Star Wars: Force Awakens Review

I feel like I am the only one of my blogging friends to not post their Force Awakens review.  Well, I wanted to see the movie twice to make sure I wasn’t just gushing over the experience more than the film itself.  It was definitely one of the most memorable movie-going experiences I’ve ever had. I even dressed up

star wars rachelFortunately I’m happy to tell all of you that the movie lived up to the experience.  Star Wars is back and the great world Lucas gave us in 1977 will continue on in good form for a whole new generation.  I couldn’t be happier!

force awakenss7I’ll give you a few plot points that are basically available on the trailer (I tried to keep it spoiler free but if you are very sensitive stay away).

The focus on Force Awakens is on a young woman named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who is a scavenger on the planet Jakku.  One day she meets a droid named BB8 who has a message from his master, a pilot named Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) meant for the resistance.  Along the way to deliver the message she meets Finn (John Boyega) a stormtrooper who has deserted his post.

They all take the millennium falcon and meet Hon Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and they face off with a leader in the new empire named Kylo Ren.

force awakens88I’ll leave the rest for you to uncover. The characters were probably my favorite thing about Force Awakens- both old and new.  I thought they did such a good job merging the worlds together.  I especially loved Finn and Rey who are very well portrayed by their respective actors.  Kylo Ren was also a more complex villain than we have seen in many a Star Wars film (at least at first).

Harrison Ford is really trying here unlike some of his grumbling recent performances.  It feels like he and Chewie are back and at home again on the Millennium Falcon.  I honestly was prepared to ‘put up’ with his performance but he did a great job.

A few of the characters I could have had more of particularly captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) who I was hoping would be a bit more of an awesome female villain, which Star Wars has never really had.  Hopefully in the next film she will be used even more.

captain phasmaI also wasn’t crazy about the main villain played by Andy Serkis named Supreme Leader Snoke. I didn’t love the design and he didn’t seem menacing enough.

But it is a small problem in a very entertaining film.  Like I said the characters were wonderful.  There was a ton of comedy without it being moronic or annoying like JarJar Binks.  I particularly loved the BB8 droid who is my new droid crush (sorry R2D2!).   He was beyond adorable.  You did get to see R2D2 and C3PO which was a lot of fun as well.

force awakens3 - CopyI also enjoyed the action in the film and I never got bored the entire movie!  It was great to see practical, earthy feeling special effects and the battle sequences were awesome.  I particularly liked the light saber duels which felt more visceral than in previous films.  It felt like the light was a knife not just a pretty light you could put your hand through.  As we knew Kylo Ren has a special light saber with a hilt on it and he fought like a man possessed at times. It was so mesmerizing to watch.

force awakens2 - CopyWhat’s really interesting about Kylo Ren is he is a villain that is battling not with the darkness but with the light.  He wants to be like his idol Vader but he falls woefully short.  This is such a contrast to the prequels with the whiny Anakin futilely resisting the dark side.  He’s an interesting contrast to Finn who has left the darkness because he had an ‘awakening’ of what was the right thing to do.

Lupita Nyong’o appears in a motion capture performance as Maz Kanata a cantina owner who gives counsel to the crew and I really liked her character.  All the characters and actors except for Phasma and Snoke were great.

Director JJ Abrams has crafted a film that is entertaining for non-Star Wars fans and is chuck full of lore and new story for the die hard fans.  And like I said the script is sharp, very quickly paced (sometimes too quick!), and drew me in.  I cried.  I laughed a lot and I think that credit has to go to the return of  Lawrence Kasdan to the script.  John Williams music is also wonderful as usual (while maybe missing the new standout number it’s a great score).

force awakens - CopyOverall, there has probably never been a movie more anxiously awaited than Force Awakens and while I had a few issues here and there I was greatly entertained by the film.  In the case of this fan my expectations were met.

Congratulations to JJ Abrams and team for the tremendous job you have accomplished.  The world has a quality new Star Wars movie!  Yippee!

