On Christmas Day, I fulfilled my duty as an American consumer and took the family to see the new “Star Wars” movie. The excursion solved a mystery: Why do so many of the reviews, even the enthusiastic ones, carry an undertone of disappointment?
The simple answer is that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” is not very good. It’s professionally made in the sense that it displays an industrial level of Quality Control. But it’s depressingly unimaginative and dull in long stretches, and — crucially — reproduces George Lucas’ original 1977 movie slavishly almost to the point of plagiarism.
This isn’t to say that it’s not an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. If you’re among the millions who plainly have done so, bless your heart. The issue is whether “The Force Awakens” deserves to be considered as a movie, because it’s not. It’s the anchoring element of a vast commercial program, painstakingly factory-made for maximal audience appeal, which means maximal inoffensiveness. The result tells us a lot about the state of entertainment today, and about the future of Hollywood.
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