Less than forty years and any number of prequels, book, toys, games and the like, Star Wars is still a thing. We love our Star Wars as much as we love breathing, eating and pooping, and this was definitely a good thing for Walt Disney Co. upon purchasing Lucasfilm, Ltd. several years ago and acquired all its Star Wars content.
Hence, we now have Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first of a new extension to a cinematic universe still mapping itself out after the first three films and subsequent prequels, and with several changes to the approach by way of J.J. Abrams following directing two Star Trek movies. The new movie follows Finn (John Boyega), an awakened stormtrooper, Rey (Daisy Ridley), a desert scavenger, and Poe (Oscar Isaac), a rebel X-wing pilot as they find themselves on a fortuitous mission that unites them with the long lost heroes who once joined together against the Old Empire and its Sith leaders. With a new war looming, old scars are reopened, old flames are lit, and new alliances and friendships are forged in lieu of a Empire with a new tyrannical plan to rule the galaxy once more.
This was my first introduction to actors John Boyega and Daisy Ridley among others while Adam Driver best known for his role in the hit TV show, Girls, take the reigns as a Sith leader with several internal layers that ultimately tie into many of the veterans of the saga. These performances among others are fantastically done with great levity between scenes, with Boyega and Isaac taking charge, Ridley igniting quite a significant spark for the franchise as it reboots into a new chapter, and Harrison Ford lending one of his best performances throughout the franchise next to Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, and actress Carrie Fisher who heads upscale as rebel General Leia Organa.
There are a few plot points that do throw you off so it’s a little hard to keep up unless it’s not something you mind – for others not so much. Nevertheless, the film predictably rekindles all the same charm as the earlier films while it may be safe to say certain character additions to this movie may have been nothing short of overhype. But that’s pretty much how selling a movie like this works and so with regard to a few of the smaller roles, some of us may have already seen that coming and it doesn’t really matter because this movie was never about them, obviously, and the film is going to make its money.
There are definitely some fun moments in the film as is, really, the whole movie in general. Unfortunately, save for some pretty stunning surprises, there’s nothing really spectacular or unique about this filof tm that we don’t already know are aware of as we speak. Really it’s a film that aims to bring more to the table for a seemingly endless universe of heroes and villains for the hardcore longstanding fans of this franchise who are eager to see more characters, more dogfights, intergalatic war room politics, brutal family drama, emotive lightsaber battles and epic clashes of whose use of the Force is more powerful, etc. And for better or worse, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Between the score, winning visuals and overall aesthetic, which was basically what Abrams set out to achieve amid ton of pressure, Star Wars: The Force Awakens pretty much acknowledges everything you may expect it to. Just be sure not to overthink where this movie “could” or “should” go or you’ll drive yourself insane on the hype train and befall to the darkside of Star Wars fandom (seriously, anyone who thought Kylo Ren was secretly Luke Skywalker need not leave home anymore).
New pieces are added to the mix with at least one major subtraction in this saga which is sure to keep things intriguing between now and the next several years. In any case, this film is already making its money and the love for the franchise couldn’t be more present than it is now. Audiences still clap when the logo emerges away from the screen as the prologue begins scrolling with John Williams’s winning score in the background and so it’s fair to day that while Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson may be feeling some pressure, there’s obviously a lot of love already sustained for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the tentatively-titled Star Wars VIII despite whatever criticisms there may be; Indeed though, criticism is surely important since, simply, none of us need to waste our money on a movie ticket for a film that sucks.
To that end, the bright side is that Edwards and Johnson have a framework to go by, and so for this new venture for Disney with Abrams at the helm, Star Wars: The Force Awakens wins the first battle.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.