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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
J.J. Abrams ABD, 2015
Like J. J. Abrams’s Star Trek reboots, his new Star Wars seems crowdsourced and easy to forget, an app you just closed. Kylo Ren’s mask sticks in my mind because he doesn’t need it and wears it anyway. He’s not a disfigured monster like Darth Vader, he’s handsome Adam Driver dressing up as grandpa on Halloween, preprogrammed for redemption. He’s not evil, he’s just young.
February 25, 2016
Bütün yazıyı oku
What can you say about a movie that was discussed to death months in advance of its release date? How about this: it’s weighed down by the unwieldy structure of a new piece designed to fit into a preexisting whole. For roughly the first third of its run time, it’s a nifty space chase carried by fresh faces. As soon as they run into Han Solo, though, the plot starts acting as if it has obligations to meet.
January 12, 2016
Bütün yazıyı oku
It’s tighter than it has been given credit for. The problem — the problem that most reviewers have had with it, the problem that its defenders have had to shunt aside — is that the resonances with earlier versions are far too strong. These are not nifty callbacks for dedicated fans or the marks of a well-told tale. This movie is, in more ways than it should be, assembled out of the pieces and parts of the earlier ones, especially the first one, the one now called Episode IV: A New Hope.
January 07, 2016
Bütün yazıyı oku
No filmmaker but J.J. Abrams could have made this seventh episode of STAR WARS, a film of lofty ease and mischievous fluidity. Although released in a commercial context verging on the grotesque, the ‘most awaited blockbuster in the history of cinema’ has the merit of immediately going back to the essential. It is a space opera of such purity of writing that it is somehow comparable to the simple, elementary cocoon of childhood once evoked by George Lucas in his original saga.
January 04, 2016
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For my first watch, on opening night amongst a boisterous crowd in Brooklyn, almost everything came off as calculated, corporately determined. A second viewing a week later, among a muted Christmas Eve crowd in suburban New Jersey, went much better. Such that those three last lines resonated beyond the borders of the “Star Wars Universe”—a considerable feat in light of the craft and effort put into establishing a brand-managed echo chamber.
December 29, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
What can I say? Only this. The Force Awakens is here (a week later than in most of the world), it’s really good and – for better or worse – it’s Star Wars. Never mind the hype: if the previous films didn’t do it for you, this one won’t either. On the other hand, even non-fans must admit that it moves well for such a long movie, and the acting and dialogue are snappier than they’ve been in years – certainly snappier than in Parts I-III, the much-derided trilogy made in the early 00s.
December 28, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
The lack of exposition is a welcome change from the norm, and a great way to cede every possible second of screen time to the new, vibrant cast… Things start to fall apart once the action picks up, at which point the film shifts away from development to a series of carefully timed reveals of old characters and objects that each receive an extended pause of dead air, as if Abrams programmed in applause breaks worthy of Kramer sliding through Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment door.
December 21, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
The closeness with which The Force Awakens follows the template of A New Hope can be explained away as less a failure of nerve than a structural illustration of the basic premise of the Star Wars universe… The déjà vu of Abrams’s film suits a universe wherein Jedi and the Dark Side are locked in continual and eternal combat, a perpetual Star Wars for perpetual Star Peace.
December 18, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
It takes a very smart storyteller to come up with the very simple idea that makes this movie work so well. J.J. Abrams understood the only way to unfuck the franchise—or the myth, if you really believe it’s a myth—was to go back to First Principles. So he remade Star Wars, or, A New Hope if you’re like that. And did a damn good job of it.
December 18, 2015
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…As with so much about this enjoyable, fast-paced, incomplete movie, it’s a dynamic that’s set up but left unresolved.
December 18, 2015
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The movie can’t sustain its playfulness—or its tension, either. Abrams is too busy trying to roll the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back into one two-hour-and-15-minute movie. He combines the world building (and world destroying) of the first film, its Second World War–like aerial combat and anti-fascist derring-do, with the psychodynamics of the second one.
