New 'Star Wars' villains not evil enough, says Vatican movie critic

IMAGE: CNS photo/Disney

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
broke box office records and restored a new hope in the franchise to the
delight of fans worldwide with a few exceptions, including the Vatican’s

Emilio Ranzato, author and frequent movie critic for L’Osservatore
Romano, wrote Dec. 18 that the first installment of the sequel trilogy was “confusing
and vague,” but he reserved his harshest criticism for the film’s new

In “The Force Awakens,” Ranzato wrote, “the
counterpart of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, wears a mask merely to emulate his
predecessor, while the character who needs to substitute Emperor Palpatine as
the incarnation of supreme evil represents the most serious defect of the film.”

Calling the original trilogy’s villains “the two
most-efficient villains” in American science fiction cinema, Ranzato wrote
that in comparison, Kylo Ren and his dark side mentor, Supreme Leader Snoke,
failed “most spectacularly” in representing evil.

The use of computer-generated imagery in creating Snoke’s
appearance, he added, “is the clumsiest and tackiest result you can obtain
from computer graphics.”

Ranzato also criticized certain elements of the movie that
were similar to George Lucas’ original trilogy, going so far as to referring “Star
Wars: The Force Awakens” as more of a reboot than a sequel.

“Not a classy reboot however, like (Christopher) Nolan’s
‘Batman,’ but an update twisted to suit today’s tastes and a public more
accustomed to sitting in front of a computer than in a cinema,” he wrote.

Although the movie pulled in more than $500 million at the
box office, with countless fans praising director J.J. Abrams for returning the
franchise to its roots after the lukewarm reception of the prequel trilogy,
Ranzato believed otherwise.

Abrams’ direction, he wrote, “is in fact modeled on the
sloppiest current action films derived from the world of video games. The only
merit of J.J. Abrams’ film is to show, by contrast, how the direction of the
previous films was elegant, balanced and above all appropriate.”

The Vatican critic’s review might have some die-hard Star
Wars fans quoting Darth Vader’s words when facing criticism: “I find your
lack of faith disturbing.”

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.


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