Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

star wars 7Star wars: The Force Awakens – 4.5/5 – There is something that happens on the rarest occasions; and only happens few and far between.  That feeling of excitement you get in these moments.  It is a sense of wonder, charm and magic.  Beyond the typical nature of just going to the theaters; seeing something as special as these kinds of films is unique to you.  It is that pure experience that no other kind of film can ever bring.  Throughout the years, I have only had this feeling a handful of times.  It has been such a long time since I have had that feeling; and it is great for it to happen with Star Wars.  With this entry into the saga; we return to what made the original trilogy so great.  In short; Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the film all fans have been wanting.  This is the one that returns us to what made the films amazing.

Premise: 30 years after the fall of the Galactic Empire; a new threat arises.  With an attempt from the First Order to take over the galaxy, a new Resistance must rise up and battle their attempts of total control.

Before I get to the original cast; let me first introduce you to the new main players in this new story.  We have:

Daisy Ridley as Rey

John Boyega as Finn

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren

Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron

These characters (outside of a few) are the main focus on the story.  In short, these actors/actress had the hardest task of making the audience to ‘fall in love’ with their characters in various ways.  They do an amazing job in creating deeply unique characters; one that have you feeling joy, excitement and awe with a return to a galaxy far, far away.  From their introduction, interactions and overall companionship (especially between Finn and Rey); you feel the realism in them.  You see the sense of fragility in them, as well as their struggle to do what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for each of their task.  Being the new hero of this story, Ridley as Rey commands the screen.  She is very believable as a strong heroine.  She has a very assertive personality, but is also keen on insight and the ‘right’ things.  Her strength comes in her charm and ambiguous nature, one that feels pure on screen and raw within an ideally true human nature.  From the onset, you come to know she has a mysterious past.  Throughout the movie, you get to watch revelations happen, but still are left in wonder of what comes next.  When you meet Finn, you see he is struggling with his own journey.  He has a fragile sense of choice, trying to figure out what is best for him.  When he crosses path with Rey; it is one that happens with ease.  The interaction she has with Finn is one of true chemistry.  The purity in their relationship is real.  It is funny, heartfelt and mimics growth of true friendship.  Through the strength of Rey and the heartiness of Finn; the dynamic makes you want to go on their journey together.   With the good side, there is always the villain.  In this film you have Adam Driver as Kylo Ren.  His character is one of the most dynamic, deep and conflicting people in the film.  He is one that is drawn to dark side by various reasons.  His confliction falls deeper than just being bad.  His persona is one that is built on the ideas of what is ‘right’ in the dark side.  This drives his insanity and brash persona, which causes havoc for everyone on screen.  You fear his recklessness, never knowing how he will react (since he has overwhelming power).  You feel his presence on the screen; and sense the struggle he has with the Force. Outside of this new trinity of players, the next character to get introduced is Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron.  With a little less screen time then the others; he still is a powerful, fun and energetic person on screen.  His interactions with everyone are one that shows his purpose to this new story.  Dameron’s quest helps move the story along but also build that ‘wonder’ in the supporting role he has.  Out of all of the new characters, it is one that isn’t ‘human’ that steals the hearts and minds of everyone.  The new droid, BB-8, is one of the most human and fascinating characters in this film.  Providing heart, comedy and emotions in many ways, you will love this new droid.  There are many other new characters in this film, but speaking would be leading into spoiler territory.  With the returning cast, you have:

Harrison Ford as Han Solo

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia

Along with the returning characters of C-3P0, R2-D2 and Chewbacca; you feel a return to greatness in these characters.  From the suaveness of Solo to the charm of Leia; the mixing of the old and new is seamless.  You feel the progression of their characters in this new story; understanding their purpose, worth and meaning to the overall arching saga that is Star wars.  Out of all of them, Harrison Ford as Han Solo is one that you get to see most on screen.  With his return, you don’t just see someone acting a character, you see Han Solo.  From his comedic timing to his overall companionship with Chewie; you feel as if you’ve been with them in this 30 year span of films.  As mentioned earlier, speaking about any other characters would spoil the film; but in short the rest of the returning cast helps flush out the story and help bring you back to what was missing with the prequels.

The direction of this film is one that has the tough task of reintroducing everyone to the Star Wars Universe while also introducing us to a new journey for the new players in the game.  With a tough task; J.J. Abrams does an amazing job in blending nostalgia of the originals with a new path.  I am not going to go into deep detail (like most reviews) as it would spoil the whole experience.  What I will do is just enough to explain the generalities of the film.  Throughout the first act, we meet all the new characters in the film.  We see how each of them begins their journey, and eventually cross paths.  Once we have a footing of all the new players and plot points; we slowly get reintroduced to all the returning characters.  Everything feels organic with the returning players; nothing feels force fed on screen.  When you see Han and Chewie for the first time; it is one of breathless excitement and a ‘return to form’.  As we move right along through the second act; the depth of the characters starts to come through.  In the direction, we watch a lot of call backs to the original Star Wars film (mostly A New Hope); but one where the mimicking of the original is welcomed.  Even if a film rehashes common tropes; if you build the characters right the story can be just as engrossing (example: Creed).  As we move through the exposition of what has happen the last 30 years since Return of the Jedi; we then see how the Resistance and the First Order play their cards.  Their roles are exclusive to this film, but the nature of who is the ‘puppet master’ is one that causes an ambiguous feeling.  Not knowing all the answer might be a hard pill to swallow, but in all actuality it builds up the overarching saga.  This is what Star Wars does; it pulls you in with the characters and yearns for what is next.  As the story moves into its final act; there is a lot of predictability within how things become obvious.  With a very simple draw of direction, it might make this act feel rushed from a film/storytelling perspective, but the raw nature of the ‘space opera’ that is Star Wars is what pulls you through the commonality of ‘seeing this before’.  The power resides in the character building, one where you both love or hate whoever is on screen.  Once the film hits its climax, it is one that becomes a gamer change for everyone involved.  Once you hit the rolling credits, you have that feeling that has been missing for quite some time.  That pure magic of seeing ‘Star Wars’ is back.  Even if the film pulls a lot of common techniques and tropes from the original trilogy; it is forgiven because of the characters and what is coming next for this new journey.

The visuals are one that is built on the use of practical effects.  From the locales, character designs and good use of CGI, you get to a feeling of ‘being there’ and not just seeing something of creation.  You feel the emptiness of the deserts in Jakku, the homely aura of Max Kanata’s bar and the visceral nature of The First Order’s base.  That pure ‘escape’ nature is grounded with the use of real locales.  With a blending of new and old through the lens; you get that rawest of emotions through your eyes.  The cinematography breathes life into the worlds, knowing that there are obstacles within the places as much as the dynamic of the characters.  The score of this film is one that harkens back to the original films.  The music helps ‘bring back’ that feeling of Star Wars; from the intro to the spanning nature of the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of the action, suspense and drama; you feel a layering of depth with the music.   John Williams is the man when it comes to composing original music.  He brings that power of originality to this new entry.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a return to glory to a series beloved to many.  There is a perfect blend of nostalgia with this new tale.  With an amazing cast, gorgeous visuals and an outstanding score; there is enough here to enjoy.  No matter if you’re a fan or just a causal movie watcher; this is a film that must be experience in the theater.  You will not be disappointed.

Trackbacks & Pings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *