” as being due to fanboy proclivities.

Here’s my somewhat ambivalent take – yes, I’m a fan of Star Wars, and yes, I like many parts of the prequels. With TFA I’ve seen most if not all of this before, and felt we got exactly what was expected, which in turn lacked the sense of real discovery we got even from Episodes I-III. At the same time, this is exactly the film that Disney/Lucasfilm needed to make, exactly the right level of nostalgia mixed with some fantastic new characters.

The performances of Boyega and Ridley are ace, and Poe gets to have his moments whooping it up. On second viewing Driver’s take grew on me considerably, and I like the flawed characterisation they made of Ren. Ford’s having fun for the first time in forever, and Fisher’s seemingly the worst general ever, having less than anything to do.

There’s still glaringly weak elements, from dropped story points to overly convenient emotional moments that aren’t earned, while others are executed clumsily. Yet there’s other moments where the film soars, where the one-liners land hard and fast, and where we get a sense of thrill watching a Star Wars film on the big screen.

We’ll see how it ages, especially in context of a marathon where its echoes to Jedi, Empire and A New Hope will become even more glaring (where’s Death Star II when they show the size difference?) I’m betting in time this will feel even more of a stepping-stone film, outclassed by what’s to come in subsequent episodes. At the same time, I’m betting some elements – Rey’s dream, for one – will take on new and greater import when some of the story holes are filled in, meaning that the bits of the film being loved now may diminish, while other elements skipped over will take on more import. Time will tell, for now I’m just pleased it’s not the mess it could well have been, that the balance between meta-narrative interests and just telling a decent tale are struck, and that the stage is fully set for what’s to come.

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God of JoyDecember 22, 2015 3:46 PM

I think Jim Tudor pretty much nails it. As my wife and I were leaving the theater I said "it was like hearing a good cover band do a greatest hits concert of your favorite band. Everything you would expect to hear, and done well, but lacking in originality or transcendent moments of brilliance." My biggest problem was with the story, so much time was spent nostalgia tripping - that all these great characters (liked Finn and (where I saw him) Poe) were not given any time for backstory or character arcs, just a lot of insert character A into set piece B recycled from films 4 and 6, etc. ... that said, it looks great, the new characters seem to fit well into the universe, particularly intrigued at Finn's origins (maybe the reason so many stormtroopers can't aim for sh*t is because they do not want to be there). Hopefully the story will get to break off into interesting directions for the next one.

Mr. CavinDecember 22, 2015 7:43 PM

When I opened this page, three different commercials for the new, highly idiotic looking POINT BREAK remake started playing loudly. The same happens every time I page forward through your reviews. Just letting you know, on the off-chance that's some kind of mistake.

Ard VijnDecember 22, 2015 7:59 PM

Thanks, we'll look into that. It must be a regional thing because not everyone is seeing it.

Mr. CavinDecember 22, 2015 8:33 PM

I hope you find it. I'll check back after the holiday season. Until then, hope everyone has a great Christmas or whatever. Peace on Earth, yo.