Movie Review: “Star Wars Redux” aka “The Force Awakens”

for2The universe has gotten a lot more diverse in the decades since we first visited “A galaxy far far away.” And less sexist.

There’s a Republic, and plenty of reminders — crashed warships, grizzled veterans — of the war that brought it back.

But evil has reared its ugly head. The First Order is less subtle than the evil Empire about its affection for fascist optics, fascist storm troopers and fascist practices — massacring civilians and what not. But perhaps there are people with souls underneath those scary white (and black) helmets.


So a Resistance has formed, led by The Usual Suspects. And the war among the stars begins again.

J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars” reboot,  “The Force Awakens,” begins with smuggled plans. OK, it’s a map this time. There’s an adorable droid entrusted with the map. He gets away on a desert planet. Advice from a sage of the desert — warmly played by the great Max Von Sydow — is taken.

Escaping from the planet involves a dazzling dogfight and the Millennium Falcon. Old friends show up, and the map makes its way toward people who might be able to prevent this big round thing from blowing up planets.

Sure, it’s still a fun ride — shootouts, getaways made via hyperspace, wisecracks. But pretending “The Force Awakens” is anything more than a glib facsimile of “A New Hope,” the original “Star Wars” movie, is delusional. It’s dull because it is achingly unoriginal. Abrams,  at every turn, plays it safe, with multiple “takes me right out of the movie” lapses.

In Disney’s hands, it’s a small galaxy, after all — billions of people, with a choice few just stumbling into each other in the most bizarre coincidences, fewer quest story plots to choose from (the same one), desert planets that have the same sorts of critters, bars with the same barflies, etc.

The new villains are  Kylo Ren, a black-helmeted brute who throws hilarious tantrums, shorting out all manner of electronics with his Crusader broadsword light saber. Adam Driver is Hayden Christensen reborn, in essence, a somewhat amusing menace with the helmet on, that tall, skinny, curly-headed funnyman from “Girls” and “This is Where I Leave You” with the helmet off. Miscast.

His best line? “We’re not done here.” Kind of lacks…something.

And there’s a Supreme Being, another digital creation acted out by Andy “Gollum” Serkis. At least he’s kind of scary.

The desert planet heroine, Rey, is a scavenger of Jakku played with pluck by Daisy Ridley. She’s waiting for “my family. They’ll be back, someday.”

She is no damsel in distress.

“I know how to run! Let go of my hand!”

The most interesting addition is the Storm Trooper with a heart. John Boyega shows the character’s humanity. Raised to blindly follow orders, the blood of his first combat makes him crack. Boyega lets us see the remorse, and maybe a little cowardice. He comes to be called “Finn,” because the First Order gave him no actual name.

The guy who names him that is crack Resistance pilot Poe, cartoonishly played by the normally reliable Oscar Isaac (“Ex Machina,””Inside Llewyn Davis”). Poe is captured and tortured, making feeble wisecracks all the while. He must sense that a Storm Trooper will turn traitor (for the first time EVER) and help him escape.

But the moment Han Solo shows up, this becomes a Harrison Ford movie. Han’s a single-again grumpy old man a little flattered that Rey quotes his legend (“the Kessell run”) back to him, still bickering with Chewbacca, still reluctant to get involved until the chips are down. Even if Leia (Carrie Fisher) is the one asking for his help.

Ford’s easy comfort with a cheesy line has never faltered, and Abrams leaves the picture in his able hands for the middle acts.

The effects are sharper, 40 years more developed. Why does Abrams do so little to show them off? The chases, dogfights and set-piece battles are static and recycled. The Big Pause for a Big Death is just an eye-roller.

Even the aliens are oh-so-familiar, right down to Admiral “It’s a trap!” Ackbar.

The earliest reviews of this are all glowing, as indeed they were for this past summer’s “Jurassic Park” clone — “Jurassic World.” This will certainly make billions. “Brand” above all, right?

But “The Force Awakens” boils down to a couple of genuine lump-in-the-throat moments, and those are due to nostalgia. The rest? Seen it, done it, been there, and remember it — even though it was “a long time ago.”



(UPDATE — Now EVERYBODY realizes “Force Awakens” is a “glib facsimile” of “A New Hope.”

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sci-fi action violence

Cast: Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Jon Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Max Von Sydow
Credits: Directed by J.J. Abrams, script by Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt. ALucasfilm/Walt Disney release.

Running time: 2:15

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.

281 Responses to Movie Review: “Star Wars Redux” aka “The Force Awakens”

  1. Jack Slap says:

    I totally disagree with your review. Loved all the actors EXCEPT Boyega playing Finn. For a damn storm trooper he sure runs out of breath alot. Anyway its my favorite movie of the year. And I cant wait for the next ones in line. STAR WARS IS BACK!

  2. Jack Slap says:

    And some of these people posting are hilarious saying thank you for the courage of being honest! LOL. Why exactly cant regular folks and reviewers actually really like this movie? Its an opinion. The movie is terrific in mine and many reviewers OPINION REMEMBER.

    • Mike says:

      The movie, if separated from the series, is good. Yet, you can’t ignore the recycled material, because there are SIX other movies. There is almost nothing original in the whole movie.

      • Darth Dave says:

        Really if you think about it aren’t they ask just a recycle of the first movie with just a couple of new things, but to be truthful that’s what we all come to expect and see right.

