30 December 2015

The Force Awakens (spoilers in article)

I wanted to like the new Star Wars movie, and I did, more or less. I enjoyed the experience, as a space romp with some elements of nostalgia. I did, however, feel like it was more or less a remake of the 1977 original, but without the novelty. The space graphics were good, but actually, far from the best I've ever seen. (For many, this is trivial, but for some of us space realism is vital). For example, I don't know if it was deliberate, but the starfields were actually terrible; almost exactly like those in the original. Real starfields, even "naked eye", have stars of varying brightness, a clearly delineated galactic plane, voids where there are few stars, here and there very bright stars, maybe some nebulosity visible as faint fuzziness; and a "milky" appearance where the more distant galaxy's billions of stars fail to resolve as points of light. The star fields in this movie were pretty much just randomly distributed points of equal brightness. You would never see that in reality, and it's boring. OK, technicality, but it's a symptom. The whole movie felt just a bit formulaic, contrived, not really engaging on a human-story level. I keep thinking "jejune." Afraid the word fits, if perhaps a little harsh.

I have to pretty much agree with this commentary, by Michael Hiltzik, from the LA Times Business section (after all, movies are business here in LA). It's not so much a movie as a giant commercial for the whole Disney Star Wars commercial enterprise.


♦ David Studhalter

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