If you follow me on Facebook, you probably know I’m a die-hard fan of the Star Wars franchise. I’ve seen the 1977 film more than 100 times, The Empire Strikes Back (TESB) tops out all the others at about 125 times (IMHO it’s the best of all seven movies). All the other movies I’ve seen at least five times or more. For Star Wars: The Force Awakens here’s my review of the movie.
Because of my love for the Star Wars universe, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I was there at the first preview night. I took in the fourth show, I don’t like crowds, although I think I should have gone to the 9pm show.
Folks were dressed up in costume, and I think I would have found a more chatty crowd. I had limp conversation with the couple next to me, and when the opening credits rolled, there was a smattering of applause and shouts of joy. That’s part of what makes an opening night so awesome, you’re generally with a crowd of enthused die-hards. Although that wasn’t the case the other night, it was still an enjoyable evening.
For those interested, read on for my thoughts about the movie. WARNING SPOILER ALERT!!
First, let me start off by saying I’ll go again 🙂 It was an enjoyable two hours. However it wasn’t a strong enough movie that had me reluctant to get out of my seat at the ending credits with a hunger to watch it again another two or three times that same day.
J.J. Abrams continues to disappointment with each subsequent movie he makes. He’s not willing to take any risks, which is what this film needed. Instead he fell back on Special effects for the most part where this movie is concerned. Lawrence Kasdan continues to confirm he can’t write original screenplays.Not since The Empire Strikes Back has the man been able to write a storyline that is superior to TESB. Some of that might have to do with the fact that a real sci-fi author started the initial TESB screenplay. Leigh Brackett developed the triangle between Leah, Luke, and Han Solo. The tension in this movie was exceptional. Unfortunately Bracket died before she could finish the script or work on the next movie. But I digress.
The Force Awaken Pros: Daisy Ridley!! This young woman is spectacular! She’s kick ass, wrapped up inside her own pain and childhood separation from her family, but she doesn’t over play that aspect. You get that she’s in pain from her past, but she doesn’t milk that. I appreciate that fact. I also loved the fact that this newest movie in the franchise is focused on a strong female lead character. It’s about time we see that in the movies.
I loved that the hero in the movie is a Stormtrooper. His portrayal by John Boyega is not as strong as Ridley’s but I liked him a lot. I loved learning that Stormtroopers are made, and not volunteers. And Oscar Issac! This guy’s gonna be a heartthrob. He stole the scenes he was in.
BB8…this little guy steals EVERY damn scene he’s in. It’s sacrilege, I know, but BB8 tops R2D2 in the realm of awesome droids! Hans Solo? Finally! His death should have happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. This pleased me because I’m tired of Ford’s worn out character.
The Force Awaken Cons: John Williams’ score was painful to hear. Actually there wasn’t much that was new on any level. The score fell flat throughout. It’s a shame because Williams has composed some awesome scores for major blockbusters. An example of the lackluster score was the light saber battle between Kylo Ren and Rey. The battle lacked any truly scintillating music to up the scene’s tension. It was basically a blah scene because you didn’t feel the same tension or deadly intent on the part of Kylo Ren. Here’s an example of what I wanted to hear in a battle scene.
Go to the 3:26 marker in this video and you’ll see what I mean about the music in time with the sabers.Listen to the music and how it emulates the battle between Luke and Darth Vader. It’s ominous, and it plays well into the scene. Truly a strong score in TESB, and that’s what The Force Awakens lacked from Williams. Granted the man is 83 years old, so I’ll cut him a little slack.
Special effects overwhelmed the storyline, not to mention that a) it starts off in the desert just like the first film, and shades of the first Star Trek movie Abrams created. It’s almost verbatim with Chris Pine as Kirk streaking across the desert. Even if it’s a semi-rehash of SWIV, the storyline was excellent, but it deserved better. Now let’s chat about Kylo Ren. Can we just say childish. The kid is a cross between a petulant child and Anakin Skywalker with utterly no explanation as to why he is the way he’s acting. Then there’s the Snape look with Driver’s black hair and the skinny black costume. The guy is a POOR imitation of his role model, Darth Vader. Finally, the chemistry between Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford is forced. In the past, they do well fighting light snarling dogs circling each other, but here? Their tired, worn out appearances are token at best. But Luke? Yes, here’s a man who’s tortured and hiding. And you know this all based on one or two lines. And the ending scenic shot between Rey and Luke is spectacular. It makes me long to see the next film this very minute.
While it looks like my cons out weigh the pros, they don’t really, they’re just cons that hit me as annoying or disappointing. Ridley and Boyega don’t have as strong a chemistry as I would expect, but I think they’ll wind up friends, not romantic partners. I’m hoping for Ridley and Issac to develop a romance. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It was a breath of fresh air when you consider the new heroine and heroes. That’s what made the movie for me.