Sunday, 24 January 2016

Review: Star Wars - The Force Awakens (eighth-pass / SPOILERS)

World of Blackout Film Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (D-Box 3D) Poster

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (eighth-pass / D-Box 3D / SPOILERS)
Cert: 12A / 135 mins / Dir. J.J.Abrams / Trailer

Previous reviews:
• First-pass (spoiler-free)
• Second-pass (spoiler-free)
• Third-pass (thematic-spoilers)
• Fourth-pass (plot-spoilers)
• Fifth-pass (plot-spoilers)
• Sixth-pass (plot-spoilers)
• Seventh-pass (spoiler-free)

The film which keeps on giving, here are some Dark-Side-oriented observations after watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the eighth time…

• Hologram technology seems to have improved exponentially over the thirty-or-so years since RotJ, doesn't it? Not only does the Supreme Leader Snoke transmission look far better than anything we've seen before in the GFFA, but in his first scene talking to Kylo Ren and General Hux, this construction of projected light actually casts a shadow on the floor in front of it. And we know it's the holo doing this because the shadow is moving with the same general motions of Snoke. It's like the Return of the Jedi lightsaber-blades creating shadows on the throne-room floor, all over again ;)

• Despite my earlier grumbles, I see now that Kylo Ren isn't trying to kill Finn in their woodland lightsaber duel, he's just toying with him out of sadistic/petulant pleasure. I understand that he has another agenda with Rey, meaning that he's also not trying to destroy her just yet, but I'm still amazed that a warrior as volatile and undisciplined as Ren can hold himself back when presented with such an easy target (and a target who's been a significant thorn in his side over the course of the movie).

• Seriously though, when Snoke tells Hux to return to him with Kylo Ren, how can he possibly locate and retrieve him before the planet implodes? I know the film's climactic scenes aren't in documentary real-time, but the order in which they're shown doesn't give Hux much of a window to pick up The King of Sulking, let alone locate him in an unlit forest. Has Snoke had Kylo microchipped, like you would with a house-cat that you can't trust to find its way around outside?

• So, Starkiller Base collapses in on itself and then goes pop, and the implication is that Hux did indeed manage to pick up his left-luggage before he made it offworld. What does this mean for Kylo Ren? His treasured Endor-bonfire souvenir was located on the Star Destroyer Finalizer, so that should be safe at least, but the Sith-ashes which Ren used to keep his own hat in (and indeed that hat) were both on the planet when it blew (in the room where Rey was interrogated). In the real-world, a new mask will obviously be the perfect marketing tie-in for Episode VIII, but in the GFFA, what mystical totem will the Solo offspring use to channel his dark energy now? Will this up the ante for Vader's fire-sale helmet?

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

In other news, this viewing of my new favourite film was in Cineworld Greenwich's D-Box screen. Short description: the film has accompanying seat movements, similar to the ones you get in those flight-simulator rides. It's a total gimmick of course, but a one which is perfect for a Star Wars movie. You're already at the cinema to see two hours of overblown spectacle, what's a little extra fizz in the soda?

The pitch-and-roll movements sway the viewer's individual seat with camera-pans and aerial-flight scenes, while the rumble-pads are used to varying degrees of intensity to simulate everything from Force-powers, to blasters, lightsabers and of course explosions. With a movie like The Force Awakens, this means the seat is rarely idle for longer than about thirty seconds. There are four selectable levels of interaction (plus an 'off' setting, for those who find it too distracting after all) to suit how shaken you'd like to be. If the inflated ticket price*1 of these features is making you think twice, you can at least be assured that the D-Box track for TFA provides excellent value for money.

While the system obviously won't be for everyone, the D-Box enhancements certainly have more to offer the film than the IMAX adaptation I saw earlier in the day, which in turn (even though I moaned about that) was superior to the Superscreen viewing.

I'd originally planned to give the 4DX version of the movie a whirl, too, until it occurred to me that a flash of the house-lights every time there's an explosion would be intolerable in a Star Wars film. Although if you have seen The Force Awakens in 4DX, I'd genuinely love to know how well it's been adapted, so feel free to spill about your experience in that box below. As memory serves, the only part of 4DX I really enjoyed was the seat-motion, and I got that with D-Box anyway...

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
...that Star Wars.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Yes, but hurry.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It does.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Oh, probably.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Oh, definitely.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 0: It's Star Wars.

Although also, Star Wars: The Force Awakens stars Peter Mayhew, who put in an appearance in Comic Book: The Movie along with James Arnold Taylor, who voices Yondu in the animated series of Guardians Of The Galaxy, a show which also utilises Tom Kenny, who performed vocal work for 2006's Happily N'Ever After, as did Sarah Michelle Gellar, who starred in an episode of 1980s TV historical-action series William Tell, which also employed David Prowse, who had a small role in 1977's Jabberwocky, which also featured Kenneth Colley, who guest-starred in an episode of the 1978 TV series Hazell, as did Peter Mayhew, who stars in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
You don't have to 'present' me with a trophy for these, just leave it on the side, and we'll say no more about it.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Or uplift-fee, if you're an Unlimited customer.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

1 comment:

  1. In the alan dean foster book, and the audio version of that book, it states that Kylo Ren has a kind of tracking device on him, which allows Hux to find him and carry him aboard his command shuttle. This is not explained in the movie, along with a few other minor details:

    C3P0 has an idea to put out a general alert to all droids in the resistance network to be on the look out for BB-8. This is how the droid in Maz's bar knows to contact the resistance.

    Poe Dameron wakes up on Jakku and manages to bum a lift of a local; They are pursued by a gang of scavengers who want the local's speeder bike.

    At starkiller base, Rey and Finn steal a snow speeder and are chased by snowtroopers. When they arrive at the big room where Han confronts Ren, you can see their stolen speeder parked outside the building as they start climbing up the ladder.

    There are lots of other little details that were omitted from the final film. I dont know if scenes were filmed and cut, or cut from the script.