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STAR WARS: Episode 7 The Force Awakens

Updated on December 21, 2015

WARNING: Readers be advised that this review may contain spoilers.


These children are so freaking lucky…
I remember seeing the original trilogy on VHS and loved them as a child, and then I got to see the re-releases of the original trilogy and episodes 1,2 and 3 at the cinema and remember being so disappointed… I was about 12 years old… at an age when I should have not known any better I still knew that George Lucas had screwed them up big time.
I hated Star Wars from that day forth, and to this day I will only watch the original theatrical cuts of the original trilogy, courtesy of a limited edition 2 disc DVD by 20th Century Fox back in 2008, sadly no Blu-ray.

When I was a child… what did I get? I got Greedo shooting first in a dodgy edited cantina scene, I got a small badly CGI Jabba-the-Hutt added into a 'New Hope', I got the Pog-Guy singing Jedi Rocks in 'Return of the Jedi', I got a borderline racist Jar Jar Binks, I got Anakin Skywalker building C-3P0, I got freaking 'Matrix' style Jedi bouncing around all over the place, and I got enough scenes of the senate to make watching paint dry fun.
The only two things that make my childhood 'Star Wars' nostalgia acceptably good were those original theatrical VHS cuts, Darth Maul and the Duel of Fates music.

These children are so freaking lucky…
Why are they lucky? Because 'Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens' is amazing, it is the birth of a bright beacon of hope for the 'Star Wars' franchise.

I was sitting in the cinema with shock and delight, at the spectacle of awesomeness, which is 'The Force Awakens'.
Now one could pick this film apart and I have no doubt that there will be fan-boys and girls out there who will. However I am a cinephile, I am just going to critique the film. I love cinema, and people 'The Force Awakens' is GOOD cinema.

So lets delve into this new hope in the 'Star Wars' franchise and take a look at J.J. Abrams 'The Force Awakens'.

The Actors


The Acting was superb, the whole cast gave believable performances and you really felt that they lived in this universe.
Daisy Ridley as Rey, our new up and coming Jedi apprentice prodigy was outstanding, strong and independent yet humble and not forgetting totally badass.

John Boyega plays Finn an almost disgruntled Storm trooper who has become rattled by the New Order's horrific behavior and decides to escape from the Empire is played superbly subtle.

Oscar Isaac as Poe a rebel fighter pilot ace. Isaac has already shined in so many recent films and he seems to be having fun with his role here, Isaac is a great actor and this role is just perfect for his new found stardom.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren the new Jedi villain, Driver gives a deeply layered performance filled with youthful confidence, which I found interesting and sickeningly creepy. The style and progression for me with Ren was the Anakin Sywalker, which we should have had but never got.

It was very interesting to meet all of the 'Star Wars' royalty, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3P0 and the beautiful Carrie fisher as Princess Leia, they all fit right in and gave honest performances biased off of the there past histories.
However Harrison Ford's Han Solo and Chewbacca kind of almost stole the show for me, they carried the weight of the film upon their shoulders and basically provided the dues-ex-machina.

Now Domhnall Gleeson as General HuxGleeson is not a bad actor but I do feel he was miss cast, General Hux needed to be much more older, he was good but he was just miss cast, even with the weight he gained.
Was very nice to see Max Von Sydow, I just love his voice, he just commands the screen with his presence really wish he had had a bigger part, maybe even as General Hux.

Overall the acting was perfect with believable characters and excellent diversity, the character arches were strong realistic to the universe and cleverly interlaced.

The Effects and Film


The special effects in 'The Force awakens' are prime examples on how to mix CGI and practical effects perfectly.
Gone are those cartoony creature effects from the previous films, here we are treated to real fleshy muscular creations that don’t stand out like old animation conspicuous light patches.
The coolest moment for me was when BB-8 flipped out his lighter to give Finn a thumbs up.

The backgrounds and landscapes all looked fantastic and beautiful, from the ruined Imperial Starship and barren desert wasteland of Jakku to the lush green forests of Takodana, and the ice planet known as Star-killer base, they all help bring the universe of this 'Star Wars' alive, each one a juxtaposition to the other complimenting the variety of worlds from the previous films in the franchise.

The new X-Wing fighters and TIE-Fighters are awesome; again compliment the originals showing a realistic evolution of the ships.
The dogfights were fantastically well crafted and kept true to the spirit of the previous films, with fluid motions making it easy to follow the action as it unfolds.

All the graphics and technology kept true to the original trilogy, and nothing felt out of place. The overall design was perfect and everything felt real to the worlds and time period within the 'Star Wars' universe.

The cinematography was superb, creative and inventive, cinematographer Daniel Mindel and J.J. Abrams have a great working relationship and they compliment each other profoundly well, they both really know where to put the camera and how it should move.
Thankfully no lenses flairs.

