Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Oscar Issac
“Star Wars The Force Awakens” isn’t a perfect return to a galaxy far, far away but it’s far, far from terrible. In fact it’s pretty damn entertaining for the most part.
The film does have some minor issues, which I’ll get into in the second part of this review, but overall it’s a movie worth seeing.
However, before I go on I must warn all of you that this review will be long and there will be SPOILERS, so if you haven’t seen the film yet I suggest you go back to whatever is you were doing before this.
(Security video from what I did to the troll who spoiled Kylo Ren’s identity for me…)
So let me make this clear first before I go on; I liked this movie… a lot. Each hour since I’ve seen it I’ve warmed up to it a little more and I think it definitely deserves a second viewing. The worst thing that can be said about this movie is that it could have been better but this is true of almost any film out there.
In the end this is all purely subjective so you can form your own opinion about this and feel free disagree with me but if any of fuckers accuse me of bashing this film I’ll force choke you through this screen!
Anyways, let’s begin…
The biggest and most obvious great thing about this movie is how fucking rad it looked and it goes beyond just the use of modern CGI.
JJ Abrams doesn’t always have a great mind for how to write a movie (see “Star Trek Into Darkness”) but he definitely understands how to shoot a scene and make it feel organic, real and most of all exciting.
Gone are the endless green-screens of the prequels and in are real sets made to look like the interior of a space ship. The world Abrams helps recreate looks beautiful and real and perhaps the best it’s looked in the entire franchise’s history. The cinematography used during scenes are breathtaking at times; you can feel the desert landscape of Jakku, the wintery cold of The Starkiller base and you even feel immersed in the culture of bounty hunting and smuggling during scenes on Takodana.
The makeup and creature effects are beautiful too. It almost feels like the ghost of Jim Henson had a hand in the creation of this movie as a multitude of new alien races are seen here and all look great and real. A combination of CGI motion capture, makeup and even some animatronics really bring home the creativity used in this movie and it’s simply amazing to see the world of Star Wars come to life here.
(If this were the prequels this would be some generic CGI monstrosity with an offensive racist accent…)
Hey kids! You can come out now! George Lucas is gone and we can have fun again!
(*groaning in Jedi*)
Seriously though fun is back in this new Star Wars series and a lot of it has to do once again with JJ Abrams.
Abrams has a pretty natural eye for making scenes witty and action-packed. As bad as “Into Darkness” was on a story level, in terms of pure entertainment it was solid from start to finish and this film certainly does this right too. Action scenes, particularly on The Starkiller at the end, are executed well and visually will keep viewers engaged throughout.
The lightsaber duels feel much more organic in this film too; no more spinny sword dancing shit like the prequels. Characters get tired, beat up and they don’t seem to follow a routine or choreography in the scene which makes it feel more real.
(”Wait, wait, wait, wait! Aren’t we going to do some spinny shit first??”)
Dog fights is this movie are probably the best they’ve looked ever in this series. The low flying X-wings of The Resistance taking on the tie-fighters of The First order are beautifully rendered on screen and look real. The aerial battles feel intense and at times, especially during the scenes on Jakku with the Millennium Falcon, feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride.
(Had to resist putting my hands up in the air during this scene)
The film also has 100 percent more jokes than the prequels as well. No more dry talks about sand, nest of gundarks or God damn Jar Jar Binks.
Abrams understands wit and before any scene gets too boring in the film he instills some light humor to keep it going. The banter between John Boyega’s Fin and Daisy Ridley’s Rey is great and their chemistry on screen is a joy to watch. The new droid BB-8 is also a wonderful addition to the comic relief side of the franchise. The little soccer ball droid has some of the best comedic moments of the film and has a loyal puppy dog mentality that is both cute and memorable. Scenes on the smuggling freighter especially highlight the fun of the film with each character having, his or her moment as they try not to get killed between smugglers and ferocious alien monsters.
Han Fucking Solo
Like most fans, my favorite character is Han Solo. He’s cranky, sarcastic, has a loner mentality outside his hetero lifemate Chewie and is just an all around bad ass and even at age 73 Harrison Ford still knocks it out of the park with this character.
(Yep, Harrison definitely looks like an old man here but Chewey? Could’ve given him at least a few grey hairs.)
Unlike having an old man Indiana Jones in Crystal Skull *shudders* Han Solo still works as a senior citizen here, in fact his character grows quite a bit in this movie. We see Han more wounded in this film, more troubled and we see a paternal side to him we never saw before with his son Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren. It’s tragic and we get to see how Han reacts to this and we see for the first time what this character looks like when he has truly lost everything. Abrams really did a great job with this part of the movie and it’s almost a shame that this is the last we’ll see of Han in this franchise.
Poe Fucking Dameron
Of all the new characters, the one I liked the most was actually in the film the least and that’s Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron. I would describe Poe as a mix between Luke Skywalker’s youthful exuberance and heroic persona and Han Solo’s more gun ho charm and “Let’s kick some ass” mentality. He’s fun to watch and one of the best parts of the movie. Isaac really plays up this charm and Abrams helps shows off his badassery as a fighter pilot.
(”WOOO! Minimal screentime and still get royalties!”)
It’s a shame he’s not more in the film but it was necessary for the development of the other characters. You can’t have two badass pilots taking up the majority of the screen time or else there would be less Han Solo, who is much more important to the plot. Overall I look forward to seeing more of him in the next two films and hopefully learn more about his back story as well.
This film is extremely impressive and even writing this review has highlighted more of the things I enjoyed about it but unfortunately there are some things that weren’t great in it that I want to touch on, so brace yourselves for my negatives.