      • dkjdkjkd says:

        No Dave, that’s not even a little bit true. Empire was nothing like New Hope, and Jedi was nothing like Empire. This was like the first movie retold for a new generation. Maybe they HAD to start it this way… the next should be more original, because all the familiar beats have been hit already. JJ has no CHOICE but to give us some new in Ep.8, and I’ve no doubt he will.

  3. Jerry Boyd says:

    I have a hunch that the Scavenger Chick is Luke’s daughter. That’s why she’s a “using the force” natural.

    • diggle. says:

      ….you think?


    • I thought that was STRONGLY hinted at when Rey is told that the lightsaber, which was calling to her, belonged to Anakin and then Luke. If she’s not related to Luke in some way then it’s due to a rewrite after someone decided it would be too cheesy if they were.

    • Lynnux says:

      Oh, you really think J.J. Abrams has been inspired in this case. No, Luke is a Jedi and he obeys the Jedi rules (no children). Rey is the younger sister of Kylo and has been hidden when Kylo went rogue.
      We had that already ? Oh, yes, then it fits.

      • SarWORSE says:

        Luke was hidden in a safe place with Obi-wan near him. Ray is abandoned. It’s a miracle she hasn’t died before the movie even started. And how exactly Han didn’t recognised his daughter .
        Jar Jar Abrams’s movie is a complete mess and I do not see how they are going to save it. Whatever they come up with the SW and its EU as we knew it is dead

  4. Buck the Knuckle says:

    Be honest, Mr. Moore: Was turning the expression “a glib facsimile” into a meme part of your plan?

  5. John says:

    I’m currently watching this and you read my mind to a borderline eerie level. As soon as I saw Harrison Ford on a respirator I walked out. Predictable, excruciatingly unoriginal, painstakingly contrived and frankly a complete bore. As soon as that wobbling storm trooper unmasked, I couldn’t help but feel like the Obama Administration was splicing in hidden messages. Thank you for not following your fellow lemmings off the cliff, as your review was the lone source of entertainment I’ve experienced tonight.

  6. It does feel like a push and pull here, the creatives maybe want something fresh, DIsney just wants something acceptable and safe, because what they really want is to sell toys and crappy merchandise like this stuff:

  7. Aelius T. says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what bothered me so much about this movie. All of the points on this page and in the review are valid, but there’s still something that was just so off-putting when I walked out of the theater. Everyone keeps saying “well, it didn’t have to be a GREAT movie, it just had to be a STAR WARS movie”. But was it even that? The thing that always drew me into Star Wars was how massive they could make the universe seem while only showing you a small piece of it. This movie… had none of that. Instantaneous travel to every solar system. Seemingly no sense of time passing. I suppose the other movies are guilty of that, but they still made me feel like I’d gone on a journey, at least. The planets this time around all just felt like one world. But that’s still not it; there’s still something just utterly wrong with this movie. Maybe it was that there was no mystery? Like, “Ooh, the Force” just got really worn out? By that I mean that not only did Finn and Rey accept the idea of Jedi so quickly, we don’t get to know their opinions on them. Nor are we presented with any picture of what the “Jedi” look like. It was just horribly, horribly underdeveloped. This is where I have to take a stand for the prequels: their value as movies aside, at least they strove to give us an image of ancient, once-powerful order of Jedi with a rich history and traditions all its own, just like the expanded universe did. Now we get some half-baked “New Order” (seriously… what the heck happened there?) that is NOT menacing, does NOT seem powerful, and is already seemingly outmatched in the first movie. And, I might add, by a “resistance” (how is this a resistance if the empire which the new order was created from was destroyed by that same resistance which is now in power?) that I really have been given no information about either. I kind of hate to think that there will be more movies after this. Star Wars is just too big for a film like this to try and do it justice. I really, really don’t want to sound like an expanded universe fanboy, but maybe I ought to just own up to it. There were so many revolutionary concepts, masterfully written narratives, and the SAME nostalgia that accompanied the movies! People act like this movie is somehow nostalgic! How, might I ask? I did not feel a single shred of nostalgia for this piece of eye-candy (to try and highlight this film’s would-be saving grace in place of an expletive); instead, I just watched a New Hope, except with characters that I was expected to care about when I was given no reason to. There were too many concepts that were delivered too quickly and not developed enough. If you’re given THREE movies to do this with, why not have Finn at least stay in and struggle with the New Order for at least HALF of the first movie?
    To wrap up, I’m disappointed. Maybe I’m just being too cynical. But it’s a movie’s job to entertain the viewer, and if I can’t just enjoy the gosh darn movie because the environment it’s set in hasn’t convinced me that I’m really there, I cannot call that movie entertaining. 2/5.

    • Rich Clark says:

      I think your points are completely valid. I walked away from the cinema feeling that something (many things) were just not right about that film. JJ Abrams is usually good a creating action. But story telling is a major weakness, even it would seem if he’s got an original Star Wars writer to assist him.

      But Disney don’t care about that. They just want the blockbuster to churn out millionsfor themselves.

    • Karl says:

      Totally agree with your analysis. A lame movie cobbled together from bits of its predecessors. Formularised, safe, unoriginal regurgitation. So disappointed in it and JJ Abrams handling of it … I expected better from him … Much better!

