It’s that time of year again when my overworked brother has a few days off and we can go to the movies without him missing his bedtime once a year. As in the last two years this slot was firmly occupied by the latest Star Wars outing and I suppose it will be like that for several years to come, considering they are firing one out annually. Before we go into details, the short version: Bad CGI, penis problems, Snoke being a total moron, some really cheesy humor, cute Porgs, Gareth Edwards cameo, lots of wasted potential, overall too long, plot holes as big as the galactic core. *booh* To clarify some of those things, let me explain.
Bad CGI. Yes, there was tons of it, most notably Supreme Leader Snoke, some really shoddy background creatures, those oversized horses in the casino section, lots of nagging details done wrong. Snoke was particularly disappointing and even his deformations couldn’t explain some “rubber face” effects. Similar things could be said about other creatures. Which only goes to show that motion capture is totally overrated, after all. It might work with the right people taking their time and adding the nuances manually, but when it’s overused and on a tight deadline it seems it fails every time. Other CG parts were okay, but naturally at this point you would expect that your mom could animate a spaceship in Paint 3D or her favorite iPhone app.
As terrible as some of the effects were, so was the writing. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I dare say that this movie won’t go down as one of the greatest in Star Wars history and be counted among the ranks of the prequels, just without their originality (they at least tried and failed, but this movie risks nothing). Most annoying was the out-of-place humor. It wasn’t particularly smart or witty and after a while you just knew when it would come, totally nixing its punch. Some of it was so groanworthy it was really hard not to booh at the screen. If I may be so bold: It’s like heterosexual people laughing about totally unfunny gay jokes. Yes, it really was that bad.
Other bad plot points include somehow everybody seemingly never even having heard of fundamental things like bombs only going hot after they are dropped or beam weapons most likely not losing much energy in space and thus being able to cover insane distances. Sure, I get it – they are plot devices, but it wouldn’t hurt if every now and then those writers applied some common sense. That also extends to Leia‘s “Mary Poppins in space” moment. Force or not, she would not only have been frozen, but her blood vessels and cells simply exploded. They could at least have made her robe float around. You know, weightlessness and all that good stuff…
I’m also going to spell it out: Clearly, the The First Order just like The Empire before it has some sort of penis problem where the size of their war machinery compensates for something. It’s getting ridiculous to see ever bigger ships pop up. That in itself wouldn’t even be that bad, but they are never even used to good effect. All we get to see is the same hangars and hallways that just could be on a regular Star Destroyer.
Conversely, those big guns begin to make less and less sense. Isn’t it convenient that the First Order just happened to have a ground-based version of their super laser that could smash that super heavy door at the rebels’ outpost? If they have something like that in episode IX, a unison facepalm slap noise and a deep sigh at the cinema seems a given. They really need to get away from that, especially since those biggies always seem to have a convenient weak spot. It makes them look like utter morons.
Speaking of morons – yes, Snoke. He’s just totally obnoxious. That scene where he kept blathering on about how he (fore-)sees everything. Oh my! See everything? Look up my ass, your supreme douchebagness! Too bad he probably isn’t dead, after all, and will annoy us further in future episodes. He could have been a great arch-villain, but then they ruined it with their poor writing. That goes for so many things in this film, I can’t count them all. from that I explicitly exempt the Porgs. Even though their funny interactions were just as predictable, they were simply too cute and adorable. I would totally adopt one of them. So yes, I’m in the pro-Porg camp.
Overall this movie felt way too overstuffed. It’s like they crammed in every actor they had at hand, be that just due to contractual obligations or Disney‘s interference. That whole segment with the casino was superfluous and Finn and Rose could have been left out of the movie entirely without any damage. They got caught in the end, regardless, didn’t they? There’s a lot of other things that fall into that category. It’s like they just didn’t know where to go with this and at times it feels like they have intercut scenes from three or four different scripts.
And there’s just too much “fan service”. Sure, even I would have loved to see my face on camera for 15 seconds in a Star Wars movie like that Gareth Edwards cameo and we all love Yoda, but honestly: Why not make a true fresh start? With two movies into the current trilogy it feels like all we have arrived at is this weird mix of rehashing the originals with some ideas from the prequels sprinkled in plus every comic, video game or other “tie in” causing open-ended storylines that of course only will be explained when you buy this stuff. If this goes on for too long, even the most ardent fan will get weary of it. It’s really beginning to feel like the commercial aspect of Star Wars, that of course has always been there already, has taken over completely.