Nights In

Star wars: the force awakens – dissected

The film is definitely not the prequels of the late nineties and early noughties. So good so far, but don’t get cocky, kid. The storyline has done away with the politics and heavy plots of the galactic senate. 
 
The film brings balance to the adventure genre, which has been hit and miss throughout the years, and near the bottom rungs lies The Last Airbender (2010), directed by M. Night Shyamalan. 
 
The Last Airbender (2010) tells the story of the four elemental kingdoms in harmony, each complete with its own colour palette that Hero (2003) would be proud of. Two eskimos discover a hipster preteen sporting tattoos, in a big block of ice and set out on a quest of cultural appropriation, as the blaggard must learn to use various methods to enslave the elements to fulfil his own partisan needs, before sticking it to the man.
 
Despite that smarmy introduction, the characters deal with problems that could affect anyone, and the comic relief in more tense moments throughout the series are great. The film removes all of this and the lifeblood of the series was drained for a commercially successful, but ultimately unfulfilling take on a beloved cartoon series. With stilted dialogue, The Last Airbender reads like a bad fan fiction that falls as flat as the actors themselves.
 
The larger plot points of The Force Awakens will be kept a secret for any of you heathens who have not seen it. We do it because we care.
 
In a by gone era, where swords made of energy and personal space crafts were a thing that people had, an alliance was forged in the wake of intergalactic trade relations and dodgy CGI, to fight a cyborg man-child. There are Easter eggs littered throughout and if you haven’t seen the original trilogy or its prequel sequels, don’t worry, you’re more knowledgeable friend will surely point them out to you.
 
Or delight at the gasps of the Skellig Michael reverberating around Irish theatres, which is a good indication that Discover Ireland will soon be having a field day.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
 Star Wars is often about the journey and as far out and groovy as it sounds, man, the people that you share the quest with are just as important. The characters in the Force Awakens are vibrant and three dimensional. Rey is a survivor, abandoned for reasons unknown she awaits her families return on Jakku, and despite her abandonment she shows affection to other beings.
 
Finn is a former Stormtrooper who has misgivings about his motivations.
 
Finn is genuinely scared which is something I like, like Rey they both have to overcome their fears of the unknown. Characters that feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, not demi god’s whose plot armour is so thick they can defeat wave after wave of enemy and still keep their hair in place, resonate with people.  
 
Great relationships like the bromance between Poe Damaran and Finn, the holding out for the romance between Rey and Finn.
 
The Last Airbender lacks the touching relationship between Zuko and his uncle, Iroh.
 
The connection between Aang, Katara, and Sokka also lacks cohesion and humour. Kylo Ren, the proud owner of some sweet Vader merch and a busted up lightsabre, a whiny teenager whose personality is directly based on the hard core Star wars fans. Ren seeks to outdo his hero, Darth Vader.
 
In Vader’s shadow, a shadow complete with its own iconic soundtrack, is reminiscent of Zuko and the Fire lord Ozai, voiced by Mark Hamill of all people. Zuko and Ren have had to struggle to shape their identities, a universal relatability, as the massive boots they have to fill also develops an impatience with progress that makes them both so temperamental.
 
A merciful lack of CGI, which the Last Air Bender was in abundance of, although, in the later recirculation and anniversary additions may be full of newly created CGI renderings. The final fight scene is not ridiculous in the Force Awakens and it feels like it is not choreographed in parts, which is a good thing as the opponents are not at their very best. On the other hand, the fights in The Last Air benders are reminiscent of wire-fu, the awful kind and badly choreographed dance sequences.
 
The controversies of casting in the Last Air bender are numerous. The main characters are generic white saviours and the bad guys still come from nations inspired by Asian cultures. Not only are their origins incorrect but the actors could not pronounce many of the characters names.
 
The role of Katara was given to a girl that was the father of a rich friend of M. Night Shyamalan’s.
 
M Knight Shyamalan’s soulless mess, yet another uninspired take on a beloved cartoon is closer to the Star Wars prequels that fans love to hate. Then there is the ultimate Shyamalan plot twist, there isn’t one. Or perhaps, the sequel in the works is a gut wrenching turn in its own right. 
 
That is the great thing about Star Wars films, they are at their core, adventure stories. An intergalactic fairy tale like the tales of yore. Of the knight defeating the dragon and rescuing the princess, stories that are in the vein of our worldview when we were children. Of cowboys in black hats and white hates, good versus evil.
 
If you are stranded on a desert planet, or simply on your way to Toshi station to pick up some power convertors hoping then head to the pictures to see it before it’s too late. And 3D? You don’t need it, one too many dimensions to begin with.  Search your feeling, you know it to be true.