    • dark.wart says:

      my thoughts exactly!

  8. Lexar Flash says:

    The acting was cringe-worthy and the writing even worse. During certain action scenes, “the hand of fate” would play out and save a character, so predictable took out the suspense. Story had lots of loose strings and the pacing was off. Sorry if I offend anyone, its a bad movie.

    Let’s milk this SW IP, throw in some CGI, a cameo here or two, subtitles, boom, cash ching. Disney

  9. Amy says:

    It’s better than the prequels. It’s not as good as the original 3. That’s basically all that needs to be said. Maybe the next one will be better.

    • Dan says:

      I really don’t think it is better than the prequels. Maybe as a film it is better constructed, but with the countless plot holes and lack of any real Star Wars story development, it is just empty. The prequels, while problematic films, were rich and deep. They expand the universe and tell new stories.

      • Tony says:

        I agree with you Dan. I thought the prequels were better because it was fresh and new while the new was “A New Hope” 2.0. The prequels were harder to make because the story was already built and its harder to start from the very beginning vs extending something that was already there (Episode 4-6)

      • Iain says:


    • dkjdkjkd says:

      So you decided what needs to be said, eh?

  10. TheBigEasy says:

    My first memory of seeing a movie on the big screen is Star Wars: Episode IV (A New Hope). I was immediately captured by the story and have grown up watching the originals (including the Prequels) and reading just about every book in the expanded Star Wars universe. And that is the reason I have to give Disney and Abrams a big fat “F”. Had I read reviews telling me Disney/Abrams were going to toss out 20+ years of Star Wars expanded history and rewrite it, I would have saved my money. For those of us reading the expanded Star Wars books, we have grown to love (and sometimes hate) characters such as: Jacen Solo, Jaina Solo, Anakin Solo, Ben Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker, and others! Without giving away the plot, true Star Wars fans will immediately recognize that “Ben” is not Han Solo’s son but rather Luke Skywalker’s. As such, Kylo Ren is Disney’s replacement for Darth Caedus. These are only two examples…Disney/Abrams set up many more breaks from Star Wars expanded history.

    Other folks have opined that The Force Awakens copies the plot/story line of A New Hope…I strongly concur.

    In conclusion, I am saddened that Disney/Abrams chose to break away from a deep history of vetted characters. If you are new to Star Wars (or have not been following the expanded universe), you can probably forgive Disney/Abrams. Hardcore fans will find it much more difficult, if not impossible.

    • Al says:

      You’re wrong!!! Force Awakens is the greatest film ever made. Instead of doing the Expanded Universe, Disney are taking Star Wars into the 21st century with exciting new ideas like…. a Death Star

  11. All-American Voltron says:

    Rey. Really great actress, great charisma, I’m completely drawn in by her. However I have a major critcicism. How was she able to become a Jedi F’n master in the span of an afternoon? I get the raw Jedi instinct. Luke had it, Anakin had it, we’ve seen how it works. But it took Luke years and 3 films to finally get some real control over things. Even Anakin, the “chosen one” with more midichlorians than anyone in history still had no control until his late teens after training from Obiwan and Qui-Gonn. yet this girl, who knows nothing, in her very first show of the Force crushes Kylo Ren? I get that Kylo is “flawed” but this was ridiculous. Then in the forest, she kicks his ass again with a light saber in the first time she ever touched one? Aren’t heroes supposed to fail before they succeed? Rey kicked Kylo Ren’s ass 2 times in a row. Why would we want to see a rematch at this point? Kylo Ren has been presented as a threat to absolutely no one, and Rey has been presented as the Millenial Wet Dream–someone who can master in 5 minutes what her predecessors took years to even be average at 😉

    • Well, the jury’s out on whether she’s of Natalie Portman’s versatility. Kind of Keira-ish, no?

    • knight7565 says:

      Look, first of all Kylo was severely injured by the shot Chewie hit him with. Secondly, you can tell for the most part that he uses raw force while wielding a lightsaber and not much skill and finesse. Lastly it’s obvious that Rey is very force sensitive and strong, and if we go all the way back to a New Hope’s force teaching she obviously let the force flow within her and guide her actions. Let’s not forget too that she showed very good combat skill with her stick prior to that fight too. Let’s not knick pick so much and just enjoy the films.

      • Alexandre says:

        I thought the progression of Rey was absolutely ridiculous and ridiculed the order of Jedi. What is the point of training as a padawan as all the others did if she can just Jedi mind trick at a simple thought. Kylo Renn had training from Luke but was defeated far too easily. Kylo Renn is supposed to be one of the main villains and already looks like a wimp. Within a few minutes she became a Jedi master which Luke just about gained by Return of the Jedi. I thought the whole pace of the movie was off, like a new hope and empire strikes back in one movie and that Rey v Kylo scene typified it.

      • Hector says:

        Not even Anakin had a mastery of the Force at will. As pointed, it required training and masters for years to become decently proficient at it. Yet this Rey girl, at one thought (as in The Matrix) mastered advanced Jedi techniques such as mind tricks and proficient at lightsaber fight against a seasoned force user trained by Luke and Snoke?. That’s just extremely ridiculous and laughable. It throws all established canon about how the Force works down the toilet. And about Kylo being injured, didnt a seasoned Force user could overcome temporarily any physical limitation by using the Force, suchsd as Yoda did in ep 2 and 3?. TFA is not Star Wars, but another thing entirely. Is another canon, and alternate reality to what SW is. JJ, Kennedy and Kasdan failed miserably at this sad excuse for a movie!

