Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Theatrical Review
I finally made it, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Now, how to review it? I suppose I could put spoiler alerts, or I could be vague, or I could just skip recapping the film entirely and just relay my feelings about it. By this point seeing as I’m almost a whole month late seeing Star Wars The Force Awakens, spoilers really shouldn’t be that much of a concern, but to me they still are. That’s why I’ve been intentionally and effectively offline for the last month. I’ve posted no reviews, very few tweets, and have been feeling rather out of touch. But I was able to go into tonight’s film armed only with my knowledge of the original films, and that allowed me the privilege of enjoying every moment, and every scene as it unfolded before me.
Taking place some thirty years after Return of the Jedi, the baton (or lightsaber) is set to be passed from the old cast to a new generation of heroes in that galaxy far far away. Okay, a small spoiler, but it’s revealed in the opening crawl: Luke Skywalker is missing, and it seems everyone is trying to find him. The First Order, a military splinter group who have risen up in place of the fallen Empire, and the Resistance are trying to find the last Jedi. It’s not made entirely clear as to how the Resistance are different from the New Republic who were formed by the former Rebel Alliance, but the Republic does support their actions. Since there were such negative reactions to the trade negotiations and political debates in the prequels maybe it’s best that The Force Awakens kind of glosses over facts like these and puts most of the focus on the characters and their own personal adventures. Back to those adventures; General Leia has sent Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) on a mission to retrieve information that may lead them to Luke’s whereabouts. Along the journey we’re introduced to Finn (John Boyega) a deserting First Order Stormtrooper and Rey (Daisy Ridley) a scrap scavenger on the planet Jakku who obtain the
Death Star plans map to Skywalker’s location that is stored inside Poe’s droid BB-8. Finn and Rey set out to return the map to the Resistance and meet some familiar original trilogy faces along the way.
There were a ton of parallels and references to the original trilogy, especially A New Hope. Some may say that it is lazy writing to borrow so many elements from the prior films, but there’s an old saying that reminds us “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The plot though was admittedly quite simple, but for me, it didn’t need to be overly complicated and I think that may be where the prequels fell apart. They got away from the simple idea of a quest storyline; that fantastical and mythical journey that the world fell in love with in 1977 and instead tried to give us a story that was incredibly complex, to the point of being convoluted. If they were trying to be intellectually stimulating, they failed. With The Force Awakens the writers shifted the emphasis back to a fantasy film, and made it less of a science fiction film like the prequels tried to be.
The Force Awakens goes back to basics, possibly to apologize for the prequels, but also because the storyline works. They need to get the information from the droid back to the good guys so they have a chance to find their friend who might help them beat the bad guys. And the bad guys motivation? They want to take over and rule the universe, and if you don’t agree with them, their super weapon will destroy your planetary system. Good thing the heroes have found a way to stop the “Starkiller Base” because it’s recharging and aiming right at them, but can they rescue their friend who has been taken prisoner on the planet before they have to blow it up? Will they even be able to destroy this planet sized weapon? It’s not as simple as firing a torpedo down a thermal exhaust port…
There were an incredible number of parallels and role reversals between Episodes VII and IV which all played out quite nicely. Rey was a strong and intelligent character, but in a much different way than Leia was in the original films. Finn was initially not a super confident protagonist. Kylo Ren was an impressive villain, who was trying to live up to the legend of Darth Vader (both the character on screen and the character as he was written). There was humour, there was action and excitement, and there were emotional moments and surprise revelations too. I personally loved the dogfights and spaceship scenes (though it looked as though the Resistance’s big attack on the Starkiller Base was comprised of only about twenty X-Wings and the Millennium Falcon). I’m now even more excited for the spinoff film Rogue One. I loved the inclusion of the classic characters and their interactions with the new ones. Sure there were times that I could predict what the dialogue was going to be, but that’s because we know these characters, and we know this universe, and we know not just what they’re going to say, but what they should say.
Great special effects, as you would expect. Very strong acting; I particularly enjoyed Daisy Ridley. A good story that left enough threads dangling that I’m eagerly anticipating the next chapter. I actually didn’t want the film to end. I saw it in 3D which I normally avoid, but the 3D was well done and while it was not really a distraction from the film, it wasn’t overly necessary either. I think I loved just about everything in the film, but perhaps what I loved the most was that an old friend asked me to join her in watching it.
Bottom Line: Well, now that I’ve finally seen it, when can I go see it again?
Posted on 16-01-14, in 5 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, BB-8, Ben, C-3P0, Captain Phasma, Carrie Fisher, Chewbacca, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson, Episode VII, Finn, Force Awakens, General Hux, General Leia, Gwendoline Christie, Han Solo, Harrison Ford, J.J. Abrams, John Boyega, Joonas Suotamo, Kenny Baker, Kylo Ren, Lawrence Kasdan, Lor San Tekka, Luke Skywalker, Lupita Nyong'o, Mark Hamill, Max Von Sydow, Maz Kanata, Michael Arndt, Oscar Isaac, Peter Mayhew, Poe Dameron, Princess Leia, R2-D2, Rey, Star Wars, Supreme Leader Snoke, The Force Awakens. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.