I’m gonna risk offending the entire StarWars fandom by saying that I’m not a fan of the series (!!!). I only watched Revenge of the Sith on TV and that was many, many years ago.
So when the latest installment, The Force Awakens, came to theaters in Malaysia, I was initially ‘meh’ on watching it. But the hype has been so crazy, it’s hard not to get swept up in it. Everywhere I turned, there were StarWars related stuff, merchandise, ad promos, parodies.. and a whole bunch of other money-grubbing capitalist nonsense. There was even a black Stormtrooper roaming the streets of Kuala Lumpur, going about doing everyday Malaysian stuff – a photography project which caught the attention of the main news outlets here. You can read on that in this link.
Since all my friends were raving about how this was THE film of 2015, my interest was piqued. So I went to catch a late night movie yesterday with another equal StarWars un-fan. The movie house was packed for every show; we were lucky to get two seats as it is.
The story is set 30 years after the destruction of the 2nd Death Star. Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, has disappeared. Now there’s a new baddie ala communist militia – the First Order, whose mission is to destroy the forces of Good and the Resistance. The good people need to look for Luke so that he can help in the fight against evil, but while carrying the map, resistance fighter Poe Dameron is accosted in the sandy planet of Jakku and leaves a tiny Wall-E-like robot, BB8 (which is damn cute, by the way!) to somehow deliver the lost map to base. The droid is found by a scavenger called Rey.
Meanwhile, Stormtrooper Finn who was on his first mission to Jakku is appalled by the Order’s methods when they slaughter an entire village of innocent people. Disgusted, he helps Poe Dameron escape, but their ship crashes back into Jakku and Finn finds himself alone. He meets Rey the scavenger, and together they escape the Order’s airstrike by stealing a ship called the Millenium Falcon. StarWars fans will know that this is the ship captained by Han Solo, whom they later bump into (small Universe they live in, no?).
The rest of the film is a lot of action, light sabres, blaster guns and spaceships as the Resistance fights against the evil First Order, who wants to destroy everyone with a enormous Death-Star-like weapon called the StarKiller. Throw in some father-and-son issues with the villain, Kylo Ren, who happens to be Han Solo and Princess Leia’s child… and you have a blockbuster film set to rake in millions at the box office.
Never having paid attention to the previous films, it was quite a confusing ride. I was particularly perplexed when the villain, Kylo Ren, called a mask of Darth Vader ‘grandfather’ (wait, what? I thought Luke Skywalker was his son.. so why is Han Solo his dad? I then realised Princess Leia was also Darth Vader’s kid. .__.”) The cinematography is superb: they spared no expense. The sweeping landscapes, detailed sets + vast and epileptic-inducing galactic battle scenes are on par. Story wise, it’s as good as it gets – young kid realises they have hidden potential and the Force, sets out with ragtag gang to defeat the forces of evil.. same old story but nicely packaged and shot. There is a small ‘twist’ at the end but nothing audiences didn’t see coming a mile away.
Overall, it is a beautiful film with a solid storyline that is relatively understandable, even for non Star-Wars fans. For the fans, it’s the much awaited installment after a long time away from the galaxy far, far away.