December 16, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
The film delivers mainly on a promise to be fun, although some new viewers will certainly be marked by this new iteration in much the same profound way as many have been by previous ones. It’s full of fan-service details and familiar characters upon which any present emotional resonance hangs… It’s a Star Wars movie made in 2015, almost exactly what you’d expect for better or worse, and a pretty good one.
December 16, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
Abrams achieves this sustained sense of pulsing wistfulness by calibrating all the performances to make it look as if the actors have either just been crying, or are on the verge of tears. This isn’t a shallow, sideshow tactic. There really is the feeling that the characters here don’t simply exist in the banal, narrative-driven moment, but their faces speak of history, of expectation, of sin, of sorrow, of pain, of wanting to switch things up, taste adventure and do things with their lives.
December 16, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens" is the film that director/co-writer J.J. Abrams was put on Earth to make, as evidenced by the numerous “Star Wars” echoes in his hit series “Lost,” and the way he kept trying to turn “Star Trek” into “Star Wars.” These tendencies could seem cutesy or irritating elsewhere, but they make sense in an according-to-Hoyle “Star Wars” movie.
December 16, 2015
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The big news about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is — spoiler alert — that it’s good! Despite the prerelease hype, it won’t save the world, not even Hollywood, but it seamlessly balances cozy favorites — Harrison Ford, ladies and gentlemen — and new kinetic wows along with some of the niceties that went missing as the series grew into a phenomenon, most crucially a scale and a sensibility that is rooted in the human.
December 16, 2015
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Abrams is just the person to plug the newest ready-made pre-fab blocks of quasi-Biblical legend into the template left by Lucas, and Abrams does so with a vigorously responsible enthusiasm joined with a palpable wonder at his contact with the venerated text. The result is a movie that’s awestruck, warmhearted, good-humored—and conspicuously prefabricated, without a jolt of spontaneity or reckless impulse anywhere in its sealed-up universe.
December 16, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
It’s a Star Wars mix and match. That said, the mix is pretty wonderful. Abrams has a deft shorthand with character — revealing it through action without having to stop and explain too much. He shoots his action scenes close, and he keeps them fast. He keeps the dialogue fast, too — a lesson Lucas learned on the first Star Wars film but seemingly forgot in the Prequels. And he deploys humor nicely, even allowing it to undercut the film’s more earnest moments.
December 16, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
When you’ve been charged with reviving one of the most obsessively beloved franchises in modern movies, is it better to defy expectations or to meet them? With Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams splits the difference, and the movie suffers—in the end, it’s perfectly adequate, hitting every beat.
December 16, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
Reinvigorating the franchise with a welcome surge of energy, warmth and excitement after the misbegotten cycle of prequels released between 1999 and 2005, incoming writer-director J.J. Abrams seems to have had the original three films firmly in mind when he embarked on this monumental new undertaking… [But] marvelous as it is to catch up with Han Solo, Leia and the rest of the gang, fan service takes priority here over a somewhat thin, derivative story.
December 16, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku
Abrams shoots on film, and you can tell. Like fellow celluloid Luddite Christopher Nolan in Interstellar, he uses practical effects rather than cruddy CG whenever possible, and you can also tell. When people shoot at each other, you can keep track of who’s running where and where gunfire is coming from; this is not to be taken for granted, even if the formulas of each chase and dogfight are so familiar from previous installments that they’re more pleasantly soothing than actually exciting.
December 16, 2015
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Abrams is with little doubt the best director to helm these familiar beats since the late Irvin Kershner, and if his franchise entry doesn’t boast The Empire Strikes Back’s particularly potent concoction of drama or space-opera romantic sweep, it does serve as an always welcome corrective to the current franchise climate of gloomy self-seriousness, calibrating its tonal alchemy to Spaceballs-worthy silliness (“I can’t understand you in that mask”) with a surprising, and welcome, frequency.
December 16, 2015
Bütün yazıyı oku