It has been a full year since the first teaser trailer for Star Wars the force Awakens dropped. Ever since that moment, millions of Star Wars fans the world over have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 7th main film in this 30+ year old franchise. Many bad feelings still linger amongst fans from the days of George Lucas’ Star Wars Prequel trilogy, and rightfully so. While i myself can enjoy the prequels for what they are, as a Star Wars die-hard, I admit there were MANY glaring flaws with the films. The news of a new trilogy of films, ALONGSIDE a group of standalone films was both exhilarating…. and also worrisome. Will these films turn out like the prequels, or will the power of Disney and J.J. Abrams be enough to redeem the franchise?
Like any true Star Wars fan, I went to see the Force awakens the first chance I got, and it just so happens, that my showing was the very FIRST SHOWING anywhere in my area, Dec 17th at 7PM. This was easily one of the earliest possible showing I could attend, and I was as excited and nervous all at once. Needless to say, after I walked out of the theater, I was basically a pile of quivering jelly, I was so floored by the film. My initial reactions left me speechless.
Thus, I decided to hold off giving my final opinions on the film until a day later, and allow myself to digest what I saw and give a slightly more objective look at the film. Am I still as amazed by the film as i was in the theater? HELL YEAH! Without a doubt, I can easily say this is the best Star Wars film that has been made in the past 20 years! It was an amazing spectacle and worth every moment of its run time. If nothing else I say in this article speaks of its quality, let it be known that THIS reviewer has already scheduled to see the film another 3 times in the next 2 weeks.
As I said before, I wanted to give a more objective look at this film, and really dig into the good AND bad of it. So before i gush about what I loved in this film, let me discuss the negatives, and get them out of the way. The main criticism I constantly hear from other reviewers and youtube personalities is that the film retreads old territory, and is practically a note for note retelling of Star Wars A NEW HOPE. I can agree that the film hits several similar beats to episode IV, but it comes off more as a return to form than a retreading of old territory for me. As for my personal complaints regarding the film I really only have 2 major complaints; firstly, Two of the VERY hyped characters for this film feel very under utilized, and received the short end of the stick in regards to their screen time. I hope this issue is resolved over the course of the rest of the trilogy, but only time will tell for that. my second issue with the film, is a rather strange on. In the prequel trilogy, the story was bogged down by political agendas, the politics, and structure of how the Republic operated, You really don;t get much of an idea as to how thew groups such as THE FIRST ORDER, the NEW REPUBLIC, and THE RESISTANCE operate in this galaxy, and what their relations to one another entail. Aside from these issues, (which can easily be solved through the new Star Wars expanded canon comics, books, and t.v.) I feel the film was extremely strong in its own right.
Now, lets go over what I felt were some of the STRONGEST points of the film. One of the biggest points Director Abrams made sure to enforce during production was the use of physical props. You see physical props and sets EVERYWHERE in this film, roughly 90% of the animals, aliens and props in this film were ALL physically there and made the film seem SO MUCH MORE REAL, and the few characters and instances which required CGI, looked ABSOLUTELY amazing and refined. But you know what manages to outshine the practical effects? THE ACTING! It has been a long time since anyone could claim that the acting in a Star Wars film was absolutely SUPERB. The characters dialogue and exchanges did not feel forced or stilted, and the age old adage of SHOW DON’T TELL was on full display throughout the film. As opposed to hearing Anakin Skywalker scream about his hate, or tell Padme he loves her over and over again, we truly FELT the emotion emanating off of the different characters. My favorite example of this was during the first scene of the film, John Boyega’s character is dressed head to toe in storm trooper armor, yet you can tell every emotion he is feeling just by his body subtle language. You KNOW the acting and Direction are done well when you can manage to express emotion through a STORM TROOPER HELMET!
I cannot truly indulge my readers in my feelings regarding this film without spoiling several MAJOR plot details and surprises. Suffice it to say, if you are a human being on the planet Earth, chances are you will enjoy this film. If you are a life-long Star Wars fan like myself, prepare to have every expectation and desire you had regarding the Disney era of Star Wars to be fulfilled and EXCEEDED.