Advertisements

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

20 Dec

StarWars_ForceAwakens

It’s difficult not to get chills when “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” appears and John Williams’s iconic theme kicks in. It’s difficult not to get nostalgic when characters like Han Solo and Chewbacca return to kick some ass, when Stormtroopers and the Millenium Falcon and lightsabers show up on screen again. Unlike the situation back in 1977, it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, but it still finds a way to hit all the right notes as it integrates the new with the old. Star Wars is back, and although it’s full of problems, it’s also full of pleasures.

A legitimate criticism being leveled against the movie is that it feels like Episode IV: A Newer Hope, the product of JJ Abrams recycling Episode IV’s storylines and throwing some new paint on top. The main problem for me isn’t that he draws from A New Hope (it’s better than drawing from the prequels); rather, it’s how he handles it all at times. The inclusion of the Starkiller Base storyline is one of the bigger missteps, and the climactic battle scene at that base feels more like empty spectacle than anything else. Instead of just drawing on a select number of things that made the original trilogy great, it’s like Abrams felt he needed to include everything in order to “get it right”. Familiarity is essential, but the movie does feel like a watered-down version of Episode IV at times. The script moves so fast that many plot and character developments aren’t given enough time to breathe, and when we come across new stuff that should be expanded on–for example, the political climate at the time and how things have changed–the movie instead rushes forward.

In terms of new characters, though, Abrams and co. do an impressive job of incorporating them into the world. Yes, Rey and Finn have elements of Luke, Han, and Leia in them, but they still feel fresh. The new characters feel like worthy additions to the franchise, and that’s certainly helped by some great acting across the board from Boyega, Ridley, Driver, and “coolest person on the planet right now” Isaac. Surprisingly, though, the star of the movie is Harrison Ford. I expected him and Fisher and Hamill to show up because it’s fun to see the original cast, but I did not expect Han Solo to have a genuinely great character arc in this. This is one instance in which the movie not only pays homage to the original trilogy, but also introduces new elements, delving into who Solo has become and who he might want to be moving forward. It’s just really well done all around, not to mention the fact that he and Chewie are so damn fun to watch. The movie as a whole is fun to watch as well, and even though it has its fair share of flaws, it’s a solid setup for future stories.

GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Usually, attempted humor in big blockbusters fail to register with me. However, I will say that this movie made me laugh more times than I thought it would.

-Seriously, Oscar Isaac is the best. I hope to see more of him in the upcoming installments, as he provides a lot of energy to this movie. I’m ecstatic that this guy is going to finally get the recognition he deserves; he’s quietly been (arguably) the best actor of the last several years.

-Aside from being happy about seeing Andy Serkis do this thing, I don’t really know how to feel about Snoke. I bet he’s small in reality, though.

-I am now realizing just how many things Domhnall Gleeson has been in this year. Still excited to see The Revenant.

-Well, kind of a waste of Gwendoline Christie, isn’t it? The way the movie handles her character–especially near the end–is just plain stupid. She pretty much exists just to facilitate one plot point, so she better have a bigger role in the later movies.

-Chewie is the unsung hero of this movie.

-Daniel Craig has a cameo in this as a Stormtrooper. That dull and expressionless mask is essentially what he looked like throughout Spectre. 

-The final lightsaber battle is preceded by the most cheer-worthy moment of the movie. Also, the final scene of the movie is pretty awesome. Chills again.

-Ever since the directors were announced, I’ve been looking forward to Episode VIII much more. Rian Johnson is awesome.

Photo credit: Disney, LucasFilms, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Advertisements

12 Responses to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review”

  1. hutchwp December 20, 2015 at 2:02 am #

    Fantastic review. Loving reading everyone’s different opinions on this film. I jotted down my thoughts here:

    http://cinemaetc.co.uk/2015/12/18/star-wars-episode-vii-the-force-awakens-j-j-abrams-2015/

    Can’t wait to see it all again. It’ll be nice to be less swept up in the hype and watch the details.

    Lots of questions still in my mind. I didn’t really like Snoke. Seemed like if already seen him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Pretty generic. Hopefully they’ll expand on him next time around.

  2. mlbradford December 20, 2015 at 4:45 am #

    Good Post!
    Agree w u about Phasma (Christie) – collected th pics for nothing! 😦
    Yeah, Dameron is ace 🙂 – was crying out for more aerial action, or more on th ground at least!
    Was wondering about Craig’s cameo – found out only after watching th movie, but did insert into my review, which u r welcome to view here:
    https://bradscribe.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/star-wars-the-force-awakens-review/
    Cheers!

  3. peggyatthemovies December 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Completely agree.. it’s a good movie..but it’s no Mad Max.. 🙂

  4. killkenny16 December 20, 2015 at 11:58 pm #

    Just published my review a few hours ago. I loved it. Oscar Isaac is indeed the best. I kind of wanted a bigger explanation on the political climate to, but given the choice between under-explaining that (resulting in this movie) and over-explaining (resulting in the prequels) I’ll take the former any day.

    Also, that’s some nice shade thrown Spectre’s way. I approve wholeheartedly!

    • polarbears16 December 21, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

      Yeah, that’s a good point. They really did improve vastly on the prequels, and although I’d say that isn’t difficult to do, it’s still a success.

  5. boxofficebuzzab December 21, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    Nice write-up! I really enjoyed this one and thought it hit the right balance between the “nostalgia” and the new. Definitely looking forward to seeing where ti goes from here.

  6. Mark V. December 22, 2015 at 2:50 am #

    Starkiller was a pointless inclusion. It was simply a set piece for THAT certain sequence (and the follow-up) to occur, and for the obligatory “Another Death Star but BIGGER?!” The entire storyline detracted Poe’s screentime, and development beyond him being a total bro and an ace pilot.. He’s one of the four new characters, but he doesn’t share a single dialogue exchange with Rey. Am I the only one that noticed this?

    TFA would’ve been tighter if it was solely about the search for Luke.

    • Mark V. December 22, 2015 at 2:52 am #

      Correction. I meant “He’s one of the four new MAIN characters…”

  7. Jay December 22, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    I got chills because the theatre was piping in cold air right above me – brr! But there was no nostalgia factor for me since this was the first star wars movie I’ve ever seen. My husband is a fan though, and he was a bit disappointing. He still liked it overall, but it didn’t exactly blow him away.

  8. Ladybugbunch December 28, 2015 at 6:04 am #

    Yes, the Force has awakened but with it comes a great loss. Great movie as expected and entertaining as well. Can’t wait for it to come out on blu-ray to watch over and over again! Great work Abrams, Lucasfilms and Pixar.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mojave Review | Polar Bears Watch TV - February 3, 2016

    […] the full range of their talent despite a number of quietly stellar performances. Oscar Isaac, after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, seems to have broken out of that bubble and might have moved from being a familiar face into true […]

  2. My Top 20 Films of 2015 | Polar Bears Watch TV - February 9, 2016

    […] Saul, Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, Beasts of No Nation, The Look of Silence, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Timbuktu, Queen of Earth, While We’re Young, Clouds of Sils Maria, Suffragette, Furious 7, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: