Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review: At Last, The Force is Strong Again
Okay, let’s be real for a moment. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a big damned deal. 99% of the human population is talking about this movie. Dogs, cats, birds, and even monkeys are excited for this movie. It’s monumental. There will be hundreds of reviews for this film online. This site alone will have, like, a dozen reviews. So, I’m going to make my review as short and sweet as possible, with absolutely not spoilers. So fear not.
No sense in talking about the plot because, let’s be honest, you don’t want to know the plot before seeing the film, right? The producers don’t really want anyone to talk about it too soon anyway. If you need to know just a few things before you see the film, the plain and simple truth is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams… is…… a spectacular Star Wars film! It will satisfy any fan of the series. It will make anyone who felt tainted after watching the prequels, feel cleansed and refreshed. It will bring out the inner child in you, give you back that sense of wonder and amazement you once had with the franchise. It is a blast, it is great entertainment, it will make fans emotional and cheerful, it is the Star Wars film we’ve been waiting for. On the surface, it is a near perfect addition to the series, and an exciting start to a fruitful partnership with Lucasfilm and Disney.
Alright, now that the momentum is up, got you all excited, you feel reassured that J.J. Abrams was the right man for the job, you’re pumping your fists with anticipation… here’s the part where you should leave if you’re the kind of person who wants to be completely oblivious to any flaws this film might have. However, if you’ll indulge me, stick around while I briefly mention some minor issues the film has. Then, we’ll go back to having fun, and getting you excited again.
So, yes, there are indeed issues with the film that even I, a hardcore Star Wars nerd, cannot ignore. However, to me, these are, indeed, minor issues in comparison to the sheer enjoyment I had with the film. In fact, most viewers probably won’t even care about these issues. For example, the film has a lot of setup. We know we’re going to be treated to a whole new trilogy, along with numerous spin-offs. So, while this film is very satisfying, it left me with a lot of questions. Then we have some revelations that are good, but not all too surprising. Once you look deeper into some of those revelations, you might find they don’t add up. There’s also quite a lot of conveniences, and predictability. Sure, some of it is fan service, but it’s still flawed storytelling. Believe me, nothing pains me more than to address these flaws, but I have to be somewhat critical if I’m taking time to write a review. I can promise you this though, these flaws will not take away the enjoyment of this spectacle.Now, I will briefly run down the significant characters and mention the strengths and flaws for each one.
- Kylo Ren (Adam Driver): The most significant villain, a fearsome warrior who is strong with the Force, but throws hissy fits like a baby. Yes, I’m sorry to say this, but he is not a great villain. He ain’t no Vader, that’s for sure. While worried, I was in fact rooting for Adam Driver to play this role right. Sadly, he just does not fit the role, especially when you discover the character’s true origins.
- Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac): No real complaints on the character, just not enough screentime to get to know him. I liked him from the start. He reminds me of a young Han Solo. Daring, heroic, confident, and witty. He has the makings of a great warrior, and possibly, a fearless leader. But dammit, I wanted more of him. Issac played him so well. I’m sure he’ll shine more in the coming episodes though.
- Finn (John Boyega): Very likable character, but sometimes a tad over the top. You can tell he wants to do the right thing, but is a reluctant hero. He has a sense of Humerous immaturity, but can only grow as a character. At least, I hope.
- Rey (Daisy Ridley): My absolute favorite new character She’s the one with the strongest qualities and the most intriguing story arch. Ridley shines as a performer, and manages to bring out the best in her co-stars. I love this character. I am totally invested in her journey.
- Han Solo (Harrison Ford): The man, the legend himself did not disappoint. I truly hope Mr. Ford, in his own peculiar and grumpy way, is proud of being part in the Star Wars franchise again. Especially since his legendary character now has a profound meaning to the film’s story. He had a terrific rapport with Daisy Ridley. Plus, he still has his signature swagger. And while we’re on the subject, let’s go ahead and mention how great it is to see him and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) back in action. They still make a great team.
- BB-8: Yes, I’m mentioning the new adorable droid as a significant character. Of course it’s a cute, new robot that’ll sell a lot of merchandise, but the biggest surprise is how important it is as a plot device. A cute sidekick with a purpose to the story, who knew?
Of course, there are lots of other characters, but I mean, come on, I can’t mention them all. Some aren’t even worth mentioning, sadly. Don’t ask me about Luke. Nobody knows anything about Luke, even in the movie. Gotta mention Carrie Fisher as General Leia though. It’s great when she arrives on the screen, and her moments with Han are very touching in a subtle way. However, those moments rely heavily on nostalgia.
On a technical level, everything is perfect. It’s a beautiful blend of modern CGI imagery and glorious practical effects. J.J. Abrams knows how to make a great looking film, but we all know that. His direction also manages to not only make this feel like a genuine Star Wars film, but also a signature Abrams film. The sound design is glorious as well. But then again, you are watching a Star Wars film, what do you expect? To hear all of the signature sound effects mixed in with new booming, multi-directional sounds, gave my senses get a hefty workout. It was almost sexual to be honest… Moving on. Once again, John Williams and his masterful scoring talents drive the film to heavenly heights. Of course you get the traditional score elements of all the other Star Wars films, but there’s a satisfying modern take on the soundtrack as well.
So much for short & sweet, I guess, but I am talking about an installment to a film series I adore and one that means so much to me. Trust me, I can keep going on and on, but I’ll probably be writing more on this film in the future. So let’s just wrap this up.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not a perfect film, but I swear, that’s okay. It will feel perfect when you watch it in the theater, in whatever format you desire, I promise you. If you are a fan, this film will restore your love for the series in case the prequels did anything to damage that. You will be satisfied, you will be grateful, you’ll want and need repeat visits to that galaxy far, far away.
Rating: 9 outta 10