Monday, January 4, 2016

The Farce Awakens - Spoilerpalooza

I tried not to write this review, but there isn't enough Zofran in the world to contain the nausea this disasterpiece engenders.

1) I can be as geeky as the next ubergeeky person over the Star Wars franchise given sufficient provocation; at the tender age of (mumblemumble) I stood with my baby brother in a line that stretched around the entire theatre and down the block to see it when it opened, at the then-unheard of luxurious two-screen movie theatre in the 'burbs of Los Angeles. (It's a Crate & Barrel now). I probably saw it five times that spring/summer alone. It was pure unequalled iconic big-screen magic. I had the soundtrack album. Blah blah blah. My geek flag is at full mast, and my bona fides secure.
2) They had TEN EFFING YEARS to write and make this sequel; they had ONE job...
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I feel something terrible has happened. 
My Review: It's an irredeemable piece of shit.
Pray, let me elucidate.

It has ample effects, two generations more advanced that the humble matte painting and rotoscoping of the original in 1977.
It is digitized and sound-rich beyond even George Lucas THX-fueled imagination.

But that's icing. And not nearly enough to save this mega-whale of craptacity, this hippopotamus of horseshit, this sub-continent of putrescence.

Because the original was a scrappy indie-feeling movie of gifted nobodies and solid professionals that captured lightning in a bottle, where story, craft, music, effects, locations, dialogue, and the Campbell-esque Journey Of The Hero combined to give the entire world a brand new widescreen epic story we'd known all our lives.

This outing looks like a herd of buffalo ate the original film, shat it out their ample haunches, trampled and pissed upon it, and then J.J. Abrams scraped it together and spliced it into something so horrible, the like hasn't been seen since, oops, actually since Star Trek: Into Dorkness circled the bowl a couple of short years ago.

This movie didn't pay homage to the original Star Wars, it aped it, except badly, classlessly, and with less talent everywhere on the call sheet.

We open with a silhouette of a giant Imperial cruiser swooping down on a helpless desert planet. (Those of you who remember the first Star Wars before they started numbering the crawls, stop me if you've seen this somewhere before...)
Then, we have the epitome of evil evilly slaughtering innocents in an epic evil mismatch. (Again, stop me if you've seen this somewhere before.)
Then Ultimate Evil Bad Guy storms onto the scene, looking for a droid carrying the Empire's secret plans for an All New, Even Bigger Death Star being smuggled to the rebellion.
(Stop me if you've seen this somewhere before.)
Then His Cosmic Badness throttles some petty redshirt bit player, and takes a captive aboard his ship to question. (I'll simply abbreviate this to "SMIYSTSB..." from here on out.)
Then we cut to said droid bopping along alone on said desert planet. SMIYSTSB.
It happenstantially blunders into a plucky but Force-strong bumpkin on said desert planet. SMIYSTSB.
Then, in a blinding leap to a new idea Denzel Washington Will Smith Chris Rock Martin Lawrence (oops, forgot Billie Dee Williams) Sumdoodyou'veneverfrickingheardofbefore decides to bail out of Whitey's Gestapo, because puppies, unicorns, and reasons, because ticking off plot points, and as luck would have it, needs the greatest starship pilot evah to escape the Imperial clutches. SMIYSTSB.
And then tens of thousands of trained troops armed to the teeth, and a starship the size of Florida are no match for their plucky escape from His Evil Badness. SMIYSTSB.
And they escape to the desert planet. While His Evil Badness vows to swoop down and reclaim his prey, and save the Empire from rebel scum. SMIYSTSB.
After bowing to Big Giant Head, deformed with the scars that only come from being the Evil Genius of the Dark Side. SMIYSTSB.

I could go on, endlessly (like the movie) stumbling from every exact scene stolen from the first three movies, and every script idea and plot point from the first three movies, and all done with less panache, originality, or necessity than the first three movies, but - exactly like this movie - to what end?

Then, inevitably, there are the gazillion "Everything Wrong With This Movie" stumbles, bumbles, and outright fuckups.

