ROME – Amid a chorus of overwhelmingly stellar reviews around the planet for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano begs to differ, calling the film “confused and hazy” and, even worse, opining that it “fails most spectacularly” in its representation of evil.
The newspaper owned by the Holy See also wrote that the latest installment in the franchise is not a proper sequel but more of a reboot.
“Not a classy reboot however, like Nolan’s Batman, but a twisted update which fits today’s tastes and a public more accustomed to sitting in front of a computer than in a cinema,” the anonymous reviewer said, adding the film seems to draw from the “sloppiest current action films derived from the world of videogames.”
The L’Osservatore Romano review also laments too many close-ups, and even faults the “much-publicized” return to in-camera effects, saying they are “often anonymous and lacking in dramatic value.”
As to why the pic supposedly fails spectacularly in its representation of evil, the caustic critic claims that “Darth Vader and above all the Emperor Palpatine were two of the most effective villains in [the sci-fi] genre of American cinema.” But the film’s new villain, the Darth Vader-inspired Kylo Ren, is slammed as “insipid;” while Supreme Leader Snoke – the Emperor Palpatine-like character, is called “the most serious defect of the film,” with his representation described as “awkward and tacky.”
These isolated observations certainly have not impacted box office for ”The Force” in Italy, where the film has grossed over $10 million to date, in line with expectations, after scoring the country’s top December opening frame ever.
L’Osservatore Romano is not new to going against the grain in its reviews of record-breaking Hollywood blockbusters. It slammed “Avatar” as “sentimental hokum.”