The Story


Basically what we are presented is a re-hashed story following the same beats of 'A New Hope', at times I almost felt like this was a re-make of the original 'Star Wars' film, but its not.
The filmmakers have played it very safe, however there are still a few twists and turns, which still made the overall progression of the plot fresh.
As the old saying goes "If it ain't broke don’t fix it", which may seem like a lazy choice, however I feel it to be a more bold decision to stick with a formula that worked at this point with this franchise, as to not disappoint fans and new cinema goers, as well as bring back the love and nostalgia of the original trilogy before George Lucas messed it up.

The characters in the film even poke fun at this themselves, with some quirky Meta jabs towards the Star-killer being like the Death Star.
The film was surprisingly funny, but in a clever way, not the insulting cartoony way of episodes 1,2 and 3, the comedy here is clever almost self reflective at times.

Some critics have complained about the fact there is still a rebellion, when at the end of 'Return of the Jedi' they won… Yes they did win in 'Return of the Jedi' however they only won that battle not the war.
The Empire is huge spanning across the whole galaxy, so in reality the war was still on going at the end of 'Return of the Jedi'.
The New Order we are introduced to is something of a remnant to the old Empire, this has not been fleshed out enough, which will hopefully be addressed more in the next instalment.

The pacing of the film was smooth and fluid all the way up until the end, when things felt rushed, and a little to fast for my likening.
Though this did not hurt the film, I just feel that it could have been a little bit slower in the final battle, and the build up of the Star-Killer could have been fleshed out slightly more as it seemed to charge it self up rather quickly.

Conclusion


Even with the same plot and themes as 'A New Hope', the franchise is moving in the right direction.
It is obvious that Disney and J.J. Abrams are playing it safe as to not hurt the franchise, but it's also nice to know that they are treating the material with the utmost respect.

Overall 'The Force Awakens' is not only a good 'Star Wars' film but also a good film in general. J.J. Abrams was a great choice for directing, and he clearly has a lot of love for this franchise, which is evident in every single frame.
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' has thrills, excitement, fun compelling fluid action and plenty of twists and turns keeping you glued to the screen.

I give 'The Force Awakens' a very strong 3 out of 5 stars.

It would have been a solid 4 stars, however the film sticks to closely to the original story. If this had been a re-make I would have given it a solid 4 out of 5, but its not.

This is a must see film for any 'Star Wars' fan, any Sci-fi fan, anyone with children over 10 years old, everyone should see this film.
Honestly this was an amazing film, and I had so much fun watching it, this is the 'Star Wars' film we all needed and deserved…

Thank you Disney and thank you Mr Abrams, look forward to next installment.

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    • SteveSunpire profile image
      Author

      Steve Sunpire 19 months ago from England

      I know right... Fans are hard to please

      I just honestly felt this was the direction the franchise needed to go in... sometimes going back to the basics is what needs to happen, even though this feels like a re-make more than a sequel it did follow on pretty well from episode 6

      it had everything I wanted from a star wars movie... even i giant freaking death star... man this film was awesome defo not a disappointment.

      This was the Star Wars film we all deserved

    • profile image

      Peter 19 months ago from England, UK

      Absolutely love this film and glad you do too, it's received too much hate from older fans in my opinion.

    • SteveSunpire profile image
      Author

      Steve Sunpire 19 months ago from England

      If you love the originals you will love this sequel... The force is strong with this one.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 19 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      I'll be back to read your review after I've seen the movie. Trying hard to avoid any spoilers at this point. Looking forward to your take on this film. My brother-in-law has already seen it three times! I loved the original and the sequels. May the force be with you.

    • SteveSunpire profile image
      Author

      Steve Sunpire 20 months ago from England

      Thanks Jodah... Yes I can understand your dislike for the franchise, I am also not a fan of the Star Wars saga, it is a space opera after all and nothing really stands out other than the effects from the original trilogy... and nothing is good about episodes 1,2 and 3 at all.

      However The force Awakens was strong by modern film standards, but it was a bit of fun and it did make up for George Lucas's mistakes in the prequels.

      I have never liked operatic sic-fi... not a fan of modern Dr Who, i kind of like more cryptic sic-fi like Phase IV or Beyond the Black Rainbow.

      defo go see this with a friend its a great popcorn movie, and you will have fun, and plenty to talk about after.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was a great review Steve and almost convincing enough to make me want to go and see it. That's saying a lot because (apart from the very first Star Wars movie which I found watchable due to the then ground breaking special effects) I am not a fan of the saga. Even rewatching the first one now bores me. Then I am not a fan of Star Trek either, so maybe it's the genre I have a problem with, That said I loved "Firefly" and several other space fantasy shows, as well as Dr Who.

      I may give "The Force Awakens" a chance and get around to watching it...we shall see. Anyway, good hub.