      • Al says:

        Recall in Empire Strikes Back and elsewhere how Yoda talks about the dangers of taking the quick and easy path and the value of patience. Yet, now, all that is rendered utterly meaningless as it seems that in Abrams’ expanded universe someone who has only just become aware of their force sensitivity with no lighsaber training can basically wing it in a duel with someone with substantial, albeit imcomplete, training.

    • Aaron says:

      The only lightsaber training Luke had before his battle with Darth in New Hope was with a flying ball with little lasers shooting from it.

    • Aaron says:

      The only lightsaber training Luke had before his battle with Vadar in New Hope was with a flying ball with little lasers shooting from it.

      • Alexandre says:

        He lost. Kylo Renn has supposedly had training from Luke and got dispatched easily. The scene when she used a Jedi mind trick to manoeuvre the storm trooper was a better example but still.

      • Ed says:

        Aaron, your comment about Luke’s first lightsaber fight with Vader is incorrect. Luke’s first lightsaber fight occurs in The Empire Strikes Back….at the end of the movie after he’s spent time training with Yoda. At least he got some training….Rey was able to beat someone who has been training as a Jedi most likely from the time they were an infant, all in one afternoon. It’s just plain ridiculous, like the rest of the movie. All this hype and secrecy over a movie that’s an obvious plagiarism of New Hope but Episode IV did everything better.

      • Kevin says:

        Not true. He first fought Vader at the end of TESB. By that time he had spent years in between ANH and TESB learning the ways of the force on his own, as well as (and someone correct me if I’m wrong here) through Obi-Wan’s ghost. Then he spent a significant amount of time being trained by the greatest Jedi master in history. Despite all of that training he still got destroyed by Vader, losing a hand in the process. Rey’s development is completely nonsensical in the context of everything else we know about the Force.

    • Did you see her fight with Kylo Ren? They both looked like drunks swinging sticks. She was no jedi master.

      • Alexandre says:

        To be fair looking back on it now neither had great skill with a lightsaber. The main point was the acceleration of her skills with no guidance or training. Luke had training throughout the movies and within gaps.

    • helveticaDanger says:

      Well, if you watch them fight, neither are ‘masters’ — they’re both untrained and just kind of winging it. I’d argue that keeping Anakin and Obi-Wan’s kung-fu sorcery out of the fight was deliberate. Nobody’s doing backflips here, they’re just kind of hitting each other with electric sticks.

      It’s pretty well established throughout the film that Ren’s in training; his tantrums are a bit cheesy but I can look past that and understand that he’s just kind of an emo teen Jedi with a lot of potential that will no doubt be honed in the coming sequels. For all we know he’s never used his saber for anything other than cutting people (and consoles / relatives) down.

      I’ll concede that the fights are still a bit of a stretch, but it didn’t kill the film for me (read: it’s better than none at all, or a spar that truly showed how green they are). And it could be that Rey has far more mojo that Luke ever did, in which case her instincts with the saber are justified.

      And to be fair, Luke was kicking plenty of ass with his saber after just one (on screen) practice round.

  12. J says:

    Bitterly disappointed. Ford was awful. Fisher too. Story and coincidences idiotic. 30 years unexplained. ANOTHER Death Star? Another droid covering plans to stop the empire. Lame villain like sulky teenager. Not a patch on Vader. I could go on. Absolute trash.

  13. Ryan Fox says:

    The first teaser was Luke’s “the force is strong n my family” quote from ROTJ. They’re sticking with it. Yes it feels familiar, but in the way a loving goodbye and thank you to the OT should feel IMHO. They put a pin in the OT when Spoiler character does the Very Bad Thing on the bridge and now we’re free to watch the skywalker story roll out to its natural conclusion.

    Loved it.

  14. Van Roberts says:

    Roger, I LOVED you review! I think that I enjoyed it a mite more than you did (**1/2 OUT OF ****), but it was Star Wars all over again as you wrote. I am one of those itty bitty movie reviewers and I’ve been writing for fringe newspapers in my corner of Mississippi and Alabama for 20 years. You see movies come and go, and you see stars burst. I didn’t see the stars burst in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I has more time to plot my forthcoming review and I plan to read the Alan Dean Foster novelization. It was a lot of fun, especially the visuals, but the villains were a lackluster bunch and it wasn’t The Force wasn’t with this movie as much as The Formula. I cannot believe that many major critics are behaving like fanboys where this movie is concerned. I’d have to agree with the Variety reviewer that Abrams did a better job with Star Trek than he did with Star Wars. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to read your review. In a word: BRAVO! You are a credit to your profession!

    Van Roberts
    Associate Professor of Communication
    Columbus, Ms, 39701
    Mississippi University for Women

  15. Scheduling the share on this for Monday. I’ve promised my threads that I wouldn’t post spoilers until then, or otherwise ruin their buzz. Not only everything you’ve said here about the poor facsimile of ANH (and ESB), but also, to do it they collapsed all the original character arcs. They aren’t arcs anymore. They are loops. Han is always a rogue. Leia is always suffering stoically. Luke is always the whiny loner farmboy–I can’t get involved, I’ve got chores to do became I won’t get involved because my nephew bested me and obviously my existence is dangerous.
    I exited the theater of the original theater thinking I could do anything and it was worth it to strive, I walk out of this one thinking why bother? It’ll all go to crap anyway. Fate wins. You just hope you get lucky and get a good one.