My brother and I did a video starting with our anticipation and then our reaction, and a few spoilers at the end (I also have it divided into smaller portions on the channel if you prefer).

As far as content it does have intense moments but I feel it isn’t more so than the original trilogy.  If your kids can handle Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi I think they can watch this.

Overall Grade- A

Let me know what you think of Star Wars: Force Awakens?  Did it meet your expectations?  I hope so! I can’t wait to see it many more times and am so happy Star Wars is back!

25 thoughts on “Star Wars: Force Awakens Review

  1. Hey Rachel,

    I’m happy you enjoyed it! I was left very underwhelmed. Friends who saw the movie after me who are big fans also had mixed feelings. The movie was solid, however if it was not titled Star Wars I wonder if people would have liked it as much as they are saying they did.

    I found the movie to be a recreation of ‘a new hope.’ Traditionally in Star Wars movies you can clearly state what the movie was about. This movie while clearly understanding it was the first of a trilogy, really felt like part one of a three part epic.

    Listening to your partner talk about how this movie was funny, Star Wars humour is meant to be more organic, unlike this which was funny but sometimes for the point of being funny.

    Hans Solo was fantastic and I enjoyed his role. Rey was excellent, however I at times felt the character of Finn was forced. I would have also liked to have seen more of Poe.

    Not sold on Kylo Ren… A character with vast experience was beaten by Rey who has no training?

    The casting for Kylo Ren was also an interesting choice. Too young and slightly Emo for my liking. 🙂

    JJ had his lost moment with the flashback which I was fine with. The movie was a good introduction but was a solid attempt at best.

    Overall a solid movie – 6.5/10

    1. Thanks for sharing your POV. I felt there were moments that alluded to New Hope but not in a way that bothered me personally. If you read my Good Dinosaur review you will see that borrowing classic stories and doing something new and interesting with those stories is fine with me.

      I saw it twice to make sure it wasn’t just the Star Wars vibe and for me it was a great film- not perfect but great. You have to remember that Kylo was seriously injured and bleeding when dueling at the end.

      But I’m glad you found it a solid movie. Certainly better than the prequels right! 🙂

  2. Brilliant review. It was good to watch your video and see thoughts from a really passionate fan’s perspective. I am a Star Wars fan, but not an especially devoted one. I still had high expectations for this film thanks to the clever marketing and the initial critical responses; as with The Dark Knight and The Avengers, I may have let my expectations go a little too high, but I was still happy with what I saw.

    You’re definitely right that the characters are the high point of the film. I do feel there’s potential for Supreme Leader Snoke in the future: my main disappointment with him was that he wasn’t actually Jar Jar, as per the recent popular fan theory! And there was a lot of laughter in my screening: the biggest laughs were when BB-8 gives a thumbs up, and when C3PO makes his sudden appearance.

    1. Ha. He still could be Jar Jar like the Wizard of Oz projecting another image out as him! JK. Haha.
      BB8 giving the thumbs up was the most adorable thing ever!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the film. I’m very intrigued to see how it stands once we see the full trilogy. Star Wars is back!

  3. Didn’t really read it cuz I still want to keep it a secret until I see it.

    I feel sorry for you Star Wars fans when the prequels were coming out and you waited so long for it and then they gave you Episode I, lol!

    1. I’m glad you didn’t read even though I did try to keep it spoiler light. Best to go into the movie and enjoy it without knowing much.

      Ha the prequels were a dark time for many of us but we persevered and now we have a good movie! Yay!

  4. I definitely need to see it a second time. I loved it the first time but my only issue is with Kylo Ren. I don’t know, I just found him to be a weak villain. Even with some of the terrible things he’d done, he seemed (to me) to do them out of desperation and not a truly evil place. We’ll see!

    1. I kind of liked that he wasn’t all bad but more conflicted but I think the next film he will be 100% over after what he did.

