Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

It’s true….all of it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has finally arrived. And was it worth the hype? By all that is sacred and holy, was it. I am in complete disbelief, flabbergasted at just how good it was. Seriously, think about it. It’s been 10 years since the last Star Wars movie. Even if you’re a fan of Revenge of the Sith, you have to admit that it’s uneven, too long, poorly paced, and cheesy beyond all reasonable measure. It’s been 35 years since the last Star Wars movie I’ve enjoyed, and 38 years since the last universally agreed to be great. J.J. Abrams has never been renowned as a great filmmaker, and returning a franchise to its former glory is far from an easy task. But somehow, some way, juggling both an old and new cast, possessing a plot derivative to that of the original Star Wars, and referencing itself, the film holds together, and holds together perfectly.

This film is the polar opposite of the prequels, which are some of the slowest-paced, uneventful movies I have ever seen. Basically, the first 40 minutes of The Force Awakens are a series of interconnected action sequences, with very little pausing, no stopping entirely. It’s phenomenal how it never slows down, never misses a beat. It was the first 2 hour 15 minute movie where I was never bored. It adheres to the formula, with the opening title crawl, the same credits music, but never feels unoriginal. The score, once again, is beautiful, John Williams has never lost his touch. The sound design is fantastic. Ben Burtt, where would we be without you? The old sounds return, and new ones come along, each as unique as the last.

The cast is so lively, Harrison Ford looking more awake than he has in years. He’s not doing that thing he did in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, returning to a character while just looking bored and uninterested, he still embodies Han Solo. It’s not sad to watch him, he remains fun and entertaining, and bounces well off Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. The new characters, oddly enough, are the best part of the film, with Oscar Isaac’s Po rounding off the new trio with a spectacularly cool Resistance pilot. Boyega’s stormtrooper Finn is charming as he is sympathetic, and Ridley’s scavenger with a tragic past is a phenomenal protagonist, and a wonderful addition to the Star Wars canon.

To avoid spoilers, I’ll avoid going in-depth on the plot, just know that it works, mostly, barring a bizarrely abrupt deus ex machina towards the end of the film, which is a bit jarring, but not a horrific detractor.

The setpieces are an absolute joy to watch, bringing Abrams’s flair without his occasional tendencies to cut too often (*cough* M:I-3 *cough*). The jokes land perfectly, with BB-8 standing out, holding his own in being the new R2-D2, becoming a character with no human voice or expressions.

The special effects are fantastic, barring a few CG characters which don’t look the greatest, but are still good. The practical sets are fantastic, better tan anything anyone’s done in film in quite a long time. I often found myself wondering if certain sets were CG or not, they were so huge, but looked wonderfully realistic.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a joy to behold. I got shivers down my spine with the opening music, and it captivated me from then on. Phenomenal and incredible, unbelievably good, The Force Awakens earns an A.

a grade

If you haven’t seen the film yet, I can’t recommend it more highly. I’m interested to see if it can knock Avatar off its undeserved #1 grossing spot, and can’t wait to see how the Oscars go. If it doesn’t get anything, I’ll have reason to be annoyed with the Academy, even more so than usual.

What did you think of the film? Was it worth the hype? Whatever you thought, comment down below, but don’t leave spoilers, please. Until next time.


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