    • All-American Voltron says:

      I didn’t have a problem with the characters themselves or their actions, but the basic plotline of this movie was near identical to IV. And to re-create that story, they’ve basically undone all the work that Luke, Anakin, and co. did in IV-VI, considering the Empire returned without any objections, is bigger and stronger than ever, and now they have to form a brand new rebellion to once again stop it. I don’t think its that difficult to create a “30 years later” storyline without repeating the first one. Shows a real lack of creativity on JJ’s part and maybe he should’ve peeked at Lucas’ notes after all.

      • Kevin says:

        Excellent points. What did they accomplish in Epsiodes IV-VI? Turns out, not a darn thing. Luke has become a Jedi. Han has gotten killed. But otherwise, nothing really has changed. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but it’s spot on. This movie destroys the relevance of everything that happened in the OT.

  16. Morgan says:

    You were too kind to this steaming pile. The few laughs were a lot less than the groans and eyes shut moments.

    This was the best script they could come up with?!! Mickey said ” slap some lickstick on this pig and get her out for Xmas!”

  17. Mike says:

    A review that captures my feeling of this movie exactly. Will be following your movie reviews and recommendations. Thank you.

  18. I think your points are all valid, but your verdict is a bit too harsh. Disney wanted to make sure that the original Star Wars was back and there was none of that Ep1-3 crap, and so they recycled Ep.4.

    I agree it’s a WTF moment when they announce yet another Death Star and all that follows.

    It is not an original story at all, and I am sure in the next episode the Empire will strike back. But they wanted to show that Star Wars is on the right track and there is hope that there will be a more interesting story in the coming films.

    There is enough good to enjoy: the diverse and exciting worlds, the weird and lively creatures, the many female characters that might add a different spin and so on.

    Maybe we should see Episode 7 as a reassuring prologue to a new start. As that I believe it worked quite well.

    • All-American Voltron says:

      I hated what a re-hash this was, but the optimist in me hopes this was just overcompensation to give “SW diehards what they want” by not risking a new plot that would be crapped on (Eps 1), and that Eps 8 will actually give us new story directions, and not merely a re-hash of Empire Strikes Back.

      • Iain says:

        Why would die hards want a rehash?

      • All-American Voltron says:

        @Iain: Because they don’t realize that it IS a rehash and have convinced themselves that an exact repeat of a storyline is merely “homage” or “nostalgia”.

    • Iain says:

      Disney wanted to make a ton of money that’s all. Why should we let it slide?

  19. Frederick says:

    I agree 100% with you on your honest report….I felt cheated. It felt like an episode 4 potato-mashed with a few new characters who needed more development. I don’t deny great production value, but someone forgot to produce script at the same standard.

    The directing is cringe worthy in some scenes, and feels laughable …eg the stare competition at the end. Hopefully, Jj Abram’s won’t get too complacent on the next one as he won’t have Harrison Ford to carry it.

  20. Mark Borok says:

    1) Dreadful pacing. Heavy scene follows heavy scene without a pause. Example: Rey tries to talk Finn out of leaving and, just a few seconds later, goes to investigate some noises and finds Luke’s lightsaber. Two intense scenes with no logical connection between them that just happen one after the other. 2) The dogfights and other action scenes are not nearly as exhilarating as in any of the other 6 movies. Give Lucas his due, he knew how to film a scene and make you feel it 3) no sense of epic destiny, tragedy, fates interconnected across the galaxy, at least until the very last scene 4) No explanation of what the heck is going on. When the first Death Star destroyed Alderaan we knew exactly what was being destroyed and why it was important. When the new one destroys an entire system, we have no idea who those people are. Same with the Max von Sydow character and the villagers who get massacred. 5) We have a Yoda-like character running something like a cross between the Mos Eisley Cantina and Jabba the Hutt’s Palace, only it’s located in some kind of temple in the middle of nowhere. Huh?

    • Alexandre says:

      This is exactly my thought. The pacing is off and it shows you how good the original three actually were. Also you were more immersed in the world with the original three, all the side things and happenings leading up to the main storyline.

  21. kaiiboraka says:

    I just don’t understand the complaint about “billions of people in this galaxy and everyone is related.”
    Well. You don’t complain about Harry Potter for having Harry, Ron, and Hermione every single time. It’s just who the story is about. The entire core, numbered, canon saga has been and will always be about the Skywalkers. Period. There’s an Expanded Universe for a reason. Even if most of what we had is now non-canon, that doesn’t mean more isn’t coming.

    Additionally, “been there done that” MIGHT apply with the amount of references and callbacks, but really? *gasp* It’s almost as if Star Wars is a classic tale based on tropes and real life patterns that have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years! Who’d have thought?? I didn’t think it possible!! /s

    • You’re misquoting me and missing the point. And making another. These “chosen one” fantasies are inherently anti-American. Meritocracy? No, the lightning bolt on your forehead, or who your parents were matters more. Veddy British. In the worst way.