1) WTF? Doesn't anybody in the Empire First Order have a copy of where Darth and Palpatine went off the rails on a shelf somewhere?
2) The whole thing that made Darth Evil Incarnate was the black skull mask, which he only pulled off five seconds before he died, after a lead-in of THREE FUCKING MOVIES. This guy can't last 2 hours before whipping his off. Imagine seeing the entire shark in Jaws in every scene for an hour, rather than halfway through the movie. Or giving Anthony Perkins away in the opening shot of Psycho. Blistering fuck, someone send J.J. a screenwriting book or something.
3) While we're at it, the original took the imposing size of Anthony Prowse and the Ultimate Voice Of All Time to personify Vader. The guy in this flick looks like someone so goofy looking and unimposingly dorkish that Peter Jackson couldn't even find a part for him in Lord Of The Rings or The Hobbit. But if Andy Sirkis and Jerry Seinfeld ever had a gay test tube love child, this guy is it. Like the PC ersatz Blofeld in the last retchworthy Bond flick, this guy is out-eviled in the looks department by Mini-Me.
4) Luke and Leia wiped out the Emperor, reclaimed Darth, and wiped the Empire off the map. So WTF is it doing back, bigger and badder than ever?
5) HTF does Junior Vader have the ability to stop blaster energy bolts in midair and suspend people in the air with a wave of his Sith hand? Even Palpatine couldn't do that shit, and Vader had to resort to physically cracking necks from time to time. The only explanation that works is that the new Sith are 'roided up on synthetic mitichlorions or something.
6) It took Luke three movies, and training by Obi Wan and Yoda to become a full Jedi, but Plucky Orphan Chick can pull that shit off in less than half a movie? Calling BS there too.
7) The Empire stand-in just happens to build a convenient weak point into the New Mega-Death Ball? SMIYSTSB
That requires  ships to fly into it and blow up the core? SMIYSTSB
While a small rebel force infiltrates the shield generator on the surface? SMIYSTSB
Fuck me for noticing, but the only way to telegraph this from farther back than 1977 would have been if the entire crew of the damned thing was made up of Oompa Loompahs.
8) Seeing Karen Allen in the last Indiana Jones And The Temple Of What The Fuck is enough to make any male fan of the original movie turn gay, after one look at her in her senior-citizen prime. Merciful heavens, she was cute enough in the original movie, and Animal House, and Starman, to never ruin that by showing her to us trying to be an ingénue in Depends.
So what effing genius thought torturing Carrie Fisher into dropping 30 pounds just to drag her ancient ass onto the screen in this one was worth the effort?? I almost barfed out an entire bag of pocorn with that reveal in this flick. I remember where I saw Fisher looking like this: she was one of the mummies in the first Indiana Jones.
Shades of Cryptkeeper.
9) Harrison Ford clearly paid big bucks to get shanked like such a bitch in this flick. We haven't seen this monumental a betrayal of a character since Samuel Jackson took it in the pants in the prequels. But to get him out of any more of these outings, it was either this, or like Alec Guiness and Denholm Eliot, actually die to avoid the sequels.
Even at 70, Han still would've shot first, you effing pussy screenwriting wannabes.
Where is the real Captain Solo, and what have they done with him?

I'll stop there, with the prediction that the YouTube version of Everything Wrong With The Force Awakens In Five Minutes will be retitled Everything Wrong With The Force Awakens In One Hundred Thirty Six Minutes, and simply provide a link to the complete film online.

Abrams proved, with the reboot of Star Trek, that he could pull this kind of thing off, with a little magic, and a whole lot of lens flare.
With Star Trek: Into Dorkness and this festering pile of hog dung, he also proved that was a one-time fluke. There is no cinematic immunity for this level of crimes against humanity.
(And I'm 98% certain at this point that J.J. stands for Jar Jar.)

Please, someone, yank this franchise away from him, before he Sam Mendes' in his pants, and all over the entire franchise, and pay any price, bear any burden, to get the only guy in Hollywood to master sequels well enough to ace three tentpole franchise movies in a row: Peter Jackson. (Something that even Coppola couldn't do with Godfather movies.)

Or go get Joss Wheedon to do it, since we're never going to get anything more of Firefly out of him, and cross the streams of geekness between Browncoats and Star Wars groupies (like they aren't mostly the exact same people anyway). Hell, let him have fun with it: Mal, Zoe, Wash, Jayne, Kaylee, and the gang couldn't possibly have made any bigger hash of things than this POS did. And Ron Glass would make one hell of an updated Jedi Master.

The worst thing is that if you've never seen the earlier movies, you can't watch this movie.
And if you have seen the earlier movies, you can't watch this movie. Without screaming.

But now that they've made their pile off of us hopelessly gullibly optimistic fans, if you haven't seen it yet, don't. Proving that Disney's check for $6 B-b-b-b-billion has cleared, even Himself, George Lucas, creator of the whole shebang, and who knows raping his own franchise when he does it himself sees it, has called this thing out for the monumental douchiness it brings to life in living color. When Shakespeare tells you that your version of Hamlet sucks, it sucks.

There is one bright silver lining in this entire fiasco:
Seth Green and the wonderful folks at Robot Chicken will be able to make a living ripping the guts out of this one in Claymation genius for decades, just off this one atrocious misadventure.
Given the comedy gold of their prior work, that is no small consolation.

Like many of you, I'll still hope they somehow pull their heads out for the last two, but after seeing this one, I will hope that with about as much likelihood as I have of ever having James Cameron feature Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn awake from the hypersleep of Aliens, and say "Damn, I had the worst nightmares...!" and then pretend everything cinematically before then never happened.

Which was how I felt after I walked out of the theatre for this one.


Irish said...

Well now, that was much better than Robert Ebert would have done.

They lost me after the first 3 movies.

Quail said...

Epic rant. I felt the same. Thanks for the laughs!

Wendell Adams said...

I totally agree. It was a piece of steaming wampa crap

ASM826 said...

Oof. Tell us how you really feel.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review!!

You'll be happy to note that J.J. isn't directing the next one, it'll be Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed Looper and is writing and directing episode VIII. What surprises me is that Lawrence Kasdan wrote The Force Awakens.. he also wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well the original Raiders of the Lost Ark. So he's GOOD at original ideas and tossed in some stuff that can be played with in the next parts of the trilogy. I think this was an attempt at a "reboot' like J.J. did with Star Trek, while also scooping up all of the older fans like us with the original cast members. I'm waiting to see what they do with the rest of it.. lots of unanswered questions, mostly about Rey. So I disagree, but enjoyed your review a lot .. the way you do not mince words is refreshing as hell, always!

Hllbillygirl G said...

Brilliant, as usual!

Anonymous said...

Either way, *WHENEVER* they do make the LAST episode, I am hoping that the end has some kind of lead off, saying, well, this is the end... one hope for the future of humanity will be to send colonists to an isolated planet in a galaxy far far away, like oh i dunno, this one that looks like a milky way galaxy... and a sudden thought... realistically speaking, all of the planets must be the same size as all the others, or else the effects of gravity would be different if the different planets were of significantly different size...