Possible mild spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Force Awakens... though, it now seems that the majority of the planet has seen the film. At any rate...
In an interesting twist, the Vatican has slammed Star Wars: The Force Awakens for not being dark enough. It might surprise a lot of people to find out that the Vatican even worries about movies, especially those in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. However, over the years the Vatican seems to have had a special place in its heart for the exact sort of films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In fact, the Vatican even decreed that in its opinion, one of the best films of all time is Stanley Kubrick's 1968 science fiction epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Earlier this year, the Vatican even dubbed Mad Max: Fury Road, "a real, true masterpiece."
First of all, we should make it clear that the Vatican actually liked the original trilogy, and liked it a lot. I state that because the primary reason the Vatican didn't like Star Wars: The Force Awakens is because it was comparing it to the original Star Wars trilogy - or at least the primary villains in the original Star Wars trilogy: Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine - to the ones in the new film.
Here's where we get into a bit of spoiler territory if you haven't seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
"The new director's set-up fails most spectacularly in its representation of evil, meaning the negative characters. Darth Vader and above all the Emperor Palpatine were two of the most efficient villains in that genre of American cinema."Essentially, the Vatican is saying that the new Star Wars film didn't go dark enough. It probably makes sense that the center of the world's Catholic religion understands that the darker the villain, the more brilliant the hero. In other words, the Vatican thoroughly understands the Balance of the Force.
The review continued, tearing into Kylo Ren and the film's other major villain.
"The counterpart of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, wears a mask merely to emulate his predecessor, while the character who needs to substitute the emperor Palpatine as the incarnation of supreme evil represents the most serious defect of the film. Without revealing anything about the character, all we will say is that it is the clumsiest and tackiest result you can obtain from computer graphics."Who knew the Vatican was so up on what constituted great CGI in film? As far as Kylo Ren's mask, is the Vatican missing the point? "...wears a mask merely to emulate his predecessor." Anyone who has seen the movie realizes that Kylo Ren's mask is a direct homage to Vader. That whole plot line is kind of central to the character, isn't it? As far as their criticism of the other major character, the Vatican isn't alone in its criticism, though calling it the "clumsiest and tackiest result" might be a bit much. I'd venture to say that the creatures we see earlier in the film that are heavy on tentacles and teeth were worse CGI-wise than the major villain... but that's neither here nor there.
Ultimately, the Vatican said that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was more of a reboot than a sequel, and, given the major plot points of the film, their estimation may be correct. However, in JJ Abrams' defense, he needed to bring back old characters, introduce new ones and delight our collective nostalgia all within the confines of some sort of plot line that would bring new life and interest to a 38-year-old mythology.
What do you think, is Star Wars: The Force Awakens deserving of being slammed by the Vatican?
[Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images and Franco Origlia/Getty Images]