This past weekend saw the release of the much anticipated next chapter of the super popular space opera known as Star Wars, i.e. Episode VII, The Force Awakens. There has been a lot of hype for this movie, both because of its need to redeem itself from its less than stellar predecessors, as well as interest in seeing where the franchise’s new owner and the film’s visionary would take the beloved property. Thus far, it has delighted fans, critics, and bank accounts all over the world. But none of that matters until our little family talks about the movie, which we will now do with great fervor. I suppose as the author of this post, I should begin with my thoughts…
Note: I intend for this post and its comments to go hog wild on spoilers, so if you haven’t seen TFA, go grab a sandwich or something.
My overall verdict: I liked it! It isn’t a revolutionary piece of sci-fi film making, but it does a great job of capturing the spirit of the original trilogy. If there was one SAT analogy that perfectly describes this movie, it’s The Force Awakens : A New Hope :: Creed : Rocky. It follows much of the structure of Episode IV, but with plenty of unique personality to make the film feel fresh and relatable to a new generation of film goers. There have been mixed feelings about this. Personally, I think it keeps it from being great, but by no means did it take away from enjoyment of the film.
The Force Awakens serves as a bridge between the last generation of characters (Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker) and the new faces of the Star Wars universe. Lemme just say that I find all of the main characters VERY likable. This was largely attributed to the dialogue, which felt natural and more at home on Earth, as opposed to the flowery, faux-Shakespearean lines that were found throughout the previous six movies. But the three heroes, Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron, were all charming and had great chemistry between them. Even the new villain, Kylo Ren, was likable in his own right. I thought Adam Driver did a nice job playing a young man desperate to prove his allegiance to the dark side, while destroying ties to those trying to bring him back (specifically his parents). I look forward to seeing all of them in Episode 8.
Of course, the movie is not without its flaws. Here’s a short list of what I took issue with:
- Supreme Leader Snoke. He wasn’t a particularly intriguing figure, and his size is ridiculous. Also, WTF kind of a name is Snoke? If you told me my family was being held hostage by some named Snoke, I’d laugh and hang up the phone on your face. Perhaps his role in the series will be fleshed out more, because he didn’t really seem all that useful, other than to have a figurehead for all First Order villainy.
- It was painfully obvious that this movie was part of a series. I mean, we all KNOW it was going to be part of a series, but one could watch A New Hope without ever watching another Star Wars movie and be satisfied. It felt like there was no solid closure at the end of the movie.
- Starkiller Base, what’s the deal with it? How close does it need to be to a star to absorb it? If it’s close, can this freakin’ planet move? If the base absorbs the energy of a sun, how is the planet covered in snow? It seemed like an excuse to have the call back of Luke pulling his lightsaber from the snow on Hoth. Speaking of which…
- How was Rey able to execute all of those Jedi abilities? I’m guessing she had heard the Tales of the Jedi from word of mouth and thought to try each of them out once she knew she was Force sensitive. Also, how does a supposed Dark Side master lose to a beginner in a lightsaber duel? I know he was wounded, but someone with that much experience should have been able to handle his business.
However, none of these are glaring enough to take away from J.J. Abrams’ accomplishment. In the end, I was very satisfied with the movie, and would definitely recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the film. There is a BB-8 GIF that would perfectly sum up my feelings of The Force Awakens, but I would rather not get a Cease and Desist letter from Disney. Whatever, YOU GUYS GET THE REFERENCE.