Why the new Star Wars episode sucks and how badly it does has been told already by many. So why should I feel the need to add my personal comment ? Well, it's because I took it as a personal assault, an assault against the boy in me who saw episode IV at 6, all in thrill and wonder, and who might not survive his watching episode VII yesterday.
It all began in a Starbucks. You might wonder why the hell I erred in a Starbucks while there are so many nice cafés here in Paris, it's even worldwide known for that. Well it turned out it was the only place where I could sit down in the theatre whereabouts, and I was in a bit of a hurry. I ate there a duck club sandwich with chutney which had the taste of nothing. I do not claim it had no taste, it did, but it was the taste of nothing in particular : I could not have defined what I was eating. I wish I had known this sandwhich was an omen of the things to come...
The movie fails on so many fronts that JJ Abrams - or Jar Jar Abrams as the fans begin to call him - should feel ashamed for the rest of his life. Where to begin ?
The characters : there are like the content of my sandwhich, I don't even know how to define them. I did not expect a Shakespeare play, but at least I should be able to describe them. Take Luke from the original trilogy. You could say he's young, naive, idealistic, brave. I could do the same for Han or Leia : some adjective naturally come to mind when we think about them. But here what do we have ? A random girl with a lightsaber, a random stormtrooper who turns over to the rebellion (forgive me : the resistance) for no particular reason. It says a lot that I can't even remember their names ! The villain is even worse (I can't remember his name either) : while Darth Vader was impressive, here we must content ourselves with a pathetic teenager. While I am at it, there is a name I do remember : Snoke. Sadly he's not a pet or a droid but the uber-villain which replaces Palpatine. Come on. Snoke ?
A movie with main characters so shallow is in bad shape, but could be saved by a brillant cast and a very good script. Do I need to say we have neither ? Only Harrison Ford manages to save something of this wreck, at times. The only magical moment of this movie is when Han Solo, his head inside the star map, tells the young heroes that the events of the original trilogy were real. As if to tell us that they are gone, and will never come back.
The story then ? It saddens me to have to talk about it so I'll make it quick : take episode IV and V, eat them, throw them up, and this is it. Somehow, Abrams got confused about the meanings of "sequel" and "remake". But what I hate most about the "story" is that it pretends episode VI never existed. Episode n+1 has to take the threads left in episode n and knit them onto something new. But not there. Why ? Dunno. Probably Abrams said "screw that, I like Empire vs Rebellion so let's make it First Order vs Resistance and be done with it".
Anyway, incoherences and lack of explanations are beyond count. What's-his-name teenage bad guy makes some impression on his first appearance : he stops a laser beam in flight by the strength of his will, a feat even Vader never accomplished. But at the end of the movie he has his ass kicked by Random Girl who was never trained as a Jedi ! Even Random Stromtrooper, who wields a lightsaber for the first time of his life is a challenge to him ! The scene is so silly I wished I could have helped the writers. Maybe Bad Guy is just playing with them : he would just have to say "guys you amuse me, I will play a bit before killing you", but no, he's just so weak he's having trouble dealing with a stormtrooper and a Jedi newbie. And he says nothing, besides. It's a mute combat. Like in episode I, some would say, but at least in episode I it was beautifully choregraphied and had an awesome music, here you have none of either. I wished with all my heart that Luke could somehow help Random Girl from afar, by telepathy or something - she had visions when touching his lightsaber, so why not - but no : in the end she just remembers : hey I've got to use the Force, stupid me. And in two swift strokes the bad guy is on his ass. Laughable.
On the brighter side, the music, which is so important in Star Wars, is just average, and the special effects are good, not too CGI-laden.
So Mickey the evil mouse had my money, but it won't have it again. I certainly won't see this thing a second time, nor buy the DVD or anything related to this movie. The last tiny hope one can cling to is that whoever writes the next installment does with episode VII what Abrams did with the 6th, pretend it never existed.