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!

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Star Wars Trailer Reaction

Let me just geek out on you guys for a second.  The new Star Wars trailer is out and it looks AWESOME!!!!

It starts out with a fantastic voiceover and then John Boyega gasping, looking like he is hunting something, then we get a droid who looks like a soccer ball, next a storm trooper army, then Daisy Ridley on a pod of some kind, then we see a rebel fighter (Oscar Isaac?) and a x-wing fleet zooming off, then  ‘the dark side’ with the villain with a light saber that has a cross hatch like a sword!!

‘And the light’

We get millennium falcon zooming off and our iconic music!!!!  December 15, 2015.  What a perfect teaser trailer.  It gives just enough to get fans excited.  CGI looked minimal with more grounded special effects.  You could see the sand in Tunisia and it didn’t look green screen or in a studio.  We also got no sight of the returning cast in the trailer, which is a good sign they are using them in the right way.  It was just so awesome!!!!!!

I’m so hopeful JJ Abrams is doing this right and this trailer is a huge vote of confidence!!!  I’m so excited! Wahoo!