    • Kevin says:

      I think his complaint is more along the lines of “years without the millenium falcon and Han Solo HAPPENS to pick it up on the very same day that two completely unrelated to the OT characters happen to be have used it to escape the First Order”. That has nothing to do with “who the story is about” as it relates to the larger character universe from the original trilogy. If Luke runs into Han as they’re interacting with the same circle of characters they always do (which would be the correct way to use the Harry Potter reference) then his complaint isn’t as strong. But here you’ve got a totally new set of characters doing things wholly unrelated to what the other characters are all doing from the get go, and yet they still manage to bumble into one another at exactly the right moments throughout the story.

      As for your “tropes and real life patterns” comment- I don’t think you know what tropes are. It is NOT the exact plot devices and character actions that tell a story. Rather, it is the underlying themes and metaphors that are universal in their core meaning. A trope would be “good battling overwhelming odds to come out victorious”. In Episode IV that would be the resistance battling a planet destroying weapon by attacking it with x-wings. In Episode VII it was the resistance battling a planet destroying weapon by attacking it with x-wings. That’s not a trope, that’s just lazy writing.

  22. Kiki says:

    Great review. It’s depressing to live in a cinema age where creative cowardice is so richly rewarded by most fans and critics.
    This wasn’t a movie, it was a slick cover band playing someone else’s greatest hits album at a corporate dinner party. It’s music for people who don’t like real music.

  23. Holly says:

    This movie was a horrible bore to sit through, you already pointed out the reasons. Can´t believe so many people are singing it´s praise. The magic just isn´t there.

  24. Ben says:

    This review captured what I felt. I didn’t have high expectations for this movie. I have to admit The opening title roll felt surreal that I was actually watching this film. But after the end of the first act, the movie quickly lost its intrigue and novelty. The audience pandering distracted me and made me feel as if they were insulting our emotional and mental intelligence by saying that the only thing we could accept is a rehash of a new hope. When did we accept story telling as being a prisoner to nostalgia as the determinant of good quality? Did we just start validating that families should just spend their weekly budgets on things that just allow them to escape from the woes of reality?

  25. Max_B says:

    I’ll book mark you for future reviews, as you have at least told it how it is, I don’t understand how this film has garnered such overwhelmingly glowing reviews from critics so quickly. I went to see a film that the trailers suggested was a development of the Star Wars story, but got a disappointingly poor rehash of the original movies.

  26. Do you have a list of Movies you like? I am truly interested because it seems to me, and I could be wrong, that you enjoy movies like Synecdoche, New York for its boldness but forgiving it painful stretched out plot – while at the same time criticizing Star Wars for being glib? Come on. I had a rare opportunity to introduce Star Wars: A New Hope to virgin eyes. A friend from Singapore. He is a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica as well as other Sci Fi staples and somehow missed the Star Wars series. He watched all 6 before this new movie came out last week. His least favorite was: A New Hope. It was too clowny for him. We remember A New Hope differently because we remember where we were and the time it came out, the emotions, the boundries it broke, the genres tied together/retold. Sometimes remakes are a good thing (epVII). Perhaps you can be a little more insightful than snoody in your reviews. I would never want to go to the movies with you, it would be a long ride home. Personally I can see a bad movie but still be entertained. You make many valid points (I especially agree with Kylo Ren not being bad enough but a Star Wars Villan we can feel empathy for? Perhaps.. and his tantrums did remind me of space balls, I think the point in a way) BUT let’s be honest, I don’t think as a movie critic you have to trash every movie you see. I have seen too many movies as I’m sure you have. I fear the day when I walk out of the theater of a movie of this caliber and all I have is anger/disappointment. Again you might just be trolling with bad reviews to get hits to your site, but at least have some honey for us flies! Put a link for your best reviewed movies. As a movie Critic 2.5/5 stars

  27. Erwin says:

    I am a huge Star Wars fan and i was looking for a review like this, can’t understand why it get’s 4 to 4.5 stars in most reviews, much better movies out there.
    Perhaps the action is a bit neglected in the review, after all it’s Star Wars, i am talking spacecraft, flightaction and the opening also did it for me, i even had to blink out two tears during the movie.
    But in all, the long wait, just left me a hanging.
    You’ll have to keep watching till the last second though to have a complete flashback.

  28. Joe says:

    This review is laughable. Not even well critiqued if you’re gonna go with a negative review. Critics always think being pretentious hipsters is cool. We get it, you don’t like what’s popular so you’re gonna compare it to an indie film. Weak sauce review from an even weaker reviewer.

