THE new Star Wars film is a critical success with ratings of four to five stars and could be a contender for the ‘best film’ award at the Oscars and Bafta, but I thought it was pure dross.

The public loves it so much the film has broken box office records. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has made $1bn at the international box office faster than any other film and it is set to be the biggest earning film ever, but it didn’t earn my respect.

So why do I think this is a smash and grab film that breaks box office records, takes the money and runs? It is a cheap gimmick filled with computer generated images, characters who don’t grab your emotions or have any of their own and a plot so obvious you could see it coming galaxies away.

But before the sequels, the gimmicks – starting from the credits roll at the end which includes a ‘thank-you’ to Ed Vaizey our MP for Wantage and Didcot and Minister of State for Culture. Mr Vaizey and the Chancellor George Osborne managed to change tax rules which would allow the Star Wars film corporation to reclaim up to 80 per cent of production costs. The Star Wars producers would not thank Mr Vaizey unless they knew they met all his criteria for the payback. So how do you feel about as much as 80 per cent of the £134m budget going from your taxes to pay for this blockbuster?

Austerity reigns, it seems, until it comes to the defence of the realm with something like Star Wars and then, hey presto, what’s an extra sum, around a hundred million, subtracted from the public purse of our money. By the way, did anyone ask us?

If someone had asked my advice on the plot I would have suggested they rip up the script and start over from scratch. At least they should ditch the nonsense scenes where a young scavenger woman with no aeronautics training teaches Hans Solo, a veteran pilot, how to fix a technical component of flying a spacecraft he grew up with and then she starts to fly it. This is basically telling women they are the best, can have it all and without any effort. This is so box-tickingly PC and patronising, it becomes toxic. Why are people buying it?

When an old friend falls to his death during a crucial scene in the film, why does this not tally with my emotions but only with my musings – “Well, he won’t get any more millions from the sequels. I hope his financial leap of faith into oblivion was worth it.”

The CGI is like a constant backdrop on a five-year-old’s birthday cake – too much, too sweet, too OTT.

The plot – a quest for a map to find Luke Skywalker – follows a clear path from Treasure Island through the French Connection car chase scenes to Mission Impossible and Independence Day – a troll through action film history before lifting the best bits.

Maybe that’s why it is so successful. It pays homage to all our past fantasies but as a film about the future, it has nothing to say except ‘big bucks’.

The Disney corporation paid $4bn for the acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise and was so confident of success they announced a slate of sequels and spin-offs before The Force Awakens even hit the screen.

This week I had lunch with a friend from Oxford who happens to be an ‘extra’ in the current sequel. She was clear about the value of a Star Wars film: “They pay you, at most, £150 a day to be an ‘extra’ and that’s if you are lucky. You could have to work a 12-hour day and they don’t pay you for the two-hour journey to and from the studio.”

The Storm Troopers are not all men and the film is ‘very equal opportunity’ – the costumes are equally oppressive. She told me: “When you want to go outside to cool off or to smoke you have to wear a cape to disguise your costume because the threat of drones with cameras from the national press is real. It’s awful.

“The best part about a Star Wars film is the food. The caterers are American and they are used to feeding oversized US appetites. The sirloin steaks are so large they drop off the sides of the plates; there’s no room for the lobster thermidor, but you can go back for seconds and thirds.

“The ‘full English’ breakfast is something the Yanks do well and add a ‘never-ending’ coffee cup with a waiter always there pouring you more.

“The treats ‘on set’ are unexpected, but regularly people hand out sweets and snacks and tell us we need these to keep our energy and blood sugar levels high.

“They plan to have the current sequel in the can soon and ready to open next December, so this feast will end shortly.”

I’m sure the sequel will be better than the Christmas turkey we got this year.