For the past couple of days I've been writing about how much Star Wars The Force Awakens sucks and how the reason why it sucks is because George Lucas was not involved in the movie and Disney ordered Jar-Jar -I mean- JJ Abrams to make a remake of Episode 4 instead of making a new, original movie.
But that begs the question: Does every single element in the movie actually sucks? Nothing is salvageable?
Objectively, I have to say there are four elements in the movie that actually do work. HOWEVER -and this is a BIG "however"- those four elemens work by themselves and out of the context of the movie.
That is, those four elements could be removed from the movie and the movie's plot would not change at all.
So here are the only four things in Star Wars The Force Awakens that actually work.
1. Rey's introduction. It has to be said that JJ Abrams did a good job in Rey's presentation as a scavenger. The entire sequence is silent. No dialog. All visuals. That's how true filmmaking should be done. The introduction gets its highest point when Rey is cleaning some junk she found in a Star Destroyer to exchange it for food and suddenly sees an old woman in front of her doing exactly the same thing. Rey's eyes seem to realize that's how she's going to look like if she stays there. That sequence was quite good.
You could take out that entire sequence and the movie would be the same. In fact, Rey could've been introduced with a simpler format and just with a few seconds, and the movie would've been the same.
Which means Rey's introduction does work, but only out of the context of the movie. Within the context of the movie it doesn't affect the plot and it doesn't add anything to the movie.
2. Some of Han Solo's jokes. Here I have to underscore the word "SOME". Yes, some of the Han and Chewbacca's banter is amusing. Specially the joke about Han using Chewbacca's crossbow. However, if we consider Chewbacca and Han Solo have been friends for DECADES, it is very difficult to believe Han has never tried to use Chewbacca's crossbow before or that he's very impressed with its firepower.
Like Rey's introduction's the Han Solo jokes are simple decoration and they do not add anything to the movie in terms of advancing its plot. You could take them out and the movie would stay the same.
3. Some of the special effects. Again, big underscore under "SOME", as some of the effects are beyond cheesy, like the Starkiller charging itself with the energy from a star. That was so very clearly CGI it made all of JJ Abram's claims that they went back to "physical effects" a big, steamy pile of bullshit.
Still, some of the dogfights looked pretty good. Although, to be fair, the dogfights in the beginning of Episode 3 looked a lot better. The only thing Abrams added was the water ripples as the fighters fly over a lake.
4. Leia's calm demeanor. With the exception of Return of the Jedi, in the original trilogy Leia always looked pissed, annoyed, and she was always shouting at Han Solo.
This time she looks like a calm, level-headed old aunt who already knows how things work in life. She doesn't yell to Han Solo, and when they fight she looks slightly peeved, but ultimately she returns to her calm demeanor.
That was actually enjoyable. Showing Leia as wise instead of being a hothead seems like the most sensible choice.
You could make Leia a bitter old lady who always yells at people and the movie wouldn't change one bit. Snce again, the element works but really out of the context of the movie.
Taken by themselves, without the context of the movie, the four elements I just mentioned could be midterm proyects for film students. They work individually, but as part of the movie they don't have any memorable effect. So the four elements, like I said, work individually, but not as part of the movie.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention this; originally I wanted to make a list of FIVE things that worked in the movie, but after two hours of thinking and thinking what could be the fifth thing that worked in the movie, and not being able to find anything, I gave up and I just made a list of 4 things that worked. That's how terrible The Force Awakens is.