  5. I saw this movie this past Saturday and am seeing it again on Christmas Day with my family. I gave it an A+, while I decided to go with maybe A++ for at least the original trllgy at that point. I will say that it did feel a little bit sad and depressing at times, thankfully probably not as much as say Episode 3, but still. I actually wrote a review for this one on my Facebook account, along with reviews for Good Dinosaur and a fantasy movie called Seventh Son (which came out last year) respectively. I’m a little ambivalent about Star Wars continuing since the 6th one was satisfying, but I’ll still see the next three nonetheless.

    By the way, was it just me, or were you a little surprised to find that there was a trailer for Zootopia on this Star Wars film? I don’t know, I guess I was expecting trailers for live-action films Alice Through The Looking Glass and the live-action Jungle Book. Nevertheless, I’m still glad there was the trailer for Zootopia on this film, along with ones for say Gods Of Egypt, 5th Wave, Captain America 3, and a couple to few others. Just curious, what trailers were shown when you saw this film. Also, great review once again by the way!

    1. By the way, I also like your costume! It looks awesome! I dressed up too as Darth Maul, minus the mask, that is, since movie theaters don’t allow masks, face paint, or light sabers in the movie theater! Anyway, glad to hear you enjoyed this film as well!

    2. I’m so glad you loved it too! What a wonderful, entertaining film. Thanks for reminding me about the facebook. I will totally look it up.
      As far as the trailers I saw it twice and different trailers each time but I was surprised to see Zootopia trailer both times. It seems the whole world thinks that sloth joke is funnier than I do. The theater was cracking up. I was surprised to see Batman v Superman only once but Captain America Civil War was at both screenings. I will definitely be doing a most anticipated of 2016 and the recent trailers have for the most part added to that anticipation.

      1. You’re welcome on both! Also, sounds great! Anyway, glad we’re both almost on the same page for this film.

  6. I saw this film the Thursday it came out with my dad, in the biggest screen near us, and it was a wonderful experience; my dad actually thanked me for inviting him along to see it with me 🙂 . Not only did it live up to the hype, but it brought back the Star Wars galaxy, well and truly for the first time since ‘Return of the Jedi’. I loved the characters, especially Rey and Finn; I loved the sense of magic and mysticism that surrounded the Force, and I love the sense of mythology and mystery surrounding the events in the original trilogy. It continues the old Star Wars tradition of myth-making, the sense that what you’re watching is part of a grand legendary saga that has been passed down through the generations.

    My main critiques is that it does borrow a lot from the original Star Wars and leaves a lot of unanswered or open ended questions, but I think that’s fine as long as there’s some sort of payoff in the next two films, which I think will be the case. But apart form that, it was a fun, adventuresome thrill ride that doesn’t require one to turn their brain off, and that’s the kind of blockbuster we all want to see!

  7. So, I had a free movie ticket and since I finally saw Episode III 1-2 weeks ago, I decided to treat myself to seeing this one in the cinemas. And yeah, I really liked it!

    Out of the 7 films, it’s either my 3rd or 4th fave (haven’t made up my mind yet), but I thought they really did a good job with this. Rey and Finn are pretty good characters and acted well although I feel Rey kinda fell in love with/loved Finn a bit too quickly and out of the blue to me, but that’s just me.

    The effects and cinematography were nice! The score was noticeable! The editing swipes made you feel like it was one of the Star Wars films! Heck, I’m not even a Star Wars lover and I almost started clapping with joy when Han Solo entered upon the screen.

    I really loved Kylo Ren…when he had his mask on. Once he took it off, I wasn’t too fond of the character and his delivery, but when he had it on, he was fearsome and reactionary. I liken him to a young youth who’s seduced/brainwashed by an organization akin to ISIS or the Nazi Party and is immersed into this organization while he himself is battling with his inner feelings about the organization and his parents are trying hard to make him see sense and guide him back.

    I’m glad I went to see it in the cinemas as it did look good on the screen. There were about 5 other people in there with me. Three of them were senior citizens and I think we all had a good time.

Leave a Reply