  29. Jim says:

    Like most of those who bother to make comments or critiques, I’ve seen countless movies… With each one, I long to reignite the magic I felt when I was a kid only to be disappointed. It’s the curse of seeing so many movies. I haven’t been able to update my personal top 10 favorite movies in the last 20 years of offerings. The best I can hope for are moments of surprise, perhaps extended periods where I am engaged without regard to my life or surroundings. This movie had that for me, and I find myself wanting to watch it multiple times as a result. For that reason alone, I rank this higher than most I have seen in recent memory. Not a ringing endorsement but as much as you can expect from someone who was part of a fan base that was initiated to this universe as a CHILD. How can any new offering attempt to compete with that and those feelings of wonderment? An impossible task I tell you. I suspect all the negative passion you see voiced in critiques is rooted in the same frustrations… Many 40+ adults who can’t recapture what made them fall in love with movies…

  30. Zack says:

    Poor. That’s all I can say. Fair enough u want to bring in the younglings however, not so soon. I’ll admit I wanted to see the last flight of Han and the crew.
    When I walked out of the cinema after watching A New Hope, I wanted to be Han or Luke. We got to know the characters and we loved them. There no real connection with these ones. When obi wan dies in A New Hope I was sad. If any of the new character had died then I’d have felt no emotion. The death of Han was ridiculous anyway. The whole movie was setup for his death scene which was nothing more than a ripoff of the obi wan scene…and 90% of the rest of A New Hope anyway. Much as I wanted another star wars movie…in hindsight they should’ve left well alone!

  31. Lynnux says:

    It seems Roger was one of the few critics not bought by Disney or falling asleep when watching this movie.

  32. Andy says:

    I say we boycott all Disney products for making an unoriginal horrible movie out of one of the most expansive fictional universes we have. Teach them through our money that if they want cash they must give us something new and good, not Episode 7 A New New Hope. It supposed to be a sequel not a reboot continue the damn story.

    FYI Disney owns all these companies and intellectual property
    Anything with Disney in it

    I like the Marvel series even, but after that steaming pile of a Star Wars movie all I can do is remove as much control from whoever was in charge of letting that happen. Lets hurt their bottom line across the board and get some heads to roll. A couple million in lost sales and products sitting on shelves will make them respect our shared cultural heritage and not just cash in on a “safe bet”. This is one bet they should lose.

    Please tell your friends to avoid all Disney products until they understand their mistakes.
    Tell your kids they can have something else cool because they deserve their own Star Wars Trilogy not a remake of the original.

  33. Groucho says:

    Garbage – this film and its director needs to be tossed in the Trash Compactor.

    The Star Wars movie collection of future years will go:
    I, II, III, IV, V, VI, urrrggh-hurrggh (throat regurgitation sound), VIII, IX.

    JJA had Lost the plot a long time ago…

  34. arthas3 says:

    Good day, Mr. Roger Moore! (and anyone reading this comment, really…)
    I am but one of many fans of the Star Wars franchise (though definitely not a die hard fan) and I absolutely detested the prequels, almost as much as I loved the original trilogy. I am receiving this film with mixed feeling; I very much like how (in the words of another critic) there are “No Jar-Jar Binks, no political jargon, and no Yippeees!”, and I felt that the special effects were dazzling and not as emphasized as in the prequels (which in my book is a good thing), but I have to completely agree with your critique. The fairly shallow characters, the annoying coincidences, and the horrid, SHAMELESS, stealing of Episode IV’s plot are unforgivable! Some may say that the prequels were more emotional than Episode 7, but I would like to focus on the aforementioned issue: the fact that the plot was clearly unoriginal….this is the primary critique which I see in your review. I was wondering whether this was one of a few possibilities which I am about to present, or even something else which I have not mentioned (anyone, feel free to answer). 1) Could Abrams’ goal in playing it safe have been to show fans that he was doing something COMPLETELY different from the prequels? 2) Could Abrams’ have played it safe in order to get a big enough “base” for this new trilogy? 3) Could Disney possibly have forced Abrams to play it safe by ripping off the plot of IV, and Abrams had no choice in the matter? Of course, these are only some possibilities; I could not have covered everything in this “tiny” comment XD I am also not in any way defending the unoriginal plot presented, especially with all the holes evident in the story. Thank you for reading this (and hopefully responding!) as well as for your wonderful review which I think is a much necessary wake-up call to all those critics who have had their judgement clouded.

  35. Tony K. says:

    I’ve got to say after seeing this on Christmas Eve, I could not understand the hype around it. After many years of Abrams’s/Disney’s hushed secrecy, little info snippets, teasers and actor interviews, this is what we got.

    Say what anyone wants about the Prequels (I enjoyed them as much as the Originals), but at least George Lucas had an idea what he wanted to tell and went down a path fans didn’t approve and still bitch about to this day. With this new movie–like what a lot of people are saying–its nothing more than a compilation of “fan-approved” Star Wars greatest hits with a plethora of CGI action pieces thrown into the mix. The tragic thing? Everyone complains about Hollywood’s lack of risks and originality–always resorting to sequels and remakes–but when Lucas does something different (personal, maybe?) with his IP, he gets bashed for it for years. When a corporate remakes ‘A New Hope’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, it’s a contender for an Oscar and Star Wars was ‘saved’. What it’s saved from, I haven’t the slightest idea.

    Speaking of which, I’ve noticed there was a lot more CGI than there were practical effects. This is kind of humorous considering the interviews with the filmmakers mentioning the use of practical effects and saying Lawrence Kasdan was involved in writing the script, as though it’s an insurance to appease the fans.

    The one thing that really irks me is the fact the critics on the Rotten Tomatoes census (or anyone for that matter) who gave it a bad score are getting chewed out by rabid fans who think they know better, going so far to try and tear down anyone who points outs out a flaw on their revered product line.

    (For some fun, tally up the number of times they resort to ‘you don’t like fun’, ‘useless review’, ‘contrary’, ‘negative publicity’, or personal attacks.)

