The Celebration of Mediocrity and Unoriginality in “STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS”




Look … I liked the new “STAR WARS” movie, “THE FORCE AWAKENS”.  I honestly do.  Heck, I feel it is better than J.J. Abrams’ two “STAR TREK” films.  But I am astounded that this film has garnered so much acclaim.  It has won the AFI Award for Best Picture.  It has been nominated by the Critics Choice Award for Best Picture.

“THE FORCE AWAKENS”???  Really?  It did not take long for certain fans to point out that the movie’s plot bore a strong resemblance to the first “STAR WARS” movie, “A NEW HOPE”.  In fact, I am beginning to suspect that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan had more or less plagiarized the 1977 film, along with aspects from other movies in the franchise.  Worse, it has some plot holes that Abrams has managed to ineffectively explain to the media.  In other words, his explanations seemed like shit in the wind and the plot holes remained obvious.

Then I found myself thinking about “THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.”, Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of the 1964-1968 television series.  I will not deny that the movie had some flaws.  Just about every movie I have seen throughout my life had some flaws.  But instead of attempting a carbon copy of the television series, Ritchie put his own, original spin of the show for his movie.  And personally, I had left the movie theater feeling impressed.  And entertained.  It is not that Ritchie had created a perfect movie.  But he did managed to create an original one, based upon an old source.  Now that was impressive.

But instead of having his movie appreciated, a good deal of the public stayed away in droves.  Warner Brothers barely publicized the film.  Worse, the studio released in August, the summer movie season’s graveyard.  And for those who did see the movie, the complained that it was not like the television show.  Ritchie had made changes for his film.  In other words, Ritchie was criticized for being original with a movie based upon an old television series.

This is incredibly pathetic.  One director is criticized giving an original spin to his movie adaptation.  Another director is hailed as the savior of a movie franchise for committing outright plagiarism.  This is what Western culture has devolved into, ladies and gentlemen.  We now live in a world in which the only movies that are box office hits are those that form part of a franchise.  We live in a society in which glossy and mediocre shows like “DOWNTON ABBEY” are celebrated.  We live in a world in which a crowd pleasing, yet standard movie biopic like “THE KING’S SPEECH”can receive more acclaim than an original film like “INCEPTION”.

In regard to culture or even pop culture, this society is rushing toward conformity, familiarity and mediocrity.  God help us.


3 Responses

  1. A bit harsh, but you have a point.

    One German newspaper had an article about the plot holes of TFA and complained that the Saga seems not to progress. At the same time, they implicitly dismissed the prequels (aka the 3 films that introduced new ideas & themes into the SW universe IMHO – and let’s not forget The Clone Wars).
    I am not saying that the writers of the article have to like the prequels or think of them as an artistic success. Still, they should at least have acknowledged what GL did (or tried to do) with the PT.

    • Apart from that, I would really like to read an honest “Behind the Scenes” of the production. How did GL’s story treatments look like (at least for TFA)? Who dismissed them? How did Arndt’s script look like? That’s still not clear. (I do not want to blame Abrams for dismissing the story treatments because he says that it was not him, and I think that he is “innocent until proven guilty.”)

  2. I am curious about why Lucas’ treatments were dismissed. I heard a rumor that he wanted at least two of his leading characters to be younger than the Finn and Rey characters, and that Disney did not want a repeat of the nine year-old Anakin from “THE PHANTOM MENACE”. Okay, I have no problems with that. However, I never had a problem with a nine year-old Anakin in the 1999 film.

    But honestly . . . to rehash “A New Hope” in that manner? I thought Abrams and Disney took sentimentality a bit too far. What is really disturbing is that many people had no problems with this lack of originality.

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