Volume 4, Issue 52
“Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
This is a tough review to write. Not just because I’m not going to spoil anything plot wise about The Force Awakens, the movie that is arguably the most hyped up film of the past ten years, but also because of just how much love I have for Star Wars. So, if you’re skeptical at all about JJ Abrams’ revival of the beloved franchise, take the fact that I’ve worn a different Star Wars shirt each day of this week while I waited for today. But I honestly feel that even if I didn’t already have a deep seeded passion for the Galaxy Far, Far, Away that I’d be confident in saying this: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a fantastic return to form for the series, and one of the best times I’ve had in the theater in a long time.
Much of this comes from the fact that Abrams has (wisely) removed any and all references to the prequel trilogy, and crafted a movie that feels very much like a natural progression of the original trilogy of movies. While there are some CGI creatures, there’s even more that are people in costumes. The same can be said of the scenery, which is all done on practical sets with, again, minimal CGI. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasfilm clearly know what works for fans when it comes to Star Wars, and they execute it beautifully.
Han, Leia, and Chewie have all aged gracefully, and the thrill of seeing them all on the screen again is absolutely delightful. Harrison Ford seems to be having a blast stepping into the role of Han again, and hearing him talk with Chewie again was all it took to bring a tear to my eye. He may be a little greyer, but man, Ford still has it, and every moment he’s on screen is incredible.
But this adventure isn’t just for the old characters we know and love. Force Awakens also serves as an incredible introduction to our new cast of characters. Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn, and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron are all excellent new additions to the Star Wars legacy, and I can’t wait to see more of their stories. These characters have all the mystery, excitement, and badassery that Han, Luke, and Leia did back in A New Hope, and they all have great chemistry with each other. Oh, and in regards to BB-8, you’ll fall in love with him in about 4 seconds.
On the villain side, I was very curious about Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, and I have to say, I was very impressed by him. This is a villain that will have people talking, and in a lot of ways he’s more fanatical to the dark side and the Force than even Vader and Palpatine are. There’s a really unhinged menace that Driver brings to the roll, and after seeing what he brought to this character I can see why he’s such a hot commodity in Hollywood.
Of course, Force Awakens has some problems. With so many moving parts, there are times where the film seems a little too rushed, jumping from place to place without really giving you a concrete reason for why things are happening, and people looking for a full adventure with all of the heroes of the original trilogy might be more than a little ticked off. Like Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, this is a film designed to honor to past of a franchise while also bringing it into new territory, and in that regard, it accomplishes it.
Force Awakens is a huge film. It’s going to be unstoppable, and I’m immensely happy that a whole new generation gets to experience this universe. Walking out of a theater and being happy with a new Star Wars film is a very good feeling, and hopefully it’s one that will happen with each new installment.