    Ultimately, if this movie was any other sci-fi flick, it would be alright… and just that. But, since it is a new Star Wars trilogy, it fails to stand in comparison to the Originals and Prequels. It’s just parroting what came before it.

  36. Hugar says:

    I went to see this movie with my father (for reference, I’m 25 years old dutchman and a fan of the original trilogy – english is not my main language). After the movie we agreed that it was a really bad movie, almost nonsensical at points.To my surprise it met critical acclaim and I wonder, did everyone watch the same movie as we did? What the hell is wrong with people?? Seriously I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone could give this movie such high praise…it was SO BAD!

    ofcourse there’s the rehashed plot which is very disappointing but there are so many other things wrong with it. It was painful to watch Harrison say forced lines such as “I like that”, “I like that guy”, “something trash compacter”. Or the nazi speech by the 25 year old guy including a hiter-esque salute, ITS SO CHEESY. I mean I know there was fascist symbolism in the old movies but come on, this is so unsubtle it breaks immersion. Or what about Han flying at lightspeed and stopping behind the shield of the ‘starkiller’….thats…..just stupidly implausible. Lightspeed is 300.000km/s so Han must have incredible timing or no thought has gone into this at all. Or what about Finn being conflicted a fellow storm trooper died, only to kill many of them at the hanger not much later and screaming OHHH YEAHHH DID YOU SEE THAT…wat…wat….wat….wat..Phasma deacivating the shield of an entire planet without a fight wat…kylo not using force powers against finn or rey? convenient rift between them shortly after…
    Nice visuals though! 10/10

    Theres alot more but im feeling sick just thinking about it so im gonna leave at it at that. Im done with star wars.

    ANYWAY I didnt mean to type all that I just wanted to say I respect that you are one of the few critics that is still a critic! thank you for your integrity

  37. Jason Cullen says:

    Took the words right out of my mouth mister Moore.

    I went in with admittedly low expectations because I knew I was walking into a Disney film. Somehow Abrams managed to fail to meet those by delivering “A New Hope” re-cast and with significantly less hope than the first time I saw this story when I was a child.

    Director dropped the ball…

  38. Tom says:

    Gave away the original 3 as I got older and become more able to recognise a truly great film ….. Watched this as it was a carry on , expected a masterpiece from JJ but got a reboot 2.0 . Any true star wars fan must surely feel conned after a 30 year wait for the next episode and receiving a same old same ol film with the need rely on past actors/actresses to compensate for the lack of any true new ideas .

  39. Tonya J says:

    It’s very safe to say that the only people who will truly enjoy, even love, this film are those who grew up with the first three, and maybe kids, who are not as judgmental as this reviewer. JJ Abrams has brought back the sense of wonder that Lucas somehow managed in the very first film (I try to forget the last three with Christensen even exist) and skillfully blended elements we loved from the first three; humor, fun, camaraderie, and an emotional sweep. The only validation I could eke out from reading the review was that Adam Driver is completely miscast. My jaw dropped at that reveal when I saw the film on Xmas Day. It doesn’t tank the movie but it is absolutely inexplicable to me. Shouldn’t the Solo son actually look like a blend of his parents instead of a foundling inexplicably dropped into the Solo’s nest? I don’t dislike Driver but his acting left something to be desired and when I should have yelled in pain for what he did to Han, I was only a little bit jolted, underwhelmed as I was by the telegraphing of what was about to happen. At any rate, these last three films will be a gift to a new generation, and for us who love them and were there from the start.

    • I could not disagree more. My experience of the conversation about the movie is that the haters are mostly from the First Gen. crowd. Who remember the wonder, and wonder how Abrams missed it.

  40. Brian says:

    I agree 100% with this review. The movie just seemed like a bad re-make of an awsome classic.

  41. Roger, I believe what someone takes out of a movie often depends on what one brings into it. And that’s never been more true than with this film. Indeed, many of my friends “liked” the movie on Facebook before even having seen it. So I’m not surprised that your negative review gained so much attention. I agree with many of your points. In fact, our reviews are remarkably similar. And though I gave the film a slight thumbs-up, I also think J.J. Abrams coasts on nostalgia here, with little attempt at originality or a sense of daring.

  42. Craig says:

    Just saw the film. Agree with the review and many of the comments here and would only add my own observation that the evil villain appeared to be a younger version of Severus Snape. I guess after getting his ass repeatedly kicked by noobs he decides to take up an easy teaching position at Hogwarts. Don’t blame him.

  43. Duane Deen says:

    Yes, bravo, I couldn’t believe how bad this movie was after all the glowing reviews. Nothing new here except bad acting, no plot, no characterization, horrible script. Oh, yes, every blew up really well. I got snookered by the good reviews even though I suspected it would just be a rehash of previous movies along with some old fart jokes. Actually it was worse than I thought it would be. I won’t be taken again, that’s for sure.

  44. Marcel says:

    I really didn’t like the movie. It was boring and especially poorly written. I am amazed that so many people liked it. I don’t feel special, but to like this movie? Is not about taste, it’s about common sense. I prefer to see Jar Jar biography directed by Lucas than this soulless crap JJ created. Next time I will wait than to give money to Disney and see really really sub-par movie. But the critics man, the critics, can not be trusted anymore … I mean they are payed off or something?

  45. Buddho says:

    Thank you.

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