Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a great new entry in the Star Wars saga. It follows, as expected, episodes IV, V and VI, leaving the first 3 “newer” ones in the shadow of forgetfulness.

This new movie is directed, as you probably know already by J.J. Abrams who, besides other things, rebooted the Star Trek franchise as well. Hmm…That in itself is a very weird situation for any fan, wouldn’t you agree?

Regardless of his previous work, JJ brings to the table an awesome movie, full of love and respect to the old franchise entries. What I can say for sure is that the force is strong in this one. Well done, Abrams, well done!

Effects

Since The Force Awakens is a modern Star Wars movie, we gotta talk about the effects. And I’m pleased to say that this is one hell of a CGI and practical effects mixture, probably one of the best I’ve seen in a while.

Compared to the prequels, The Force Awakens has a physicality about its world. You can feel the starship destroyers torn apart, you shiver each time two lightsabers hit each other, each time a stormtrooper is in a fight or Kylo Ren steps into the room with his freaking awesome pointy laser sword which is so badass that it hurts. Ow yeah!

There are also some great vistas in this movie to the point of jaw dropping cinematography. The sandy dunes of Jakku with the Empirial destroyer eaten by the sand is a desolate image showing the grandore of a past long gone. The lush forests of the resistance camp are the synonym of hope, and the ice cold scenary of the new “death star” lookalike are perfectly matching the coldness of the first Order.

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Because yes, now the Empire is no longer “the empire”. It’s called the First Order. And they are basically space Nazis. I guess this pun waited long enough to happen.

But let’s move on to to the story.

Story

I won’t spoil anything with this, but let’s just say the story itself resembles quite a lot with a certain movie already released in this franchise. I’m talking, of course, about Episode IV, A new hope. Whether that’s intentional or JJ just wanted to play it safe this time around, is unclear for now.

But I sure as hell don’t care about it. Because the story was great, at least in my opinion. It was something I would have expected from a 7th episode in such a long franchise. A logical continuation of the “episodes” without going overboard with any details. It’s interesting, it’s witty in all the right ways, making references to the previous (and future) entries, so what’s not to like about it?

You might brag that there are lot of questions unanswered, but I guess that’s one of the roles of this movie, now, is it? To setup a new world and characters for the next generation of Star Wars fans. And in that aspect, The force awakens delivered fully.

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Characters

I’m gonna go ahead and say it even if it’s a love or hate thing: Kylo Ren is a badass. The way he walks, the way he wields his lightsaber, the way he talks, what he does in this movie – he’s disturbed in all the right ways to consider him a good villain and a worthy addition to the Dark Side.

On the other hand, the Supreme leader Snoke is just bad. Full CGI characters never were my thing. And Snoke is no different. I mean, what kind of name is Snoke? It sounds like something you buy from the supermarket for your kids: ow, your little baby got sick, he’s got the flu? Well buy some Snoke now and he’ll feel much better!

Captain Hux, the commander of the First Order forces is somewhat passable, but Phasma, who’s been so advertised quite a lot and takes center role in the Force Awakens poster is left aside without any clear reasons. Hopefully her character will be better explored in the next episodes.

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Moving on to the light, the cast is full of instantly likable characters: Rey and Finn are great together and they make a good first entry in the franchise, Harrison Ford as Han Solo steals the show once again and it’s a pleasure seeing old characters like Chewie and Leia come back to life. Big shoutout to C3PO which managed to be one of the funniest characters in this movie.

Because, yes, this movie is so damn funny. And that’s not to be taken lightly. In fact, the movie sentiment-o-meter ranges from nostalgia, to humor and tragedy, with a great variety of moments when people can laugh, gasp, cry or whatever else they wanna do in this 2 hours long movie.

Sound

John William’s “force theme” that originally plays in the “Binary sunset” scene from New Hope is the leitmotif of this whole movie. And it just sounds great. The new tracks as well as the old ones fit together harmoniously. Ray’s theme especially is outstanding! But more than that, sound effects are a major player in establishing that physicality I was talking about in the beginning. Ow man, when Kylo Ren starts ripping things apart you really get a sense of impact, a sense of hitting something hard, not just CGI aerial effects.

 

Conclusion

All in all, The Force Awakens is full of respect and love for the Star Wars universe. It is carefully crafted, well executed, amazing to look at and a rebirth of the series like never before.

I’m not sure what you are doing reading this review at this point because you should already be half way to the cinema by now, buying tickets for this movie. A second time! 🙂

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