It has always been my habit to watch a movie as two personas, the first, as a normal movie-goer who quietly enjoys the story, the second and rather annoyingly, as a self-appointed movie critic. Hence often, I am aware of the movie being a movie because the part of me who is the critic would not just stop noticing all the minor details and shut-up about them.
Technically, The Force Awakens is a commercially motivated refresher, as well as a mise en place – a retelling of a familiar and loveable storyline for the next generation who would have otherwise refused to enjoy the old original in its non-HD form, and a setting-up of the scene for the next Star Wars movies to follow.
In a nutshell, the first one is rightly about the characters and the history that shaped them. As for the things their history will drive them to do? That would be in the next instalment, where presumably the plot will become more important in the telling than the characters. A lot of effort I suspect, had been put into making this movie deceptively simplistic, effort-less through mimicry and just like an awakening, languorous.
As an aside, for those who have taken special notice of the fact that the lead is a woman, or that there is a budding inter-racial romance, then you’re missing the point. Surrounded by a Holocron of diverse aliens, these differences between one human and another become irrelevant and should pale in significance, remaining noticeable only for those who always have had those differences at the forefront of their minds.
I watched The Force Awakens as three – the movie-goer with no preconceived notions, the critic, and the fan who had ‘some’ expectations. Fair to say, the movie was a success with me for having been able to render the critic mute for the whole span of the movie.
The Force Awakens by the way, was originally titled, “Shadow of The Empire”.