Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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No spoilers! Don’t worry!

Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamil, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Peter Mayhew, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Lupita N’yongo, Andy Serkis

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, 135 minutes, Sci-fi/Action/Adventure

Compare to: Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), Star Trek (2009)

Oh, hi guys. I’m here to write teh Star Warz four you.

Gearing up to be the biggest movie of all time (In your face, Avatar), if only behind the original Star Wars, expectations are high but should always be kept in moderation. Write that down, you’ll need it. You’ve got the fans that are going to love it no matter what and you’ve got the people who are going to hate it no matter how much they actually enjoy it.

This movie should satisfy both of them and pretty much everybody else in between. I don’t need to tell you it’s not perfect but it’s what we should have gotten in 1999 instead of Episode I. But those prequels were just doomed to disappoint, weren’t they?

I’m not going to do a brief synopsis because A. It’s best to not know much about the story going into it, that’s part of the fun. And B., which is also one of the few negatives of the film, it’s nearly the same story as A New Hope. More on that here.

"Luke- I mean! Rey! We've got to escape the Empire! I mean, The First Order!"

“Luke- I mean! Rey! We’ve got to escape the Empire! I mean, The First Order!”

I’ve mentioned quite a few times the difficulty in balancing the quality of a sequel because it can’t just be it’s own movie, it’s got to live up and/or be better than it’s predecessor. Well, The Force Awakens has this on it’s plate and then some. No, this doesn’t speak to the quality of the movie as much as it does remind you as well as myself that this movie has the difficult task of falling in line with the original trilogy in creativity and entertainment, but also adding something new to the franchise without letting its massive audience down.

And the end result is something that will leave you feeling like you’re walking out of a legitimate Star Wars movie. The action, humor, weirdo aliens, and ultimately the feel of the movie is what you love about the original trilogy. This is true down to the point of some of the special effects of the film being scaled back from the modern age to fit more in line with what you know of from Episodes IV-VI and it really helps set the mood of the universe again.

Unlike say, Superman Returns, that was too afraid to dig into to the character we know and love, The Force Awakens is a nice combination of what the movies had and what they should be. It’s a lot funnier than I expected it to be too, so much so that the Guardians of the Galaxy would be comfortable in this universe, but it’s not at the expense of the drama.

Again, this is a spoiler-free review so I’m not going to bother with even mentioning certain scenes or plot points though newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley are nice additions to the older cast members and they’re all intercut seamlessly and without pandering to your love of the first film. There are a few lines and moments where director JJ Abrams want to you to get a kick out of your own knowledge of the films you can quote as you watch, but not at the expense of the moment. No groans need be heard at the references, but more like an “Ah-ha…”

"Hurry! To the sequel ship!"

“Hurry! To the sequel ship!”

Positives: Exciting, funny, all the stuff you want out of Star Wars without all the trade tariffs and senate meetings. For the first time in forever, Harrison Ford doesn’t seem bored in a role.

Negatives: Near identical plot to ‘A New Hope’ with the details and characters changed around, ends on a cliffhanger, keeping the movie from standing on its own.

Grade: B+

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