Galaxy Quest

How into the whole Star Wars phenomenon are you? Are you a fanatic that can outline the entire Sith hierarchy and could draw a detailed family tree for every character that ever wandered into the cantina? If so, then you're probably doing cartwheels over the newest movies in the franchise. And indeed, Episode VII (The Force Awakens) a giant leap in quality from the godawful prequels of ten years ago.

For those of us who enjoy Star Wars on a more general level, The Force Awakens is a perfectly good flick, but not worth anywhere near the amount of critical hysteria it's generating. I'll avoid major spoilers in talking about it, but if you haven't seen it yet, you should probably skip the rest of this until you have.

The overarching plot of Episode VIII is essentially an exact repeat of Episode IV. The Empire (known as the First Order now) is trying to destroy the Rebel Alliance (known as the Resistance now). The leader, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), has telekinesis by using the dark side of the force, and plans to accomplish the attack on the Resistance with the use of a gigantic weapon capable of destroying entire planets, and that has a convenient weak spot that can bring down the whole operation. Sound familiar?

The Resistance forces get help in the form of a defecting Storm Trooper (John Boyega) and a desert scavenger (Daisy Ridley), who join up with some familiar faces to take down the First Order and restore peace to the galaxy.

Thing is, Episode IV was really good, so there's really nothing inherently wrong in trying to replicate the parts that made it successful, but with several 2015 improvements. The special effects are better. Women and minorities are represented better. Characters from the past are a welcome sight. From start to finish, The Force Awakens is an engaging sci-fi story with a cohesive plot and good acting.

That said, it seems like a large portion of its sterling reputation lies in the simple fact that it didn't shit the bed like the prequels did. It hangs together capably, and apparently, that's all people needed to start throwing their panties up on stage. It's a good movie, but there's nothing particularly interesting about the script. Very few of the plot beats are any different from Episode IV. One of the characters is an expert at absolutely everything she attempts, which seems a little...pandery? Just a little.

I'm not trying to come down on the movie too hard. Like I said, I really enjoyed it, and am already looking forward to the next one. By all means, general movie fans will find a lot to like about it, and if the hardcore fans are pleased, what more can we really ask for?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: B+


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